Understanding the rules of life

Category: Standard Studentships

Identification and activity of new regulators of cell division

Project No. – 2001

Primary Supervisor

Dr Marcin Przewloka – University of Southampton


Dr Helfrid Hochegger – University of Sussex


During this study, a PhD student will analyse new regulators of mitosis. This very exciting research project leads to the discovery of new factors that guard genome stability and cell integrity.

Mitotic cell division is a critically important stage of the cell cycle. A complete reorganisation of the cytoskeleton and changes in cell morphology are followed by the precise partition of the genomic material and subsequent formation of two daughter cells. Multiple mechanisms tightly control this complicated process in order to avoid any problems that, should they occur, could lead to cell death or severe aberrations, such as seen in cancer cells.

From an initial proteomics-based screen (bioRxiv: 501684) a list of potential new mitotic regulators emerged, whose molecular function will be now investigated as a part of this project. This is going to be a truly collaborative study. Initial work will be done at the Genome Damage and Stability Centre (University of Sussex, Brighton), where the student will perform a small-scale siRNA-based screen for mitotic phenotypes in human cells. During this phase of the project, the trainee will learn about the RNAi approach, high-throughput automated microscopy and other fluorescence-based imaging methods. After identifying the most promising genes and characterising mitotic phenotypes, the student will move to the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Southampton, where he/she will investigate the molecular role of these candidates in cell physiology, specifically during mitosis. Methodologies that will help to achieve the goals of this study include CRISPR-based genome editing, time-lapse microscopy and protein-protein interaction assays.