Research

Arshad Desai's lab investigates the mechanisms that ensure accurate distribution of the replicated genome during cell division. Errors in genome distribution lead to aneuploidy, a cause of birth defects and a hallmark of cancer cells. Specific areas of interest include the epigenetic basis of centromere identity, the mechanics of chromosome-microtubule interactions, the coordination between mechanics and fidelity pathways that ensures accuracy of chromosome segregation, and adaptations that underlie meiotic segregation.

Karen Oegema's lab uses the nematode C. elegans as a model system for mechanistic cell biology, addressing questions in three main areas. The first project area applies high-content screening methods to C. elegans, to build a functional network for the set of ~2500 genes required for embryogenesis. The other two project areas combine experiments in C. elegans and human cells with in vitro biochemistry to dissect the molecular mechanics of cytokinesis and understand the mechanisms underlying centriole duplication and centrosome assembly.