- B.S., University of Patras, Greece, 1988
- Ph.D., Tufts University Medical School, 1994
- Postdoc., Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Harvard Medical School, 1995-1999
Coordination of Cell growth with Cell Division
How cells determine when to divide is critical for understanding
virtually every biological process that cell proliferation is manifest.
Abnormal patterns of cell division often cause disease, including
cancer. Understanding cell division requires answers to each of two
questions: How, and when do cells divide? Our goal is to answer the
second question, since this process determines the overall rates of
cell proliferation: once cells initiate their division, they are
usually committed to complete it. Coordination between cellular
metabolism and DNA replication determine when cells initiate division.
Despite the fundamental significance of this coordination, the
mechanisms that link metabolism with DNA replication in the nucleus
remain largely unknown.
Using a model organism (baker's yeast), which is amenable to genetic and biochemical studies, our research aims to understand two aspects of this phenomenon: 1) how mitochondria, organelles that generate most of the cell's energy, actively promote initiation of DNA replication in the nucleus; and 2) how a stress signaling pathway called the unfolded protein response (UPR), acts as a homeostatic mechanism uniquely positioned to gauge overall metabolic activity before DNA replication. We hope that our research will impact the understanding of cell division mechanisms in a variety of fungal, plant, or animal systems, because these processes are conserved in all eukaryotic organisms, from yeast to humans.