Cytokinesis is the last step of cell division during which the contents of a cell are divided between two daughter cells. This process requires exact positioning of a cytokinetic apparatus, as well as precise timing of its assembly and contraction. Failure to correctly execute cytokinesis can lead to the formation of polyploidal cells, which can contribute to the development of pathologies, such as cancer.
As part of my Ph.D. research, I study how the cell decides where to divide, as well as assembly and contraction of the cytokinetic apparatus in zebrafish during embryogenesis. Although fission yeast is one of the most used model organisms for the study of the apparatus assembly and contraction, yeast and animal cells exhibit significant structural differences that impinge upon cytokinesis. We aim to provide new insights into these processes using zebrafish, and endeavour to achieve this by a multidisciplinary approach in which we employ genomics, in-vitro reconstitution, live-cell microscopy and mathematical modelling.
Zebrafish As A Model For The Study of Cytokinesis
The genetic tractability and optical transparency of zebrafish during early embryogenesis make zebrafish an ideal modal for the study of cytokinesis, during this period. Nevertheless, live-cell microscopy has been one of the most challenging aspects of my research. Fortunately, recent developments in light microscopy have enabled us to image cytokinetic events in living cells, which would have otherwise been difficult to capture only a few years ago.
The opportunity to use a range of microscopy techniques, perform protein biochemistry and develop scripts for data analysis is absolutely one of the most exciting aspects of my work. Although I was trained as a Biochemist, I was fortunate enough to gain some exposure to the way in which other disciplines can address biological questions, as part of an MS.c. in Mathematical Biology and Biophysical Chemistry.
After completion of my Ph.D. I would like to continue the research of cell division in zebrafish, and hopefully extend to other organisms, such as Clawed African Frog. I aim to utilise, and build upon the range of inter-disciplinary skills that I have acquired during my MS.c. and Ph.D.
MOAC Doctoral Training Centre
University of Warwick
Coventry, CV4 7AL, UK
S dot T dot Clarke at warwick dot ac dot uk