I am a post-doctoral fellow at the laboratory of Prof. Timothy J. Mitchison, at the department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School. I joined Prof. Mitchison's team in 2016 with the goal to understand how quiescent cells coordinate biogenesis and function of microtubules and how they cope with microtubule stress. I use bioinformatics, biochemistry and microscopy as main approaches to study microtubules in quiescent tissue culture cells.
During my doctoral studies, at the laboratory of Prof. Patrick Meraldi at the Institute of Biochemistry at the ETH Zurich, I studied spatial and temporal organization of the mitotic spindle in dividing tissue culture cells. The main building blocks of the mitotic spindle are microtubules. In mitosis, dynamic microtubules have the task of dividing the DNA evenly between the two daughter cells. Division of the genetic material is perhaps the most vulnerable stage of the cell cycle, as any errors have severe consequences, such as aneuploidy or cell death.
Given their important roles in cell division, microtubules are targeted by chemotherapy in treatment of various cancers. Microtubule damage in mitosis is one of the mechanisms that microtubule targeted chemotherapy utilizes to eradicate tumors. There is accumulating evidence that quiescent cells are affected by microtubule damage as well. The molecular mechanisms of this phenomenon, however, remain unknown.
My research aims to identify cellular mechanisms that coordinate biogenesis of microtubule-related proteins to organize the microtubule cytoskeletion throughout the cell cycle. This knowledge will broaden our fundamental understanding of the microtubule cytoskeleton and open up new avenues for microtubule-targeting chemotherapy.