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Research Fellows Directory

Lori Borgal

Dr Lori Borgal

Research Fellow


University of Exeter

Research summary

The ability of a human cell to duplicate itself and divide into two cells in a coordinated way lies at the heart of human growth and injury repair. This process is strictly regulated and disruption can result in situations of uncontrolled cell division, such as occurs in cancer. Critical to the process of cell division is the formation of a “mitotic spindle”, which ensures even distribution of duplicated DNA to the daughter cells. The aim of this project is to characterize the mechanics of spindle formation and cell division by focusing on the functions of the centrosome and microtubule associated protein “Abnormal Spindle” (fly Asp/human ASPM). Mutations in Asp/ASPM lead to microcephaly, a rare human disease leading to small brain size and thought to be caused by disrupted stem cell division in the developing brain. In addition, several types of human cancer cells have altered ASPM protein levels, so this project will also strive to determine the role of ASPM in these altered cells. In doing so, this project will tease apart distinct functions of Asp/ASPM during spindle formation and subsequent cell division to determine how Asp/ASPM contributes to proliferation of different cell types. Results will increase molecular understanding of normal cell division as well as microcephaly disease pathology, stem cell biology and cancer cell division, and contribute to specific target identification for therapeutic interventions and regenerative medicine.

Grants awarded

Dissecting the roles of the microtubule-associated proteins Asp/ASPM in cell division

Scheme: Newton International Fellowships

Dates: Nov 2015 - Jul 2018

Value: £101,000

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