At the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, we study the mechanisms of how cells grow and divide, assemble and function to form multicellular organisms. Using multidisciplinary approaches, we investigate the fundamental biological questions relating to chromatin structure and dynamics; gene regulation; proteostatis; RNA biology; signal transduction in mammalian cell growth and differentiation; cytoskeletal organization and cell adhesion; mechanisms of cell determination, repair, regeneration and developmental patterning. Extensive collaboration with physicists, chemists and engineers have made it possible to investigate the internal workings of cells, and how cells respond to external cues. Our mission is to train and educate undergraduate and graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows in the areas of modern molecular and cellular biology, cancer biology, developmental biology and neuro-cognitive sciences.
Supriya Prasanth, Head
Initiation of DNA duplication requires a six-subunit complex, the Origin Recognition Complex (ORC) that binds to the origins of DNA replication. The individual components of ORC also have many roles in other parts of the cell cycle, including heterochromatin organization and cytokinesis.
Researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Stanford University School of Medicine have identified a link between RNA polymerase III subunit composition and transcription, an advancement that has potential implications for future cancer research. A switch in one individual subunit, which gives rise to alternate Pol III “identities”, affects the ability of Pol III to express specific small RNAs with downstream roles in cancer growth and metastasis.
The nervous system is made up of diverse cells that arise from progenitors in a specific time-dependent pattern. In a new study, published in Nature Communications, researchers have uncovered the molecular players involved and how the timing is controlled.