Recently Recruited Faculty
Rank: Assistant Professor
Joined BMB: March, 2013
Upbringing: Adelaide, Australia
Previous Position: Postdoctoral Fellow with Dr. Mary Ann Handel
The Jackson Laboratory, Maine, USA
Research interest: Our lab aims to decipher the mechanisms required for successful transmission of the genome from one generation to the next. For the formation of genetically normal sperm and eggs, chromosomes must segregate accurately during a specialized cell cycle known as meiosis. However, approximately 10% of clinically reported pregnancies are chromosomally abnormal, resulting in pregnancy loss or genetic defects such as Down syndrome [Hassold and Hunt, Nature Reviews Genetics (2001), Vol. 2 (4) p280].
During meiosis, our DNA is subjected to programmed damage in the form of double-strand breaks. The repair of this DNA damage is essential and allows us to reshuffle our genetic material to stimulate genetic diversity and ensure that our chromosomes segregate accurately during meiosis. However, errors during the repair of this DNA damage is potentially deleterious to the next generation as it can result in chromosomal abnormalities leading to genetic disease, pregnancy loss and even infertility.
Our lab is studies the structural maintenance of chromosomes (SMC) complexes which includes cohesin. Cohesin complexes play critical roles during meiosis that ensure the induced DNA damage is repaired and chromosomes segregate accurately during both meiotic nuclear divisions. In addition, our lab is studying the roles of the SMC5/6 complex during mammalian meiosis and we are also engaged in complementary projects based on genome maintenance (DNA repair, recombination and chromosome segregation) and cell cycle progression.
"I joined BMB because each lab complements one another with respect to their research endeavors and the techniques they specialize in. As a result there is plenty of scope for collaborative research and funding opportunities. In addition, the collegial atmosphere and balanced mix of graduate students and post-doctorate research fellows in the department made BMB the ideal choice for me."