Western University BiologyWestern Science

Jim Karagiannis, PhD

Molecular Biology and Genetics of Cell Division

Jim Karagiannis Position:

Associate Professor
Biological & Geological Sciences 3080
Biological & Geological Sciences 3084
office: (519) 661-2111 x 80975
lab: (519) 661-2111 x 86478
519 661-3935

Jim Karagiannis - ResearchEukaryotic cells rely on the dynamic interactions of DNA, RNA, proteins and lipids in order to grow, divide and respond "intelligently" to environmental and/or developmental cues. All of the information necessary to carry out these complex functions must be encoded into the genome in a "self-extracting" form. An understanding of the molecular mechanisms used to extract, express, copy, and protect this information has been, and continues to be, a major goal of biology. 

One of the premier organisms used to understand this complexity is the fission yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe. This unicellular eukaryote provides tremendous experimental advantages that include the ease of genetic manipulation, the availability of genomics tools, and the capacity to apply advanced biochemistry and fluorescence microscopy. Research in the lab focuses these tools on the regulatory modules governing the successful completion of cytokinesis.

Cytokinesis comprises the post-mitotic phase of the cell cycle in which newly segregated chromosomes are irreversibly separated into independent daughter cells by the mechanical cleavage of the mother cell into two. The successful completion of cytokinesis requires the intricate interplay of gene products that range from signalling molecules to elements of the cytoskeleton. Thus, this experimental system provides an excellent opportunity to increase our understanding of how eukaryotic cells assemble and regulate complex genetic networks. Through the study of cytokinesis inS. pombe we hope to reveal general themes, or rules of genetic regulation, that are applicable to the control of genetic pathways across all eukaryotes.

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