Current Laboratory Member

Gordon K Chan, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator
Dawn Macdonald, Ph.D. Research Associate 
Devinderjit Kaur, B.Sc., M.Sc Graduate Student
Wenya Wei, B.Med Graduate Student
Cody Lewis, B.Sc., M.Sc. Graduate Student

Research Interests - Overview

In my laboratory, research is centered on the mechanism of cell cycle control and particularly the regulation of accurate chromosome segregation during mitosis. The mitotic checkpoint is a failsafe mechanism by which the cell prevents premature anaphase and ensures accurate chromosome segregation. The relevance this line of basic research to cancer is established in the demonstrated importance of chromosome fidelity during cell division to carcinogenesis. By investigating the molecular mechanism of the mitotic checkpoint, we can better evaluate these genes as potential cancer drug targets as well as contributing to the basic understanding of cancer.

Ongoing Research Highlights

We have two main areas of research: (i) The role(s) of the Rod/Zw10 complex in mitotic checkpoint regulation and (ii) centromere and kinetochore structure and assembly.
(i) We are currently examining the mechanisms by which mitotic checkpoint proteins monitor kinetochore:microtubule attachments to ensure that cells with misaligned chromosomes are provided enough time to establish proper connections to the spindle. hZw10 and hROD are kinetochore proteins that recruit the microtubule motor, dynein/dynactin, to kinetochores but were found to be also essential for the mitotic checkpoint. We propose that hZw10 and hROD links kinetochore:microtubule attachments mediated by dynein to the checkpoint. We are using molecular, biochemical and cell biological approaches to study the structure and function of the mitotic checkpoint apparatus in order to understand the underlying mechanism.
(ii) We are studying the effect of epigenetic modifications of histones on the assembly and structure of the centromere and kinetochore.

Selected Research Picture