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Dr. Ulrike Gruneberg

Dr. Ulrike Gruneberg

Ulrike Gruneberg

Professor of Molecular Cell Biology

Molecular mechanisms safe-guarding genome stability during mammalian cell division

Cell division is the basis for all life on earth, and the key goal of cell division is the correct segregation of the genetic material. An important prerequisite for correct chromosome segregation in eukaryotes is the tight attachment of the chromosomes to microtubules during cell division, making faithful partitioning of the chromosomes possible. We are interested in understanding in detail how accurate segregation of the chromosomes is achieved in mammalian cells, and what aspects of this process go wrong in cancer cells. In particular, there are three questions, we would like to elucidate:

  1. How is correct and stable attachment of the chromosomes to the microtubules via the kinetochores achieved during mitosis?
  2. How is the molecular machinery that monitors this process (the spindle assembly checkpoint) activated and inactivated?
  3. How is chromosome segregation coordinated with the other events of cell division, such as spindle formation?

To answer these questions, we use mammalian tissue culture cells and a combination of biochemical and cell biological techniques, including fixed and live cell imaging, in vitro protein assays, immunoprecipitations and mass spectrometry.