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Profile Publications (13)
Name: Sarah Woolner
Position: Research Fellow
Research Description:
I am interested in how intra- and extra-cellular forces regulate the mitotic spindle and cell division in tissues. A particular focus is the control of cell division orientation during morphogenesis.
he tissues of our bodies are extremely complicated at the cellular level, comprising different types of cells arranged with precise geometry. Within this complex system, the direction in which a cell divides is a crucial tool used to shape tissues and determine cell fate. Defects in division orientation have lethal consequences: they cause failures in embryonic development and are associated with cancer.

To coordinate cell division across a tissue, cells must be able to “read” their external cellular environment and orient their division accordingly. The mechanisms that control this remain unclear, but we know that cues from the extracellular matrix play a vital role. These cues must be fed to a cellular structure called the mitotic spindle, the positioning of which determines cell division orientation. Understanding the mechanisms used by the cell to correctly position the spindle is a key focus of our lab. In particular, we are investigating how molecular forces are balanced inside the cell to position the mitotic spindle and how these internal mechanisms are linked to the external cellular environment in order to coordinate spindle orientation across a tissue.

2 major projects:

1. Balancing forces to position the spindle: how are spindles held level during symmetric cell divisions? 

2. Reading the external environment: how do cells in a tissue know which direction to divide in?

Contact Information

Michael Smith Building
Faculty of Life Sciences
University of Manchester
Oxford Road
M13 9PT, United Kingdom

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