Developed in conjunction with Joomla extensions.

LABORATORY OF GENETICS

 

The laboratory of Genetics focuses on two main broad research topics: the eukaryote chromosome structure and cell division, and the analysis of genetic variability in humans.

During mitosis, the culminating phase of the cell cycle, the newly duplicated genome is evenly segregated to give rise to two identical daughter cells. The fidelity of mitotic division depends on the correct assembly of the chromosomes and their associated structures, e.g. kinetochores and telomeres. Mitotic errors can originate somatic clones of aneuploid cells, which may give rise to malignant transformation. Thus, unraveling the mechanisms underlying mitotic control is a central issue in both fundamental and cancer-oriented research. Several IBPM groups are investigating these mechanisms using a variety of experimental approaches and two main model systems: Drosophila melanogaster and mammalian tissue culture cells. Major research lines carried out within this broad field focus on the molecular-genetic analyses of mitotic structures and their functional regulatory mechanisms,  and of the mechanisms leading to mitotic errors in cancer cells. In particular, the IBPM groups analyze: the structure and function of kinetochores; the mechanisms of replication and protection of telomeres; the cell cycle and mitotic checkpoints; the structure and function of centrioles and centrosomes; the mitotic roles of the RAN GTPase and Aurora kinase family members; the molecular mechanisms of cytokinesis. An additional and relevant research topic concerns the design and development of new anti-mitotic compounds with potential for cancer therapy.

The study of genetic variability is a powerful tool to understand the evolutionary processes of human mankind and the pathogenesis of various diseases of genetic origin. There is growing recognition that many genetic diseases are complex, with multifactorial rather than simple modes of inheritance. Molecular genetics approaches are increasingly used to produce new insight into the pathogenetic mechanisms of such genetic disorders that include Alzheimer's disease, Autistic disorder, and coronary artery disease. The research projects carried out in this field by the IBPM include the reconstruction of human peopling through the analysis of several genetic markers and polymorphisms, the study of the genetic bases of longevity, and the identification of genetic risk factors for multifactorial diseases.

The laboratory of Genetics includes eleven CNR staff scientists, four University associates, and four highly qualified CNR staff technicians. It is hosted in two separate branches of the Department of Biology and Biotechnologies "C. Darwin". The former Institute of Genetics at the main University campus hosts researchers carrying out studies in the fields of (a) Drosophila chromosomes and cell division and (b) human genetic variability. The “San Lorenzo” branch (via degli Apuli laboratories) hosts six CNR researchers working on the control of the cell cycle and cell division in mammalian cell systems. The San Lorenzo laboratories also host an advanced imaging facility and Nikon reference center for central-southern Italy, and a regular join seminar program  with the Department of Biology and Biotechnologies.

IBPM STAFF

IBPM ASSOCIATES