Which mechanisms account for robust partitioning of chromosomes during cell division?

A PhD vacancy is opened in my lab for a cell biologist / biophysicist interested in cell division (see https://igdr.univ-rennes1.fr/en/phd-projects-available-2022-call#p-5919) in the broader framework of the PhD Program at IGDR (https://igdr.univ-rennes1.fr/en/application-igdr-phd-program). Interested student can contact me informally (jacques.pecreaux@univ-rennes1.fr) for the opening in my lab. Deadline for applying is the 1st of May.

While most of the players in the mitotic spindle are known, how they dynamically combine to ensure a robust cell division is yet to be found. Such robustness is ambivalent, allowing the development of multicellular organisms and permitting various developmental diseases like malformations of cortical development and cancer. In this latter case, aneuploid cells can divide, although not faithfully, and resulting chromosomal instability increases drug resistance. We foresee that spindle function is also robust because of mechanism design, as for spindle positioning. The nematode model, established and convenient for biophysics, exhibits viable and fertile tetraploid strains. Recently, we found unexpected fluxes of spindle microtubules and identified some of the related players. Previously, using C. elegans one-cell embryo, we could fingerprint the spindle mechanics and found that it slowly drifts rather than being at quasi-equilibrium, supporting its adaptability. We foresee a connection between fluxes and adaptability and set: (i) to investigate half-spindle mechanics by including chromosome motion; (ii) to identify the list of the players of spindle mechanics, likely overlapping partly with the one of the fluxes; (iii) to recapitulate the results into a continuous mechanical model (coll. L. Le Marrec, IRMAR, Rennes) and (iv) to validate the findings in human cells using our autonomous microscope. It will pave the way to interfere with this robustness to potentialise anti-mitotic drugs.

Cell Division Robustness, Nematode Model Organism, Continuous Mechanics Modelling

Expected profile
Training in cell biology and basic knowledge in interdisciplinary approaches, if possible, including image processing and biophysical modelling. Experience in optical microscopy, data science or statistics considered very favorably

To apply for this job please visit igdr.univ-rennes1.fr.