Finding out how cells divide
London Research Institute
44 Lincoln's Inn Fields
Web: Lab website
About John Diffley
Dr John Diffley is one of the world's leading experts in studying how cells grow and make copies of themselves. He is the Director of our London Research Institute Clare Hall Laboratories and heads the Chromosome Replication Laboratory.
When new cells are needed - as we grow, or to replace dead and damaged cells - a cell splits into two 'daughter' cells. This is known as cell division. It is normally tightly controlled, but if it is faulty then cells grow out of control, which can lead to cancer.
In order to produce two identical 'daughters', the original cell's DNA must be accurately copied and shared equally between the new cells. Dr Diffley is studying the molecular 'machinery' that copies DNA and ensures that each daughter cell receives a complete set of genetic instructions.
For example, Dr Diffley and his team are investigating why DNA is copied only once in healthy cells but many times in some cancer cells. And they are also studying how the process of DNA copying (called replication) is affected when DNA is damaged - a common occurrence in cancer.
By uncovering the molecular 'nuts and bolts' of DNA replication, Dr Diffley's discoveries will form the foundations for new ways to diagnose and treat cancer in the future.