The shape of things to come
Dr Buzz Baum and his team at University College London are investigating the dramatic changes in a cell’s shape as it splits to create two cells. This process of cell division is essential for life, but runs out of control in cancer, creating millions of cells that make up a tumour.
A healthy cell rounds up before it splits into two cells by changing its internal molecular scaffolding, known as the cytoskeleton. Dr Baum has discovered that changes in the cytoskeleton are needed for the formation of a structure called the spindle, which is essential to ensure that cell division occurs without mistakes. He is particularly interested in how these changes to the cytoskeleton might be altered in cancer cells, and how they are involved in tumour growth.
Learning more about the fundamental process of how a cell divides helps to understand what goes wrong in the early stages of cancer growth, and might lead to new ways to treat the disease in the future.
Other research projects by Buzz Baum
Funding period: 01 January 2009 to 31 December 2014