Professor Karim Labib

Taking apart the molecular machinery for copying our genetic blueprint

Before cells divide, they assemble a molecular machine called the ‘replisome’ to help copy the DNA that contains the cell’s genetic blueprint. Once the cell has copied its DNA, the machine is broken down into its component parts, so that each cell only makes a single copy of the genetic information.

In Dundee, Professor Labib has been using yeast and worms to investigate what causes the DNA replication machinery to break down. He has shown that there are at least two ways to trigger the breakdown of the replisome. Cells can survive with just one of these triggers, but losing both is lethal.

Now, he wants to investigate this process further and extend the studies into mammalian cells. He believes that one of these processes may be faulty in cancer cells. This suggests that it might be possible to block the remaining trigger and thus kill cancer cells, without hurting the ability of healthy cells to divide.

Cancer biology

College of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, Dundee