Cell division is essential for life and is it is critical for an organism's development and homeostasis. In order for a cell to divide, it must dramatically change in shape and split into two 'daughter' cells. This has to be coordinated with the cellular components and especially the chromosomes. In the movie on the right, the cell membrane can be seen changing shape and separating the cell, ensuring that half of the chromsomes are inherited by each daugheter cell.
Much of our lab's work uses C. elegans, (a small worm) as a model to understand cell biology. These are easy to maintain, grow and use in experiments. We think they are cute too! They grow from embryos (seen as rugby balls in the video), into smaller larval worms and finally into adults. This just takes a few days which means genetic crosses are quick to perform.
A key tool used in the lab is live fluorescence microscopy. C. elegans strains in which proteins have been tagged with a fluorescent protein are used to track protein localization during cytokinesis. The movie shows embryonic divisions in four different marker strains (Clockwise from top left: myosin II, microtubules, plasma membrane, f-actin)
Work in the Davies Lab is funded by an Academy of Medical Sciences Springboard Award and the Royal Society. Tim's postdoctoral and PhD research was funded by various bodies, including the BBSRC, Cancer Research UK, the National Institutes of Health, and the Charles H Revson Foundation.