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Chromosome Biology and the Cell Cycle

Chromosome Biology and the Cell Cycle

We carry out research to understand:

  • cell division and chromosome segregation
  • chromosome replication and repair
  • the control of gene expression
  • how defects in these processes underlie disease

We encourage translation of our fundamental research towards application in healthcare and biotechnology. We have research strengths in:

  • cancer
  • reproductive biology
  • arthritis
  • microbiology

Research Impact

Cancer is one focus area in our theme. Many of our members are part of the Newcastle Centre for Cancer. This centre of excellence brings together all cancer researchers and clinicians in Newcastle. This multidisciplinary approach accelerates new discoveries and therapies.

Our researchers have discovered many genetic abnormalities that improve diagnosis of leukaemia. This has led to changes in the therapy given to patients. We have identified kinases that control cell division. We have developed inhibitors of cell cycle kinases that serve as leads for drug development. We participated in the development of the PARP inhibitor drug Rubraca. This has now been licenced for the treatment of ovarian cancer. 

We conduct leading research in meiosis. Newcastle is one of the few UK centres with access to human oocytes for research purposes.  This has facilitated the introduction of oocyte manipulation as a mitochondrial disease therapy. Moving this innovation into the clinic required changes to UK fertility legislation. Theme member Mary Herbert played a significant role in changing these laws.

Researchers in the theme hold programme, project and personal awards from major funders. These include Wellcome, BBSRC, MRC, Horizon2020, Cancer Research UK, Prostate Cancer UK, and Blood Cancer UK.  We provide a dynamic and supportive environment for career development at all stages. We are particularly proud of our early career fellows. They hold career development awards from the MRC, Cancer Research UK, Wellcome and Versus Arthritis.

We aim to communicate the importance of our work to other scientists and to the public. We work with local schools through the “Leading Edge” project and host students on work experience. We have taken part in the “Cell Detectives” events organised by our core facilities. These fun and engaging sessions allow us to introduce cell division to non-scientists.

Follow our theme on twitter @cbcc_ncl for news and updates.

Theme Leadership

The theme is led by Jonathan Higgins, Professor of Eukaryotic Molecular Cell Biology. Professor Higgins is also Director of Non-Clinical Fellowships across the Faculty of Medical Sciences. 

Deputy Theme Leads

Jane Endicott, Professor of Cancer Structural Biology

David Elliott, Professor of Genetics

Research Culture

We supervise over 40 PhD students within our theme. We provide research-led teaching in chromosome biology and the cell cycle at all levels, leading on the MRes module 'Chromosome Biology and Cell Cycle Control in Health and Disease'.

The majority of our undergraduate teaching is on courses in the School of Biomedical, Nutritional and Sports Science.

Education Lead (taught): Mark Levasseur
Education Lead (research): Tim Cheek

We provide a dynamic and supportive environment for career development at all stages.  We organise mentorship and personalised career advice including for fellowship applications.
ECR Lead: Lisa Russell

We promote the values of EDI in everything we do.
EDI Leads: Josana Rodriguez and Daniel Rico