Medical Research

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Jeremy Purvis, Jeanette Cook
Chapel Hill, NC
June 2015

The cell division cycle is a fundamental biological process that impacts development, disease and biotechnology.  Although the cell cycle involves a complex sequence of molecular events, our current knowledge of this process comes largely from “snapshot” measurements that provide little information about the underlying dynamics.  In this project, the investigators will employ an interdisciplinary approach to assemble the first real-time map of the human cell cycle.  The team will construct and validate a suite of novel fluorescent biosensors to visualize key molecular, metabolic, and developmental events throughout the cell cycle in normal epithelial cells, stem cells, and differentiated stem cell descendants.  With these new reagents, they will use time-lapse microscopy and automated image analysis to track cell cycle transitions at the single cell level.  A novel computer algorithm will be used to assemble the image sequences into a continuous timeline.  Combined, these strategies will reveal the precise order of molecular events, their rates of change, cellular locations, and molecular interdependencies.  Ultimately, this effort will produce the first comprehensive, interactive cell cycle model that can be accessed via a publicly available interface and used to explore new relationships among cell cycle events.

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