A multi-pronged approach to understand how telomeres and telomerase participate in cancer, stem cell fitness, ageing, and genome stability

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We study telomeres and telomerase, which are protein-nucleic acid complexes that act on all eukaryotic chromosome ends. Telomeres ensure that our chromosome ends do not engage in illicit inter-chromosomal fusion events that could lead to various diseases including cancer. The RNA-protein enzyme telomerase on the other hand is required for continued proliferation of actively dividing cells such as stem cells and cancer cells. The lab’s research philosophy is to use a multi-pronged approach integrating structural, biochemical and cytological techniques that each feed into one another to develop a molecular model for how telomeres and telomerase perform their critical functions.