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

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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. Maybe less known is the fact that telomeres play an extremely important role in meiosis where they attach to the nuclear membrane and ultimately help with recombination between homologous chromosomes that is critical for genetic diversity. 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 in mitotic and meiotic cells.