The Michael laboratory studies the cell cycle. One area of interest concerns how cell cycle phase transitions are regulated so that orderly progression through the cycle is achieved. For example, how do normally cycling cells resist entering mitosis while their chromosomes are being replicated in S phase? Also, how do cells delay cell cycle progression when they experience problems during DNA replication? This latter question lies at the heart of how normal cells can be transformed into cancer cells, and thus our studies have the long-term goal of providing molecular mechanisms that can, in turn, be utilized for cancer drug discovery. For our mechanism-driven questions we use Xenopus egg extracts, the premier biochemical system for studies of DNA replication and cell cycle control. Another major area of interest in the Michael laboratory concerns how cell cycle regulation impacts early embryonic and germline development. It has long been appreciated that cell cycle regulation plays a key role in determining how cells execute a developmental fate, yet the molecular pathways involved are not known and thus elucidating general principles for how the cell cycle impacts embryonic development is an important goal of our laboratory. We are also interested in the role of cell cycle regulation in specification of the germline. Germ cells, the immortal, totipotent “super stem cells”, are the means by which genetic information is passed from one generation to the next. Cell cycle control in the germline is very different from that which occurs in the soma, and thus one major challenge for the lab is to understand how these differences in cell cycle control arise and what roles the specialized cell cycle programs in germ cells play in germline determination. For our studies on embryonic and germline development we utilize the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans so that we can take advantage of the many benefits offered by this model system, such a forward genetics, reverse genetics (RNAi), high-resolution imaging, and CRISPR-Cas9 mediated genome editing.
Lab MembershipsThe Michael Laboratory (Principal Investigator/Director)
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA 90007
Biological Sciences RRI 104B
Los Angeles, California