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Understanding how mitotic errors drive chromosome instability is key to uncovering the mechanisms underlying the evolution of cancer. A defining feature in over 2/3rds of all solid tumours is the continual loss and gain of whole and/or small parts of chromosomes. This chromosome instability (CIN), is strongly implicated in tumour initiation, progression, chemoresistance and poor patient prognosis. A primary cause of CIN is incorrect mitotic cell division, whereby missegregation of chromosomes creates daughter cells with fragmented and or unequal chromosome numbers. This seminar will explore the mechanism controlling correct mitotic progression and how cancer cells exploit and disrupt these mechanisms to drive CIN.
Dr Andrew Burgess graduated with 1st class honours from the Queensland institute of Medical research in 1999. In 2000, he received a scholarship to pursue a PhD at the University of Queensland, which was subsequently awarded in 2004. During his PhD, he made seminal contributions on molecular mechanism underlying the tumour specific cytotoxicity of histone deacetylase inhibitors. This highly cited work helped establish these compounds as novel chemotherapeutic agents with several now approved by the FDA. Upon completion of his PhD in 2004, he was awarded a prestigious NHMRC CJ Martin fellowship, to undertake Post-doctoral studies at the CNRS in Montpellier, France. Here he continued to explore the basic mechanism underlying the cell division process. This proved to be a highly productive and exciting time, with the identification and characterisation of a novel mitotic kinase (MASTL), which he demonstrated is the master regulator of mitosis. This highly cited work was published in world leading journals including PNAS, Science, and EMBO J.
At the beginning of 2012, he was awarded a Future Research Leaders Fellowship by the CINSW allowing him to return to Sydney, Australia and establish his own research group at the Garvan Institute and Kinghorn Cancer Centre. Dr Burgess' research utilises cutting edge quantitative multidimensional microscopy combined with proteomic and biochemical approaches to fully explore the how the basic mechanics of cell division regulate chromosome instability and cancer evolution.