Dartmouth researcher goes to Cape Cod to study cell division

May 09, 2001

Hanover, NH - Like many who visit Cape Cod in the summer, Roger Sloboda, Ira Allen Eastman Professor of Biology at Dartmouth College, goes for the clams. Not the fried ones, however. He prefers his clams ripe with eggs.

Sloboda's been making this trip since 1980 to study how cells divide, a process called mitosis. With support from the Whiting Foundation, he will embark on his annual journey to the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, MA, in early June. Surf clams, found in the cold coastal waters of the North Atlantic, are fertile from May through July, and he can obtain millions of egg cells from a single female clam.

During his eight weeks at MBL, Sloboda will study approximately 250 surf clams, each providing millions of live eggs. Surf clams are ideal for this research mainly because of the large volume of eggs they create, and how easily they can be manipulated to undergo mitosis at the same time.

"The eggs can be induced to undergo cell division synchronously, and I can study millions of cells, each at the very same stage of division," Sloboda said. His research aims to better understand the phase of cell division when the chromosomes separate. Defects in this process are involved in such human problems as cancer and Down's syndrome. Because the mechanism for cell division in clams is similar to that in most animals, what Sloboda learns from his research may some day be applied to human cells.

Sloboda and his Dartmouth students have already determined that a protein called p62 is required for cell division, and his lab also discovered that a cell's nucleus appears to store p62 for use during this process. This summer's research will focus on two questions: is p62's residence in the nucleus required for healthy cell division, and what other proteins interact with p62 during cell division.

The unique research facilities at MBL, which include trained divers to collect the clams, along with large volumes of aerated, filtered and chilled sea water with the proper amounts of plankton and other microorganisms, make it possible to conduct this research. "It's impractical to recreate this lab at Dartmouth," Sloboda said, although he will freeze thousands of samples for use while working with both undergraduate and graduate students back in Hanover.
-end-
NOTE: A photo of Roger Sloboda can be e-mailed upon request to sue.knapp@dartmouth.edu

Dartmouth College

Related Cell Division Articles from Brightsurf:

Cell division: Cleaning the nucleus without detergents
A team of researchers, spearheaded by the Gerlich lab at IMBA, has uncovered how cells remove unwanted components from the nucleus following mitosis.

Genetic signature boosts protein production during cell division
A research team has uncovered a genetic signature that enables cells to adapt their protein production according to their state.

Inner 'clockwork' sets the time for cell division in bacteria
Researchers at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel have discovered a 'clockwork' mechanism that controls cell division in bacteria.

Scientists detail how chromosomes reorganize after cell division
Researchers have discovered key mechanisms and structural details of a fundamental biological process--how a cell nucleus and its chromosomal material reorganizes itself after cell division.

Targeting cell division in pancreatic cancer
Study provides new evidence of synergistic effects of drugs that inhibit cell division and support for further clinical trials.

Scientists gain new insights into the mechanisms of cell division
Mitosis is the process by which the genetic information encoded on chromosomes is equally distributed to two daughter cells, a fundamental feature of all life on earth.

Cell division at high speed
When two proteins work together, this worsens the prognosis for lung cancer patients: their chances of survival are particularly poor in this case.

Cell biology: The complexity of division by two
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich researchers have identified a novel protein that plays a crucial role in the formation of the mitotic spindle, which is essential for correct segregation of a full set of chromosomes to each daughter cell during cell division.

Better together: Mitochondrial fusion supports cell division
New research from Washington University in St. Louis shows that when cells divide rapidly, their mitochondria are fused together.

Seeing is believing: Monitoring real time changes during cell division
Scientist have cast new light on the behaviour of tiny hair-like structures called cilia found on almost every cell in the body.

Read More: Cell Division News and Cell Division Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.