About

Our group studies cell division and cell death. Defects in these processes underlie the development of cancer and cause resistance to chemotherapy. We are working with scientists and clinicians to understand these processes and improve the treatment of ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer, breast cancer and blood cancers.

In our laboratory, we use techniques of gene editing to study the role of specific proteins in cellular processes, biochemistry to discover how they are regulated, and advanced microscopy to study their roles in live cells.

We are investigating the role of tumour suppressor genes and oncogenes in the control of cell division (mitosis). We have discovered that Mcl-1 is a critical regulator of cell death during cell division (mitotic cell death), a process that is activated by chemotherapeutic drugs such as paclitaxel. We have found that cell death during cell division is controlled by the post-translational regulation of key proteins such as Mcl-1 through phosphorylation and ubiquitin-mediated proteasomal degradation. We also study proteins that control mitosis including ubiquitin ligases, deubiquitinating enzymes, and the Ran GTPase system.

  • Professor Paul Clarke

    Director, UQ Diamantina Institute
    The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute
  • Dr Qingyan Cui

    Postdoctoral Research Fellow
    The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute
  • Mr Ryan Galea

    Research Assistant
    The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute

Students

  • Jayne-Louise Pritchard
  • Jihyeon (Lia) Kim
  • Enaam Alghamdi

Our current research projects focus on:

  1. The control of cell death during mitosis by Mcl-1
  2. The role of the tumour suppressors FBXW7 and USP9X
  3. The control of mitosis by RanGTPase
  4. The role of the cGAS pathway in determining cell fate following the disruption of mitosis by cancer chemotherapeutic drugs.

Student projects available

  • Control of mitotic cell death in health and disease
  • Control of chromosome instability by tumour suppressors

We have received funding from the Australian Research Council and our recent work with the University of Dundee was funded by Cancer Research UK.

We have a long-standing collaboration with Prof Chuanmao Zhang at Peking University in Beijing, China. We have collaborated recently with Dr Adrian Saurin at the University of Dundee in Scotland on the control of mitosis. We have partnerships with cancer clinicians in Brisbane and Dundee.