Chromosomes & genetic engineeting

Dr. Liu’s research team focuses on the molecular mechanisms of chromosome segregation. Chromosome segregation during cell division is essential for imparting the genetic information stored in chromosomes from mother to daughter cells. Errors in this process will not only impair the normal development and growth of organisms, but also result in many diseases, such as cancer and infertility. Therefore, a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying chromosome segregation will help us identify potential targets for developing better therapies to cure human diseases. To ensure proper chromosome segregation, spindle microtubules must be attached to kinetochores, multi-protein complexes that are assembled on the centromere, a specialized DNA sequence on a chromosome. In addition, the centromere is the site where cohesion is established to link two sister chromatids together, which is essential for proper chromosome segregation. Thus, the centromere is the hub for orchestration of chromosome segregation. In the laboratory, we study three centromere-related processes: centromeric cohesion, kinetochore-microtubule interactions, and centromeric transcription.