My main research interest has been for many years the functional organization of our genomes within its controlled environment the cell nucleus. Our genome distributed into individual chromosome territories is anchored and regulated by the proteinaceous scaffolding within the nucleus called the nucleoskeleton. My research group has for the last 20 or so years been investigating the relationship of the genome with these various structures that make up the nucleoskeleton. This we have pursued through various model organisms such as pigs and snails, in various diseases where the nucleoskeleton is compromised including degenerative tissue diseases the laminopathies, the premature aging disease Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome, breast and ovarian cancer and normal aging and specific cell types such as embryonic and adult stem cells, fibroblasts, myocytes and adipocytes. We are currently investigating mechanisms and compounds that can correct the issues with the nucleoskeleton in these diseases and in old cells to restore normal genome function.
We are also interested in the mechanobiology of the cell nucleus and study nuclear motor proteins that actively move genes and chromosomes around in response to external signals such as stress and infection. This interest in active movement of the genome around the nucleus has led us to being intrigued by the effects of microgravity on internal cellular movements, embryo development and aging and how to mitigate its effects in space travel and use it for restoring compromised genome behavior.