Department of Mathematics Calendar
Sarah Olson, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Modeling the dynamics of centrosome movement
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The mitotic spindle is a complex, dynamic machine important for cell division. The spindle is composed of a network of microtubules and motor proteins that generate forces to form a bipolar spindle, with each pole organized around a single centrosome. Disruption in force generating activities through protein depletions or alterations to centrosome number, alter spindle structure and affect the fate of the cell in mitosis. Centrosome amplification leads to multipolar spindle formation and multipolar division, which results in daughter cells with decreased viability. However, cancer cells actively cluster extra centrosomes to form a functional bipolar spindle. We highlight initial modeling and experimental efforts to understand the dominant forces that lead to the formation of either a multipolar or functional bipolar spindle in the case of extra centrosomes. Time permitting, we will also highlight other recent projects related to cancer cell dynamics.