Nov 17 2009 Posted: 00:00 GMT
Professor Kevin Sullivan, Professor of Cell Biology, and Dr Lisa Prendergast, Postdoctoral Fellow at NUI Galway were recently crowned winners of the SFI Research Image Competition with their image – 'Troubled Cell Division'. This new competition offered Science Foundation Ireland-funded researchers the opportunity to submit digital images created during the course of their research. The winning image shows a dividing cell whose spindle has been disturbed by removing a single protein from the chromosome. The image was taken during research into what might cause a cancer cell to fail in cell division and die instead of multiplying. Professor Sullivan explained: "Our work is aimed at understanding how human cell division works. This knowledge can then be used in the discovery and validation of new drugs for cancer chemotherapy. The mechanism we're studying, the mitotic spindle in cell division, is already a proven target for effective chemotherapy drugs including Taxol and Vinblastine. The idea we're pursuing is that we can potentially lower the toxicity of spindle poisons or target them more specifically to cancer cells". Professor Sullivan's laboratory is in the Centre for Chromosome Biology within the School of Natural Sciences at NUI Galway. The Centre is a grouping of 11 independent research laboratories with over 80 researchers focused on understanding the functions of genetic material, and how this influences human diseases such as cancer, neurological and developmental disorders. Research in the Centre for Chromosome Biology is supported by funding bodies including Science Foundation Ireland, the Health Research Board, IRCSET, the European Union and the Irish Cancer Society. For more information about the Centre for Chromosome Biology, please visit