Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute

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Iain Hagan

After completing his PhD studies Iain went to Japan on a 4-year postdoctoral fellowship with Professor Mitsuhiro Yanagida in Kyoto University. He returned to the UK in 1993 with a Cancer Research Campaign Return Fellowship to establish a group in The University of Manchester. He continued to work in what later became the Faculty of Life Sciences at The University of Manchester, with further Cancer Research Campaign Fellowship support before moving to the Paterson Institute for Cancer Research in 2001. In 1999 he was awarded the Human Frontier Science Program 10th Anniversary Medal and in 2001 was the recipient of the BSCB Hooke Medal. Iain is currently a Senior Group Leader at the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute. In 2009 he was elected to full membership of the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO).


Associate Scientist

Agnes Grallert


Postdoctoral Fellows

Marisa Alonso-Nuñez

Ye Dee Tay

Kuan Yoow Chan


Scientific Officer

Ben Hodgson


Graduate Students

Elvan Boke

Avinash Patel

María-José Villalobos Quesada (joint with the ACBB Group)



Cell Division Group - Fin1 distribution shows that the fission yeast SPB takes two cell cycles to mature

Localisation of Fin1 by GFP or antibodies showed that it associated with the SPB in a very interesting way. It bound the SPB from the start of mitosis to the completion of cytokinesis, but in late anaphase cells Fin1 was found on both SPBs in one half of the population and on only one in the other half. As yeast spindle pole bodies divide by a conservative mechanism - a new one forms next to the old. As this seemed like a simple mechanism to differentiate between two SPBs, we asked whether the affinity of Fin1 for an SPB was related to its age. We exploited a trick developed by our colleagues in the Schiebel lab in which the slow folding properties of red fluorescent protein can be harnessed to specifically label the old SPBs. This showed that whenever Fin1 was asymmetric it was always on the old SPB and that an SPB could only specify that its daughter should recruit Fin1 (Fin1 on both late anaphase SPBs) after it had passed through at least two cell cycles. Further work showed that Fin1 activity contributed to the inhibition of the SIN on the old SPB. This inheritance pattern is strikingly reminiscent of the maturation of the centrioles in human centrosomes. Centrioles pass through one and a half cell cycles before they acquire the appendages that are characteristic of a mature centriole


As centrosome amplification occurs in every cancer and cell cycle progression is controlled from the centrosome we are hopeful that understanding SPB maturation in yeast may lead to ways to restore centriole maturation to the tumours that have suppressed it to de-regulate growth. Such restoration of centrosome maturation would be expected to restore normal growth control.