I am an evolutionary cell biologist currently working as a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow in Buzz Baum’s group at the MRC Lab for Molecular Cell Biology at UCL. I am interested in the evolution of the eukaryotic cell, and in particular the origins of the eukaryotic cell cycle. Overwhelming genomic evidence suggests that eukaryotes inherited the core of their cytoskeleton and cell division machinery from archaea, yet little is known about the function of their homologs in extant archaeal lineages. We are developing a live-imaging platform for a thermophilic archaeal model species, Sulfolobus, that has a eukaryote-like phasic cell cycle. In parallel, I am using our findings in archaea to predict and characterise potential novel, conserved roles for ancient cell division machines in the model unicellular eukaryote Schizosaccharomyces pombe.
I received my PhD from Stanford University’s Department of Chemical and Systems Biology in 2015, where I worked with Tobias Meyer on the evolution of human gene regulatory modules. Before moving to California, I worked with Satyajit Mayor and Mukund Thattai at the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, India, on genome-scale screens for endocytosis in Drosophila.