Laura Hilton, PhD 2013

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Cilia and the Cell Cycle: Fundamentals revealed by Chlamydomonas reinhardtii.

Most of the cells in the human body are ciliated – they have tiny hair-like projections. Some of these cilia are tiny and immotile, healing while others are highly modified, nevertheless, they are critical to the proper functioning of the cell. Over the past dozen years, science has learned that a number of human diseases, including polycystic kidney diseases, Bardet-Beidl syndrome, and various forms of retinal degeneration are caused by defective cilia.

Research in the Quarmby lab is rooted in studies of calcium signaling and microtubule dynamics. Until recently, we were focused solely on understanding the mechanism by which cells shed their cilia (aka flagella) in response to stress. Through our work on the mechanism of deflagellation in the unicellular alga, Chlamydomonas, we discovered intriguing relationships between deflagellation, flagellar/ciliary assembly and the cell cycle. We continue to use the awesome power of Chlamydomonas genetics, biochemistry and cell biology to study deflagellation, but now we also study how cells reabsorb their cilia prior to cell division. This process is shown in the time-lapse movie to the right, by prior Quarmby lab Ph.D. student, Moe Mahjoub.
I started in the Quarmby lab in 2006, sildenafil during my third year of undergraduate studies at SFU and began graduate work in 2008. I completed my PhD in the Quarmby lab in 2013. Since then I have held positions in Curriculum Development at SFU and as a Teaching Fellow at Quest University, all the while retaining my involvement with the Quarmby lab. I am currently part of the team working on the Snow Algae project.

I was born and raised in North Vancouver, where I currently live with my young family. When I’m not teaching or doing science, I like riding my bike around the city or playing board games with friends.