Understanding the mechanism of telomere replication

Year of award: 2019


  • Dr Max Douglas

    Institute of Cancer Research

Project summary

The genetic material in our cells is packaged into linear chromosomes, which are protected at each end by a special cap made up of DNA and a collection of proteins, collectively called a telomere. With each cell division, telomeres are copied and reassembled through a process called telomere replication, which ensures chromosomes stay capped from one generation to the next. The protein factors required for this process have been identified, but the molecular steps by which telomere replication takes place are poorly understood.

I will use purified proteins to study telomere replication in a test tube. This novel approach will allow me to use biochemical and biophysical techniques to unpick the individual steps required to copy and reassemble telomeres’ each cell cycle. 

My work will provide fundamental molecular insights into the biology of telomeres, which will help us better understand human diseases such as cancer.