Isabelle Vernos obtained a PhD in Biology from the University Autonoma of Madrid in 1989. She was a postdoc first in Cambridge (UK) and then EMBL (Heidelberg), becoming staff scientist in1996. In 2001, she established an independent research group as team leader at EMBL. In 2005, she obtained an ICREA Research Professor position to join the Cell and Developmental Biology program at the CRG. She is EMBO member since 2005. She was a member of the ERC Scientific Council in 2011-2019 and chaired its Gender Balance working group in 2013-2019. From 2012 to 2015, she was a member of the Advisory Board for Science, Technology and Innovation for the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitivity. Isabelle Vernos has published more than 90 research papers and reviews in high impact international journals.
Life depends on the ability of cells to divide while maintaining their genomic integrity. Cell division is therefore a critical process and yet involves the full reversible reorganization of most of intra-cellular components. In particular it involves the transient assembly of a microtubule based molecular machine, the bipolar spindle that organizes and segregates the chromosomes during cell division. We recently identified a novel mechanism involving the postranslational modification of the spindle microtubules that is required for chromosome segregation fidelity in normal cells. This mechanism is at stake in cancer cells that often misegregate chromosomes. Indeed aneuploidy and chromosomal instability are two hallmarks of particularly aggressive tumors. Our aim is to understand how this mechanism and other regulatory signalling pathways ensure the proper execution of mitosis and identify novel targets to prevent cancer cell proliferation.