Binyam Mogessie

Binyam Mogessie Group Leader
Wellcome Trust and Royal Society Sir Henry Dale Fellow

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My scientific career started at Jacobs University Bremen (Germany) where I studied Biochemistry and Cell Biology as an undergraduate student. After receiving my BSc in 2007, I moved to the UK and joined the laboratory of Anne Straube as a PhD student first at the Marie Curie Research Institute (Surrey) and later at the Centre for Mechanochemical Cell Biology (Warwick). During my PhD, I primarily investigated the cellular mechanisms that reorganise the microtubule cytoskeleton during skeletal muscle differentiation. I found that a novel isoform of the microtubule-associated protein MAP4 is required for antiparallel organisation of microtubules in this system (Read). I further studied the role of MAP4 in dividing cells and showed its requirement for accurate mitotic spindle positioning in human cells (Read). After receiving my PhD in 2011 from the Institute of Cancer Research at the University of London, I joined the laboratory of Melina Schuh at the MRC-LMB in Cambridge (and later at the Max Planck Institute in Göttingen, Germany) where I became interested in the intricate beauty of chromosome segregation in mammalian oocytes. For still poorly understood reasons, chromosome segregation errors are remarkably high in oocytes and lead to aneuploidy, a leading cause of embryo deaths that accounts for nearly 35% of miscarriages. When compatible with life, aneuploidy in embryos often leads to genetic disorders such as Down’s syndrome, which affects about 1 in 1,000 live births worldwide. As a postdoc, I found an unexpected function of the actin cytoskeleton in accurate chromosome segregation and prevention of aneuploidy in mammalian eggs (Read). I set up my independent research laboratory in the School of Biochemistry at the beginning of 2018 to build on this recent breakthrough in our understanding of the safety mechanisms that operate in mammalian meiosis. In particular, work in my lab is focused on understanding precisely how the actin cytoskeleton promotes accurate egg development and healthy embryogenesis in mammals. To achieve this, we are applying super-resolution live imaging technologies and cutting-edge biochemical assays to study female meiosis in various model systems ranging from mouse to human oocytes. In the future, knowledge obtained from this research can be exploited to improve the outcomes of assisted human reproduction and fertility treatments.

School of Biochemistry profile