Cancer is a disease of excessive cell division, with cancer cells proliferating uncontrollably, leading to the disruption of normal tissue function and ultimately death. The focus of Dr Burgess' research and his laboratory is to understand exactly how cells divide, how this process is disrupted in cancer cells, and then use this information to target and specifically kill cancer cells. We hope to use this knowledge to provide new avenues for targeted treatment, and to help improve current treatments for patients.
Recently, we demonstrated that correct mitotic progression was dependent on maintaining a tightly regulated balance between the activities of the phosphatase PP2A, and kinase CDK1. Further, we identified the novel mitotic kinase Greatwall as the master regulator of this balance. These results dramatically altered our understanding of mitosis and opened up several new and exciting research pathways.
The primary aim of the lab is to further explore and characterise these pathways, to identify new chemotherapeutic targets and improve the sensitivity and selectivity of existing cancer drugs. The group utilises cutting edge basic cell biology research, live cell imaging, and Mass Spectrometry, combined with the world-class translational cancer research facilities at the Garvan and The Kinghorn Cancer Centre.