Tim J. Yen, PhD
Office Phone: 215-728-2590
Lab Phone: 215-728-4311
My research in fundamental mechanisms of cell division is directly relevant to understanding the biology of cancer as well as its treatment. My focus over this time was on characterizing the kinetochore; a macromolecular structure assembled onto centromeric chromatin that specifies accurate chromosome segregation. We study the molecular functions of various proteins that reside at kinetochores as it pertains to chromosome segregation and spindle checkpoint signaling. Defects in this process leads to aneuploidy and is thus of fundamental importance to problems such as birth defects, cancer and other diseases.
We are also interested in developing new ways to enhance the efficacy of existing chemotherapies to improve treatment outcomes of cancers. In particular, we are focused on recalcitrant cancers such as pancreatic, ovarian, brain and melanomas because the treatment outcomes are poor. Efforts to understand how these cancers survive toxic chemo and radiation therapies will reveal new targets for drug development. We therefore use genome-wide approches such as RNAi and CRISPR cas9 to perform synthetic lethal screens to identify pathways that facilitate survival of cells to drugs.