Binyam Mogessie (University of Bristol) Webinar

Binyam Mogessie (University of Bristol) Webinar

Butler Seminar Series

Event Date/Location

December 2, 2020 - 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
Thomas Laboratory


  • Binyam Mogessie

    Wellcome Trust and Royal Society Sir Henry Dale Fellow, Principal Investigator, School of Biochemistry, University of Bristol
    University of Bristol

    Dr. Binyam Mogessie is a Wellcome Trust Sir Henry Dale principal investigator at the
    University of Bristol. Originally from Ethiopia, Binyam studied Biochemistry and Cell
    Biology as an undergraduate student at Jacobs University Bremen in Germany. He
    then moved to the UK where he studied microtubule cytoskeleton organization and
    dynamics in dividing human cells and differentiating skeletal muscle cells. After
    receiving his PhD in Cell Biology from Institute of Cancer Research, University of
    London, Binyam switched his research focus to the less explored role of the actin
    cytoskeleton in chromosome segregation. His postdoctoral research at the MRC
    Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge and later at the Max Planck Institute for
    Biophysical Chemistry in Germany revealed a new mechanism of actin-mediated
    chromosome segregation in mammalian cells. Binyam’s research program in Bristol
    uses mammalian models to understand how the actin and microtubule cytoskeletons
    interact in space and time to prevent meiosis-derived egg and embryo aneuploidy, a
    leading cause of miscarriages, developmental disorders and infertility. Understanding
    cytoskeletal processes that protect eggs and embryos from aneuploidy may provide
    new opportunities for future therapeutics of pregnancy failure and human infertility,
    and could improve outcomes of assisted human reproduction technologies.


Cytoskeletal ensembles in oocyte meiosis and genome integrity: emerging mechanisms of female infertility

The actin cytoskeleton is a versatile protein polymer that governs cellular processes
including transport, organization and mechanics. We recently found that actin also
protects eggs from chromosomal abnormalities (Mogessie and Schuh, Science, 2017)
that are responsible for nearly 35% of miscarriages and developmental disorders such
as Down syndrome. This was a surprising discovery because chromosomal
organization and dynamics in eukaryotes was thought to rely solely on another
cytoskeletal component, microtubules. It is unknown how functional actin-microtubule
crosstalk is accomplished in eggs to prevent chromosomal abnormalities.
Interestingly, we have now found that actin polymers also exist inside the large nucleus
of healthy mammalian oocytes, before they develop into eggs (Scheffler et al,
bioRxiv,2020). Our data suggest the oocyte nucleus doubles as a homeostatic actin
buffer to prevent assembly of dense cytoplasmic F-actin networks that interfere with
egg development. Importantly, this buffering function may decline with advancing
maternal age, which could provide new molecular clues for generally poor
reproductive outcomes in older women.
In this talk, I will discuss our recent progress, driven by a combination of advanced
microscopy and powerful protein degradation techniques, in understanding how
distinct sub-cellular cytoskeletal ensembles ensure the quality of fertilizable eggs.


Free and open to the university community and the public.


Danelle Davenport, Department of Molecular Biology