Vincent Chan

Investigating ribosome specialization during cellular differentiation

About me

I am fascinated by gene regulation during early development and cell fate decisions. During my BSc (UCL Institute of Child Health), my interest began on DNA methylation in the context of genomic imprinting, which was later expanded upon for half of my MRes (MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences). For the other half of the MRes, my focus turned to mRNA methylation during yeast sporulation (Francis Crick Institute). This PhD project appealed to me as it continues on the theme of cell fate decisions using stem cells, as well as gene regulation through investigating ribosome function.

My research

Ribosomes are the universally conserved cellular machines responsible for protein synthesis. Ribosomes have long been thought of as playing a passive role in translation and were not believed to impose gene regulatory functions. However, mounting evidence in recent years support the existence of specialised ribosomes; subpopulations of ribosomes with variation in composition, and which support selective translation of specific mRNAs. In this project I will to work to characterise ribosome heterogeneity and specialisation during cellular differentiation. I aim to identify specialised ribosomes associated with lineage commitment, and to characterise how selective translation is achieved by specialised ribosomes.