Dr Susana Godinho

MSc, PhD
Senior Lecturer
Group Leader
Research Focus

Our research group focuses on understanding how centrosome amplification impacts tumour progression and how we can target cells with amplified centrosomes to develop new cancer therapies.

Key Publications

Oxidative Stress in Cells with Extra Centrosomes Drives Non-Cell-Autonomous Invasion. Developmental Cell (2018) 47(4): 409-424. PMID: 30458137

Loss of E-cadherin provides tolerance to centrosome amplification in epithelial cancer cells. Journal of Cell Biology (2018) 217(1):195-209. PMID: 29133484

Studying centrosome function using three-dimensional cell cultures. Methods in Cell Biology (2015) 129:37-50. PMID: 26175432

Oncogene-like induction of cellular invasion from centrosome amplification (2014). Nature (2014) 510(7503):167-71. PMID: 24739973

Major Funding
  • 2018-2022- Cancer Research UK, Non-Clinical Training Award, £198,070
  • 2016-2019- The Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine, Lister Institute Research Fellowship Prize - 2016, £199,974
  • 2015-2018- Medical Research Council, Characterisation of the signalling pathways involved in cell invasion downstream of extra centrosomes, £466,417
Other Activities
  • Scientific committee member of the British Society of Cell Biology
  • Member of the American Association for Cancer Research
  • Associate faculty member of Faculty of 1000
  • Member of the America Society for Cell Biology
Research

Cancer cells often contain extra centrosomes. The centrosome is the main microtubule-organizing centre in animal cells, an essential component of the cytoskeleton. In normal cells, centrosome number is tightly regulated, however, cancer cells tend to have too many centrosomes, a characteristic associated with tumour aggressiveness. Yet little is known about the role of centrosome amplification in tumour progression.

We currently focus on breast and pancreatic cancers to investigate how centrosome amplification impacts tumorigenesis in a variety of model systems, including 2-D and 3-D cell culture, and mouse models. We also collaborate with clinical scientists to use primary human tissue samples from patients in order to validate our findings.

Current projects:

  • How cancer cells ‘adapt’ to centrosome amplification

In order to avoid cell death, cancer cells need to cluster extra centrosomes into two poles during mitosis, enabling quasi-normal bipolar cell division. This observation has generated an enormous interest as it provides the basis for using the presence of extra centrosomes as a target for cancer therapies. We are currently developing novel strategies to assess how different cell types cope with extra centrosomes, allowing them to survive. We expect to use this knowledge to develop novel therapeutic strategies that specifically target cancer cells.

  • Impact of centrosome amplification in cancer cell physiology

Unlike normal cells that are very intolerant to centrosome amplification, cancer cells frequently maintain extra centrosomes. This observation suggests that centrosome amplification is advantageous for the tumour. To address this question we use a variety of model systems to investigate how extra centrosomes affect cell physiology. Since our work suggests that centrosome amplification promotes invasive behaviour, we are currently investigating signalling pathways that are important in invasion/metastasis.

  • Developing mouse models to study the impact of centrosome amplification in tumour progression in vivo

We are collaborating with experts in mouse genetics to develop new model systems to investigate the impact of extra centrosomes in tumour progression in vivo. We are particularly interested in understanding how cells with extra centrosomes communicate and influence the surrounding cells.

Other Activities
  • Scientific committee member of the British Society of Cell Biology
  • Member of the American Association for Cancer Research
  • Associate faculty member of Faculty of 1000
  • Member of the America Society for Cell Biology
Major Funding
  • 2018-2022- Cancer Research UK, Non-Clinical Training Award, 2018, £198,070
  • 2016-2019- The Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine, Lister Institute Research Fellowship Prize - 2016, £199,974
  • 2015-2018- Medical Research Council, Characterisation of the signalling pathways involved in cell invasion downstream of extra centrosomes, £466,417
Recent Publications

Early Career Advisory Board. J Cell Biol (2019) 218(2) 2813-2814
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31439635

Early Career Advisory Board: Q&A on career and publishing. Marat A J Cell Biol (2019) 218(2) 2815-2818
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31439634

The principles of spindle bipolarity. Godinho SA Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol (2019) 20(2) 325
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31019273

Oxidative Stress in Cells with Extra Centrosomes Drives Non-Cell-Autonomous Invasion Arnandis T, Monteiro P, Adams SD et al. Developmental Cell (2018) 47(7) 409-424.e9

Structural Centrosomal Abnormalities Push Cells toward Invasion Monteiro P, Godinho SA Developmental Cell (2018) 45(7) 286-288

Over-elongation of centrioles in cancer promotes centriole amplification and chromosome missegregation. Marteil G, Guerrero A, Vieira AF et al. Nat Commun (2018) 9(2) 1258
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29593297

Loss of E-cadherin provides tolerance to centrosome amplification in epithelial cancer cells. Rhys AD, Monteiro P, Smith C et al. J Cell Biol (2017) 217(1) 195-209
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29133484

Dividing with Extra Centrosomes: A Double Edged Sword for Cancer Cells. Rhys AD, Godinho SA Adv Exp Med Biol 1002(1) 47-67
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28600782

Centrosomes: PIDDosome Joins the Counting Game. Godinho S Curr Biol (2017) 27(2) R237-R239
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28324744

DDR1 localisation to adherens junctions prevents efficient clustering of supernumerary centrosomes. Rhys AD, Vaghela M, Monteiro P et al. MOLECULAR BIOLOGY OF THE CELL (2016) 27(11)
http://gateway.webofknowledge.com/gateway/Gateway.cgi?GWVersion=2&SrcApp=PARTNER_APP&SrcAuth=LinksAMR&KeyUT=WOS:000396047100086&DestLinkType=FullRecord&DestApp=ALL_WOS&UsrCustomerID=612ae0d773dcbdba3046f6df545e9f6a

For additional publications, please click here
Team

Postdoctoral Researchers in this group
Dr Pedro MonteiroDr Judith Simon

PhD Students
Ms Sophie Adams, Ms Judit Csere, Mr Bongwhan Yeon

Biography
  • 1999: MSc in Biology, specialisation in Microbiology and Genetics, University of Lisbon (Portugal)
  • 2006: PhD in Cellular Biology, Gulbenkian Institute of Science (Portugal) and Cambridge University (UK). Investigating the role of Polo kinase during mitosis.
  • 2006: Postdoctoral Fellow, Dana-Farber Cancer institute and Harvard Medical School (USA). Studying how cancer cells cluster extra centrosomes during mitosis.
  • 2010: Harvard-Portugal Programme Fellow, Dana-Farber Cancer institute and Harvard Medical School (USA). Investigating the role of centrosome amplification in cancer cell invasion using 3-D cell culture models.
  • 2013: Established Lab at Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London (UK).
Upcoming Events
  1. Thursday Seminar Series – Dr Benjamin Werner

    November 21 @ 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
  2. Miltenyi Biotec Exhibition – Friday 22nd November 2019

    November 22 @ 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
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