Anna Helene Bizard
2200 København N.
In the group (Hickson Group) our research is focused on understanding how chromosomal instability impacts on human disease. We study genes in human cells that, when mutated, lead to defective genome maintenance and high rates of cancer, neurodegeneration or infertility.
In recent years we have focused on common fragile sites as a model for understanding how ‘difficult-to-replicate’ regions of the human genome affect propagation of the genome through successive cell divisions. As part of these studies, we identified ultra-fine anaphase bridges (UFBs) which are DNA thread-like structures connecting the separating sister chromatids in the anaphase of mitosis. These UFBs exist in every human cell division but are normally ‘invisible’ due to their lack of staining with DNA dyes. They are coated with specific proteins, including the SNF2 family protein, PICH and the BLM helicase (which when mutated causes Bloom’s syndrome – a cancer predisposition disorder), that allows detection using specific antibodies.
We combine protein biochemistry with molecular/cell biology and high resolution imaging of human cells. Latterly, we have also been developing tools to exploit new developments in microfluidics and single molecule biophysical techniques to reconstitute in vitro defined steps in DNA metabolism.