Receptor seminar: The Morphodynamics of Metastatic Cancer Cells


November 29, 2019    
10:00 am - 11:00 am


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Prof Chris Bakal Institute of Cancer Research, London, UK
The Morphodynamics of Metastatic Cancer Cells

Host: Johanna Ivaska

Chris Bakal is Professor of Cancer Morphodynamics and Team Leader in the Division of Cancer Biology at the Chester Beatty Laboratories, Institute of Cancer Research (ICR). He performed graduate work in Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto – where he studied the regulation of microtubules in cancer cells, and performed collaborative work with the laboratory of Josef Penninger on the dynamics of immune synapse formation. In 2005, he began postdoctoral work with Norbert Perrimon at Harvard Medical School and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. In 2006, he became an affiliate of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT. While at Harvard, Dr Bakal worked with a number of groups, including those of George Church, Bonnie Berger, and Mike Yaffe to develop different computational technologies to understand the signaling networks that control cell shape determination. After being awarded a Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellowship, Chris established his laboratory at the ICR in 2009. Currently a Cancer Research UK Stand Up to Cancer Programme Foundation Award supports Chris’s laboratory. In 2019, Chris was made a Professor of Cancer Morphodynamics at the University of London.

As a postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Bakal was awarded the Dorsett L. Spurgeon Award as the top postdoctoral fellow or junior faculty member at Harvard Medical School. In 2009, he received an Outstanding Research Award from Nature Biotechnology. While at the ICR, Chris was named one of the top 2 young investigators by the European Association for Cancer Research in 2011. In 2013, he was awarded the Astra Zeneca Frank Rose Prize as the United Kingdom’s top young cancer researcher. In 2014, he was awarded the Merrimack Pharmaceuticals Prize in Systems Biology by the Council of Systems Biology. In 2015, Chris was awarded the Cancer Research UK Future Leaders Prize

Outside of science Chris is a competitive track cyclist, and a former world-ranked downhill ski racer.


Selected recent publications:
Heldt FS, Barr AR, Cooper S, Bakal C, Novák B. A comprehensive model for the proliferation-quiescence decision in response to endogenous DNA damage in human cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 Mar 6;115(10):2532-2537. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1715345115.

Sanchez-Alvarez M, Bakal C. PERK links the clock and protein stress in cancer. Nat Cell Biol. 2018 Jan;20(1):4-5. doi: 10.1038/s41556-017-0019-6.

Sanchez-Alvarez M, Del Pozo MA, Bakal C. AKT-mTOR signaling modulates the dynamics of IRE1 RNAse activity by regulating ER-mitochondria contacts. Sci Rep. 2017 Nov 28;7(1):16497.

Barr AR, Cooper S, Heldt FS, Butera F, Stoy H, Mansfeld J, Novák B, Bakal C. DNA damage during S-phase mediates the proliferation-quiescence decision in the subsequent G1 via p21 expression. Nat Commun. 2017 Mar 20;8:14728. doi: 10.1038/ncomms14728.

Asghar US, Barr AR, Cutts R, Beaney M, Babina I, Sampath D, Giltnane J, Lacap JA, Crocker L, Young A, Pearson A, Herrera-Abreu MT, Bakal C, Turner NC. Single-Cell Dynamics Determines Response to CDK4/6 Inhibition in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer. Clin Cancer Res. 2017 Sep 15;23(18):5561-5572. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-17-0369.

Cooper S, Bakal C. Accelerating Live Single-Cell Signalling Studies. Trends Biotechnol. 2017 May;35(5):422-433. doi: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2017.01.002.

Sailem HZ, Bakal C. Identification of clinically predictive metagenes that encode components of a network coupling cell shape to transcription by image-omics. Genome Res. 2017 Feb;27(2):196-207. doi: 10.1101/gr.202028.115.