Kenji Sugioka

Assistant Professor

Our research focuses on the developmental control of cell division during animal morphogenesis. We use live-imaging, genetics, tissue engineering, and image analysis to discover fundamental rules that shape embryos.

 Our life begins with a single-cell, fertilized egg, that divides to form 37.2 trillion cells consisting of our body. In the course of cell proliferation, timing and angle of cell division need to be orchestrated to shape tissues and organs. Despite its significance in development and disease, it is unclear how environmental signals and cell-cell communications precisely pattern cell division.

 Sugioka lab studies the developmental patterning of cell division using simple multicellular model C. elegans embryos. C. elegans has only 959 somatic cells yet is complex enough to develop different tissues and organs. Remarkably, they have invariant cell division dynamics among individuals, thereby allowing quantitative and single-cell level analysis of cell division in multicellular system. We will employ live-imaging, molecular biology, genetics, and tissue engineering to uncover fundamental rules underlying the developmental control of cell division. More specifically, we are interested in the following topics:

  • Causal relationships between extrinsic and intrinsic cues and cell division patterns
  • Molecular basis underlying the symmetry-breaking of cell division
  • Cell cycle coordination that orchestrates organogenesis
Wnt regulates spindle asymmetry to generate asymmetric nuclear β-catenin in C. elegans
Cell 146(6): 942-54
Sugioka, K., Mizumoto, K., Sawa, H
The C. elegans kinesin-13/MCAK family member KLP-7 acts through kinetochores to limit spindle pole number during oocyte meiotic spindle assembly
Journal of Cell Biology 210(6): 917-932
Connolly, AA., Sugioka, K., Chuang, CH., Lowry, J., Bowerman, B
Centriolar SAS-7 acts upstream of SPD-2 to regulate centriole assembly and pericentriolar material formation
eLife Jan 16;6. doi: 10.7554/eLife.203
Sugioka, K., Hamill, DR., Lowry, J., McNeely, ME., Enrick, M., Murali, B., Parsons, LW., Priess, JR., Bowerman, B
Combinatorial contact cues specify cell division orientation by directing cortical myosin flows
Developmental Cell in press
Sugioka, K., Bowerman, B
Tumor suppressor APC is an attenuator of spindle-pulling forces during C. elegans asymmetric cell division
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 115(5): E954-E963
Sugioka, K., Fielmich, LE., Mizumoto, K., Bowerman, B., van den Huevel, S., Kimura, A., Sawa, H.