The College of Life Sciences is delighted to announce the winner of the 2014 Tim Hunt Prize for Cell Biology: Raman Das (Storey Lab) has won this year’s prize for his contribution to the field of Neurobiology. Using advanced imaging Raman has discovered a fundamentally new and unexpected form of cell sub-division, Apical abscission, which impacts cell differentiation.
Apical abscission occurs when newborn neurons detach from the ventricular layer of the neural tube. Raman’s real time imaging of this process has revealed that neuronal detachment involves local abscission of the apical compartment of the cell. Abscission depends on an actin-myosin mediated constriction occurring close to the apical end of the affected cell. This also dismantles the primary cilium, known to transduce proliferative sonic-hedgehog signalling, and is required for expression of cell-cycle-exit gene p27/Kip1. This detachment of newborn neurons from the ventricular surface is critical for the formation of normal tissue architecture, including the correct positioning of neurons in the developing nervous system and for neural circuitry. The work was published in Science in 2014. Apical Abscission Alters Cell Polarity and Dismantles the Primary Cilium During Neurogenesis, Raman M. Das and Kate G. Storey Science 343, 200 (2014); DOI: 10.1126/science.1247521
Professor Anton Gartner, who chaired the judging panel said, “The committee was unanimous in its decision to award this year’s prize to Raman Das. It was most impressive to see a major discovery made based on careful visual observation. The future of cell biology will increasingly be focused on investigating basic biological processes in the context of an entire organism, and Raman’s work sets the pace for such analysis.”
Professor Kate Storey who nominated Raman for the prize said, “Raman is now beginning to function as an independent researcher. He is currently writing a full proposal for a Henry Dale Wellcome Trust fellowship to establish an independent laboratory, sponsored by the University of Manchester. He thoroughly deserves the Tim Hunt Prize for Cell Biology.”