Sadie Wignall Assistant Professor

Research Summary: 

It is estimated that 10-25% of human embryos are chromosomally abnormal, resulting in a high incidence of miscarriages and birth defects. Most of these abnormalities are the result of chromosome segregation defects in the female reproductive cells (oocytes), yet surprisingly little is known about the biological mechanisms that underlie the vulnerability of oocytes to segregation errors.  The Wignall lab is focused on investigating this important problem, by combining high-resolution microscopy with genetic, genomic, and biochemical approaches in the nematode C. elegans.  Current work in the lab is focused on two major areas:  1) investigating the molecular mechanisms of spindle assembly in oocytes, and 2) exploring mechanisms of chromosome congression and segregation.

Selected Publications:

Wolff, I.D., Tran, M.V., Mullen, T.J., Villeneuve, A.M., and Wignall, S.M. (2016). “Assembly of C. elegans acentrosomal spindles occurs without evident MTOCs and requires microtubule sorting by KLP-18/kinesin-12 and MESP-1.” Molecular Biology of the Cell. 27(20): 3122-3131.

Mendoza, A.D., Woodruff, T.K., Wignall, S.M., and O’Halloran, T.V. (2016). “Zinc availability during germline development impacts embryo viability in Caenorhabditis elegans.” Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part C: Toxicology and Pharmacology. Online. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.cbpc.2016.09.007

Muscat, C.C., Torre-Santiago, K.M., Tran, M.V., Powers, J.A., and  Wignall, S.M. (2015). “Kinetochore-independent chromosome segregation driven by lateral microtubule bundles.” eLife.10.7554/eLife.06462.

Coordinating cohesion, co-orientation, and congression during meiosis: lessons from holocentric chromosomes. Schvarzstein M, Wignall SM, and Villeneuve AM. Genes & Development. 2010 February 1;24(3):219-228.

Lateral microtubule bundles promote chromosome alignment during acentrosomal oocyte meiosisWignall SM and Villeneuve AM. Nature Cell Biology. 2009 July;11(7):839-844.

Selected Honors:

March of Dimes Basil O'Connor Starter Scholar Award

Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation Runyon-Rachleff Innovation Award

V Foundation for Cancer Research "V Scholar" Award

Chicago Biomedical Consortium Junior Investigator Recruitment Award

Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship