Sadie Wignall Associate 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:

Cavin-Meza, G., Mullen, T.J., Czajkowski, E., Wolff, I.D., Divekar, N.S., Finkle, J.D., and Wignall, S.M. (2022). “ZYG-9ch-TOG promotes the stability of acentrosomal poles via regulation of spindle microtubules in C. elegans oocyte meiosis.” PLoS Genetics, 18(11): e1010489.

Horton, H.H., Divekar, N.S., & Wignall, S.M. (2022). “Newfound features of meiotic chromosome organization that promote efficient congression and segregation in Caenorhabditis elegans oocytes.” Molecular Biology of the Cell. mbc.E22-07-0297.

Wolff ID, Hollis JA, and Wignall, S.M. "Acentrosomal spindle assembly and maintenance in Caenorhabditis elegans oocytes requires a kinesin-12 nonmotor microtubule interaction domain." Molecular Biology of the Cell. 2022 July 1;33(8):ar71.

Cavin-Meza G, Kwan MM, and Wignall, S.M. "Multiple motors cooperate to establish and maintain acentrosomal spindle bipolarity in C. elegans oocyte meiosis." eLife. 2022 February 11;11:e72872.

Divekar, N.S., Davis-Roca, A.C., Zhang, L., Dernburg, A.F., and Wignall, S.M. (2021). “A degron-based strategy reveals new insights into Aurora B function in C. elegans.” PLoS Genetics. 17(5):e1009567.

Hollis, J.A., Glover, M.L., Schlientz, A., Bowerman, B., Wignall, S.M., and Libuda, D.E. (2020). “Excess crossovers impede faithful meiotic chromosome segregation in C. elegans.PLoS Genetics, 16(9): e1009001.

Heath, C.M. and Wignall, S.M. (2019). “Chromokinesin Kif4 promotes proper anaphase during mouse oocyte meiosis.”  Molecular Biology of the Cell, 30(14): 1691-1704.

Davis-Roca, A.C., Divekar, N.S., Ng, R.K., and Wignall, S.M. (2018). “Dynamic SUMO remodeling drives a series of critical events during the meiotic divisions in C. elegans.”  PLoS Genetics, 14(9): e1007626.

Mullen, T.J. and Wignall, S.M. (2017). “Interplay between microtubule bundling and sorting factors ensures acentriolar spindle stability during C. elegans oocyte meiosis.” PLoS Genetics. 13(9): e1006986

Davis-Roca, A.C., Muscat, C.M., and Wignall, S.M. (2017). “Caenorhabditis elegans oocytes detect meiotic errors in the absence of canonical end-on kinetochore attachments.” Journal of Cell Biology, 216(5): 1243-1253.

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.

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.


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