Sarah C. Hughes


Sarah C. Hughes

Ph.D., University of Toronto

Adjunct Associate Professor
Office: Department of Medical Genetics
Location: 8-42A Medical Sciences Building
Laboratory: 8-42 Medical Sciences Buidling
Telephone: 780-492-8984
Fax: 780-492-1998

Research description

We are interested in the regulation of polarity, proliferation and differentiation and how dysregulation of these processes can lead to cancer and developmental disorders.

Research Areas

Epithelial cell polarity and adhesion, neural stem cells, Regulation of proliferation and differentiation, tumour suppressor proteins, cancer, post-transcriptional regulation, Neurofibromatosis Type 2, Schwannomatosis, atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumours, autism spectrum disorder.

Research Interests

We study the molecular mechanisms that link polarity, proliferation and differentiation in epithelial cells and neural stem cells. We are also interested in how dysregulation of these processed can lead to tumorigenesis. Specifically, we use Drosophila melanogaster (the fruit fly) as a genetic model to study Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2) and Schwannomatosis, which are inherited cancers of the brain and nervous system. The molecular mechanisms underlying these diseases are not understood. To address this question, we are using multiple approaches including molecular biology, advanced microscopy, proteomics and genetic analyses using animal and cell culture models to investigate the mechanisms of regulation underlying these disorders via identification and characterization of interacting proteins and cell signaling pathways.

Selected Publications

A chromatin remodelling SWI/SNF subunit, Snr1, regulates neural stem cell determination and differentiation. Keegan SE, Haskins J, Simmonds AJ, Hughes SC. Development. 2023 Jul 1;150(13):dev201484. doi: 10.1242/dev.201484. Epub 2023 Jun 30.

Recruitment of Peroxin 14 to lipid droplets affects lipid storage in Drosophila. Kazuki Ueda, Matthew N. Anderson-Baron, Julie Haskins, Sarah C. Hughes, Andrew J. Simmonds. J Cell Sci. 2022 Apr 1;135(7):jcs259092. doi: 10.1242/jcs.259092. Epub 2022 Apr 14

Sophie E Keegan, Sarah C Hughes.   2020. Role of Nuclear-Cytoplasmic Protein Localization During Drosophila Neuroblast Development. Genome Vol. 64 • No. 2 • pp. 75 – 85

Sarah C Hughes, Andrew J Simmonds. Drosophila mRNA Localization During Later Development: Past, Present, and Future.  Front Genet. 2019 Mar 7;10:135. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2019.00135. eCollection 2019.PMID: 30899273

Namal Abeysundara, Andrew J. Simmonds, and Sarah C. Hughes. 2017. Moesin is involved in polarity maintenance and cortical remodelling during asymmetric cell division. Mol. Biol. Cell mbc.E17-05-0294; First Published on December 27, 2017;doi:10.1091/mbc.E17-05-0294

Devon R Germain, Lei Li, Matthew R Hildebrandt, Andrew J. Simmonds, Sarah C. Hughes, and Roseline Godbout. (2015). Loss of the Drosophila melanogaster RNA binding protein Ddx1 leads to reduced size and aberrant gametogenesis. Developmental Biology 407(2): 232-45.

Carolina Ortiz Sandoval, Sarah Hughes, Joel Dacks, Thomas Simmen. (2014).Interaction with the effector Dynamin-Related Protein 1 (Drp1) is an ancient function of Rab32 subfamily proteins. Cellular Logistics. 4(4): e986399-7.

Abeysundara N, Leung AC, Primrose DA, Hughes SC. Regulation of cell proliferation and adhesion by means of a novel region of drosophila merlin interacting with Sip1. Dev Dyn. 2014 Dec;243(12):1554-70. Epub 2014 Oct 1.

Li X, Zhuo R, Tiong S, Di Cara F, King-Jones K, Hughes SC, Campbell SD, Wevrick R. The Smc5/Smc6/MAGE complex confers resistance to caffeine and genotoxic stress in Drosophila melanogaster. PLoS One. 2013;(8)3:e59866. Epub 2013 Mar 28.

Yang Yang, David A. Primrose, Albert C. Leung, Ross B. Fitzsimmons, Matt C. McDermand, Alison Missellbrook, Julie Haskins, AnneLiese S. Smylie and Sarah C. Hughes. 2012. The PP1 phosphatase Flapwing regulates the activity of Merlin and Moesin in Drosophila. Developmental Biology. V361 pgs.412-426.

Fred D. Mast*, Jing Li*, Maninder K. Virk, Sarah C. Hughes, Andrew J. Simmonds and Richard A. Rachubinski. 2011. Characterization of the functional requirement for Drosophila Pex1 during embryonic development. Disease Models and Mechanisms. V4 pgs. 659-672.

Hughes, S.C.*, Formstecher, E., and R.G. Fehon. 2010. Sip1, the Drosophila orthologue of EBP50/NHERF1, interacts with the Sterile 20 family kinase Slik to regulate Moesin activity. Journal of Cell Science 123, 1099-1107. * denotes corresponding author

Edan Foley, Harriet Harris, Sarah C. Hughes, and Andrew J. Simmonds. 2009. I CanFly - Can you? - The 10th Canadian Drosophila Research Conference, Jasper/Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Fly 3:4, 1-2

Deng, H., Hughes S.C., Bell J.B. and Simmonds A.J. (2009). Vestigial, Scalloped and Dmef2 form alternative transcriptional complexes during muscle differentiation in Drosophila melanogaster. Molecular Biology of the Cell, V20:256-269.

Laboratory Members

Julie Haskins
Kyle Kohls-Wiebe

Graduate Student
Sophie Keegan
Nguyen Cai