In Dr. Desai’s lab we are exploring how the machinery that ensures the integrity of cell division contributes to the development of a whole organism. For this, we use the worm C. elegans as a model system because of its amenability to genetic manipulations. During cell division, a specialized set of proteins comes together to make sure that all chromosomes are present and accounted for before the cell splits in two. But recent studies from the lab and elsewhere have hinted that these “checkpoint” proteins may have additional, less interdependent roles. Now, using a battery of techniques in molecular genetics, cell biology, biochemistry and developmental physiology, I will examine mutant worms that do not produce these checkpoint proteins to determine precisely how each affects the well-characterized developmental patterns of the worm model system. Because these checkpoint proteins are targets for anticancer therapeutics, these findings could prove relevant to the design of safer strategies for inhibiting tumor growth.