Aga Gambus graduated with MSci from Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland. She undertook her Master’s project with Prof Wolfhard Bandlow at LMU, Munich, (2000-2002). This work, focusing on sister chromatid cohesion, started her interest of cell cycle processes.
Aga joined Dr Karim Labib’s laboratory at Paterson Institute for Cancer Research, Manchester, for a PhD project (2002-2006). She identified and characterized a large protein complex built around the eukaryotic replicative helicase at DNA replication forks, named the Replisome Progression Complex (RPC). This work shed light onto the way in which the eukaryotic replisome is organized at the replication forks. During a short post-doctoral position, she also showed that one of the components of the RPC: Ctf4, is responsible for connecting the helicase complex to DNA polymerase alpha at the lagging strand of replication forks.
Aga was awarded the CR-UK Pontecorvo prize in 2007 for the best PhD thesis from CR-UK-funded students and received the Michael Dexter Young Investigator award presented by the Director of the Paterson Institute in December 2006.
Following her PhD work, Aga was awarded a Sir Henry Wellcome Fellowship to continue the research towards understanding the architecture of replication machinery. She joined Prof Julian Blow’s laboratory at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Gene Regulation and Expression, Dundee (2007-2011). Using Xenopus laevis egg extract system, she showed that inactive core of replicative helicase (Mcm2-7 complex) is loaded onto origins of replication in the form of double hexamers, in agreement with data from a budding yeast in vitro reconstitution system. These results suggest that an Mcm2-7 double hexamer can initiate a bidirectional pair of forks during S phase, explaining one of the fundamental rules of DNA replication.
Aga joined School of Cancer Sciences in 2011 where she started her independent research. In 2012 she was awarded MRC Career Development Award Fellowship to study the roles of ubiquitin and SUMO during chromosomal DNA replication. She was also awarded Birmingham Fellowship by University of Birmingham.