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).
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 in 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. 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. Aga’s group found that polyubiquitylation of replicative helicase plays a crucial role in replication machinery disassembly at the termination of eukaryotic DNA replication forks. The termination stage of DNA replication is hugely understudied and the aim of Aga’s research is therefore to fill in this gap and dissect the details of the mechanism of this process.
In 2015 Aga was awarded Lister Institute Research Award and BACR/AstraZeneca Young Investigator award.