Dr Megan Chircop

Medicine, Children's Medical Research Institute

Children's Medical Research Institute
The University of Sydney
NSW 2006 Australia

T: +61 2 9687 2800
F: +61 2 9687 2120

Biographical details

I am a molecular and cellular biologist with research interests focusing on the molecular mechanisms of mitosis and cancer. I obtained my BSc Honours degree in molecular biology/biochemistry at Macquarie University in 1999. I have a PhD in cancer research at the University of Sydney in 2002. My first post-doc position was at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR) in Brisbane where I worked for 3 years. I then moved to the Children's Medical Research Institute (CMRI) in Sydney in 2006 as an NH&MRC Peter Doherty Fellow. Since 2008, I am an NHMRC CDA Fellow and currently head the CellCycle Unit at the CMRI consisting of 10 members. I am a leading scientist in my discipline and show scientific leadership.

Research interests

The major focus of my laboratory is to precisely define the mechanisms regulating mitotic cell division. Understanding the molecular regulation of mitosis will allow us to gain insight into cancer biology mechanisms. Despite the identification of many mitotic proteins, the molecular mechanisms driving mitotic progression and how these proteins cooperatively function to complete mitosis in mammalian cells is not fully understood. Cell division errors increase the oncogenic potential of a cell. Thus understanding this basic biological process underpins our understanding of cancer biology mechanisms, which can lead to the identification of druggable targets to treat this disease. My discoveries to date in this field have enabled me to develop a well respected national and international reputation in this field. This provides me with a strong foundation that I aim to continue developing in the future. My research will continue to expand in two areas: 1) Basic research: molecular mechanisms of mitosis 2) Translational biology: drug discovery of new anti-mitotic compounds for cancer treatment.

Teaching areas

After only 8 post-doc years, I have contributed substantially to teaching, training and mentoring young scientists to an unusually high level. In the past 7 years at the CMRI my team has consistent of 10-12 members and currently involves 3RAs , 4PhDs, 3postdocs whereby I am directly involved in training and mentoring them all. Overall, I have supervised 11 students (8 PhD and 3 Honours). All three honours students completed with first class, 1 has completed a PhD (2011), another has established a career in the Governor General's Office of Australia and the third is about to commence a PhD in my lab (2013). All of my PhD students have received prestigious awards including external scholarships such as the Australian Postgraduate Award (APA). Four PhD students have completed their PhDs and three of these have postdoc positions in prestigious international labs including Beatson's Institute (Scotland), Max Plank Gesellschaft Institute (Germany) and Queens University Belfast (Ireland) and the other is an Application Specialist/Territory Manager at Promega. I anticipate that my postgraduate supervisory commitment will continue at 3-4 students per year. Since 2009, I have been an active member of the CMRI PhD review committee that assesses the annual progress of research students within CMRI. I have also mentored 5 post-docs in the past 5 years to aid in advancing their scientific careers. One of these post-docs (Dr Rose Boutros) was an NHMRC Peter Doherty Fellow (2008-2011) and has received NHMRC project, Cure Cancer Australia and Ramaciotti grant funding for her own projects.

Current national competitive grants*


The role of clathrin in the spindle assembly checkpoint and as an anti-cancer target
Chircop M, Robinson P, McCluskey A, Sakoff J
NHMRC Project Grants ($629,685 over 3 years)

* Grants administered through the University of Sydney


Cancer; Cell biology; Biochemistry; Biological sciences; Molecular biology


2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009


  • Chircop, M., Speidel, D. (2014), Cellular stress responses in cancer and cancer therapy. Frontiers in Oncology. 4, 304. [Abstract]


  • McCluskey, A., Daniel, J., Hadzic, G., Chau, N., Clayton, E., Mariana, A., Whiting, A., Gorgani, N., Lloyd, J., Quan, A., Moshkanbaryans, L., Krishnan, S., Perera, S., Chircop, M., von Kleist, L., McGeachie, A., Howes, M., Parton, R., Campbell, M., Sakoff, J., Wang, X., Sun, J., Robertson, M., Deane, F., Nguyen, T., Meunier, F., Cousin, M., Robinson, P. (2013), Building a better dynasore: the dyngo compounds potently inhibit dynamin and endocytosis. Traffic. 14(12), 1272-1289. [Abstract]
  • McGeachie, A., Odell, L., Quan, A., Daniel, J., Chau, N., Hill, T., Gorgani, N., Keating, D., Cousin, M., van Dam, E., Mariana, A., Whiting, A., Perera, S., Novelle, A., Young, K., Deane, F., Gilbert, J., Sakoff, J., Chircop, M., McCluskey, A., Robinson, P. (2013), Pyrimidyn Compounds: Dual-Action Small Molecule Pyrimidine-Based Dynamin Inhibitors. ACS Chemical Biology. 8(7), 1507-1518. [Abstract]
  • Gordon, C., Venn-Brown, B., Robertson, M., Young, K., Chau, N., Mariana, A., Whiting, A., Chircop, M., Robinson, P., McCluskey, A. (2013), Development of second-generation indole-based dynamin GTPase inhibitors. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. 56(1), 46-59. [Abstract]
  • Ma, M., Robinson, P., Chircop, M. (2013), Sorting nexin 9 recruits clathrin heavy chain to the mitotic spindle for chromosome alignment and segregation. PloS One. 8(7), e68387. [Abstract]
  • Boutros, R., Mondesert, O., Lorenzo, C., Astuti, P., McArthur, G., Chircop, M., Ducommun, B., Gabrielli, B. (2013), CDC25B Overexpression Stabilises Centrin 2 and Promotes the Formation of Excess Centriolar Foci. PloS One. 8(7), e67822. [Abstract]
  • Smith, C., Haucke, V., McCluskey, A., Robinson, P., Chircop, M. (2013), Inhibition of clathrin by pitstop 2 activates the spindle assembly checkpoint and induces cell death in dividing HeLa cancer cells. Molecular Cancer. 12, 4. [Abstract]


  • Ma, M., Chircop, M. (2012), SNX9, SNX18 and SNX33 are required for progression through and completion of mitosis. Journal of Cell Science. 125(Pt 18), 4372-4382. [Abstract]
  • Smith, C., Chircop, M. (2012), Clathrin-mediated endocytic proteins are involved in regulating mitotic progression and completion. Traffic. 13(12), 1628-1641. [Abstract]
  • Chircop, M. (2012), Protein Phosphatases Drive Mitotic Exit. In: Protein Kinases. (pp.215-228).Croatia: InTech.


  • Chircop, M., Sarcevic, B., Larsen, M., Malladi, C., Chau, N., Zavortink, M., Smith, C., Quan, A., Anggono, V., Hainsa, P., Graham, M., Robinson, P. (2011), Phosphorylation of dynamin II at serine-764 is associated with cytokinesis. Biochimica et biophysica acta. 1813(10), 1689-99. [Abstract]
  • Chircop, M., Perera, S., Mariana, A., Lau, H., Ma, M., Gilbert, J., Jones, N., Gordon, C., Young, K., Morokoff, A., Sakoff, J., O'Brien, T., McCluskey, A., Robinson, P. (2011), Inhibition of dynamin by dynole 34-2 induces cell death following cytokinesis failure in cancer cells. Molecular cancer therapeutics. 10(9), 1553-62. [Abstract]
  • von Kleist, L., Stahlschmidt, W., Bulut, H., Gromova, K., Puchkov, D., Robertson, M., MacGregor, K., Tomilin, N., Tomlin, N., Pechstein, A., Chau, N., Chircop, M., Sakoff, J., von Kries, J., Saenger, W., Kräusslich, H., Shupliakov, O., Robinson, P., McCluskey, A., Haucke, V. (2011), Role of the clathrin terminal domain in regulating coated pit dynamics revealed by small molecule inhibition. Cell. 146(3), 471-484. [Abstract]
  • Joshi, S., Braithwaite, A., Robinson, P., Chircop, M. (2011), Dynamin inhibitors induce caspase-mediated apoptosis following cytokinesis failure in human cancer cells and this is blocked by Bcl-2 overexpression. Molecular Cancer. 10, 78. [Abstract]


  • Chircop, M., Malladi, C., Lian, A., Page, S., Zavortink, M., Gordon, C., McCluskey, A., Robinson, P. (2010), Calcineurin activity is required for the completion of cytokinesis. Cellular and molecular life sciences : CMLS. 67, 3725-37. [Abstract]
  • Joshi, S., Perera, S., Gilbert, J., Smith, C., Mariana, A., Gordon, C., Sakoff, J., McCluskey, A., Robinson, P., Braithwaite, A., Chircop Nee Fabbro, M. (2010), The Dynamin Inhibitors MiTMAB and OcTMAB Induce Cytokinesis Failure and Inhibit Cell Proliferation in Human Cancer Cells. Molecular cancer therapeutics. 9(7), 1995-2006. [Abstract]


  • Hill, T., Gordon, C., McGeachie, A., Venn-Brown, B., Odell, L., Chau, N., Quan, A., Mariana, A., Sakoff, J., Chircop, M., Robinson, P., McCluskey, A. (2009), Inhibition of dynamin mediated endocytosis by the dynoles--synthesis and functional activity of a family of indoles. Journal of medicinal chemistry. 52(12), 3762-73. [Abstract]
  • Chircop, M., Oakes, V., Graham, M., Ma, M., Smith, C., Robinson, P., Khanna, K. (2009), The actin-binding and bundling protein, EPLIN, is required for cytokinesis. Cell Cycle. 8(5), 757-764. [Abstract]