What we do

Our group focuses on the temporal and spatial control of the cell division machinery. We measure the physical properties and motions of the mitotic spindle and relate these properties to its function in living cells in order to discover the molecular origins of chromosome inheritance and loss. The initial events in forming the mitotic spindle, the nanoscale machine that ensures the fidelity of chromosome segregation is one major theme. We also study how the newly formed spindle is positioned in asymmetric cells. These events, which occur between centrosome duplication and metaphase are represented as a single arrow when mitosis is described in textbooks and primary research studies. Our goal is to replace this arrow with a detailed physical characterization of spindle assembly and positioning, providing the molecular basis of spindle stability and the relationship between emergent properties of the spindle to chromosome segregation.  We integrate biophysics and computational biology with cell biology methods using budding yeast, an outstanding model for the cell cycle, mitosis and asymmetric cell division.