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Indiana University Bloomington

Department of Biology

Faculty & Research

Faculty Profile

Claire Walczak

Photo of Claire Walczak
Adjunct: Professor, Medical Sciences

IU Affiliations
Biochemistry
Indiana Molecular Biology Institute
Medical Sciences

Contact Information
By telephone: 812-855-5919/5-6785(lab)
MY 262 / MY 260 (lab)
Research Areas
  • Chromatin, Chromosomes, and Genome Integrity
  • Eukaryotic Cell Biology, Cytoskeleton and Signaling
Education

BS in Chemistry (1987)  Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

PhD in Biochemistry (1993) University of Wisconsin-Madison

Post-doctoral fellow (1998) University of California-San Francisco

Awards

Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Scholar Award

American Cancer Society Research Scholar Grant

American Society for Cell Biology, Junior Woman in Cell Biology

Research Description

My lab is interested in the mechanisms by which cells divide their genetic material to the two daughter cells.  We want to understand how cells assemble the mitotic spindle, how the cell aligns and then accurately segregates its chromosomes, and how these processes are regulated during mitosis.  The accurate segregation of chromosomes is critical during development to avoid chromosomal abnormalities such as those associated with Downs Syndrome, and chromosome segregation gone awry is a hallmark of cancer. 

 

Of prime importance during spindle assembly are the regulated dynamics of microtubules that occur during interphase and mitosis and how the dynamics of different populations of microtubules are both temporally and spatially regulated. We use a combination of in vitro assays for the regulation of microtubule dynamics with purified proteins, reconstitution of spindle formation using meiotic extracts from Xenopus eggs, and high-resolution live and fixed cell imaging of microtubule dynamics and organization in living cells in culture. This approach provides a framework to further decipher the molecular mechanism of spindle assembly and chromosome segregation. We ask questions regarding the multiple physiological roles of microtubules in cells, how their dynamics are regulated by cellular proteins, and how the activity of microtubule dynamics regulators are controlled temporally and spatially within cells. Our ultimate goals are to identify new molecular targets that can be used to treat a variety of diseases in which altered microtubule activity is critical and to develop drugs that can target these regulators.

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