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Khodjakov, Alexey Whitman Center Scientist, Whitman Center

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We use laser microsurgery and sophisticated imaging techniques (light- and electron microscopy) to study molecular mechanisms responsible for faithful segregation of chromosomes during mitosis (cell division). The mitotic apparatus, a.k.a. the spindle, is a dynamic, self-assembling molecular machine and the goal of mitotic spindle assembly is to connect each chromosome to the centrosomes that form two opposite poles of the spindle via bundles of special polymer fibers (microtubules). Attachment of microtubules to the chromosomes is mediated by a macromolecular assembly on the chromosome body termed the kinetochore. When a human cell enters mitosis the 46 chromosomes are randomly scattered in space. In just a few minutes microtubules growing from the spindle poles manage to find each and every kinetochore and attach it to the spindle.

selected publications