Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Heald, Rebecca
Location University of California, Berkeley
Primary Field Cellular and Developmental Biology
 Election Citation
Heald pioneered studies of the complex events underlying cell division, with a focus on the function of the mitotic spindle.
 Research Interests
Rebecca Heald's laboratory is interested in how the microtubule cytoskeleton self-organizes to form the spindle, a dynamic cellular structure that functions to segregate a complete copy of the genome to daughter cells during cell division. They demonstrated that a biochemical gradient emanating from mitotic chromosomes operates to stabilize microtubules in mitosis through the regulation of the nuclear transport machinery. They have characterized the role of a number of downstream cellular factors involved in spindle assembly, chromosome condensation, and chromosome segregation, including molecular motors and other microtubule-associated proteins, chromosome-associated proteins, and non-coding RNA. They have used frog species with different genome and cell sizes to reveal how subcellular structures such as the spindle and the nucleus scale with cell size, and identified cellular mechanisms that monitor cell volume and the cell surface area-to volume ratio. The lab has applied a variety of biochemical, biophysical, imaging, and embryology approaches to reveal underlying principles of spindle assembly and biological size control, as well as the molecular basis of variation that contributes to genomic instability and evolution.

 
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