Alex Bird

Alex Bird

Research Group Leader, Mechanistic Cell Biology

The function and regulation of microtubule networks

Research Interests

We investigate the function and regulation of microtubule networks in mammalian cells. Microtubules play important roles in a variety of cellular processes, including cell division, cell migration, and neuronal morphogenesis. The microtubule polymer is highly dynamic within cells, and a large number of microtubule-associated proteins interact with microtubules and modulate their dynamics, nucleation, and stability, as well as their interactions with other proteins and organelles. The precise regulation of microtubule dynamics and interactions differs over cell development, the cell cycle, and intracellular space, and is essential to the cellular processes in which microtubules function. Misregulation of these properties can lead to disease progression, and it is thus important to understand how changes in microtubule dynamics facilitate function, and how these changes are regulated. One focus of the lab is to uncover the mechanisms by which the dynamic instability of microtubules during mitosis is controlled to ensure both accurate alignment and segregation of chromosomes, and how specific defects in these mechanisms may lead to the chromosomal instability common to cancers.


We always welcome applications from qualified and highly motivated individuals (MSc and postdoc level). Please contact us via email to discuss details. Applicants for PhD positions will have to apply through the IMPRS-CMB program, but we are happy to discuss opportunities and projects any time.

Selected Publications

Rondelet A, Lin YC, Singh D, Porfetye AT, Thakur HC, Hecker A, Brinkert P, Schmidt N, Bendre S, Müller F, Mazul L, Widlund PO, Bange T, Hiller M, Vetter IR, Bird AW. (2020). Clathrin's adaptor interaction sites are repurposed to stabilize microtubules during mitosis. J Cell Biol

Bendre S , Hall C, Rondelet A, Wöstehoff N., Lin Y-C, Brouhard GJ, and Bird AW (2016). GTSE1 tunes microtubule dynamics for chromosome alignment and segregation through MCAK inhibition. J Cell Biol 215(5):631-647.
doi: 10.1083/jcb.201606081

Bird AW, Erler A, Fu J, Hériché JK, Maresca M, Zhang Y, Hyman AA, Stewart AF (2011). High-efficiency counterselection recombineering for site-directed mutagenesis in bacterial artificial chromosomes. Nat Methods 9(1):103-9.
doi: 10.1038/nmeth.1803.

Bird AW, Hyman AA (2008). Building a spindle of the correct length in human cells requires the interaction between TPX2 and Aurora A. J Cell Biol 182(2):289-300.
doi: 10.1083/jcb.200802005.

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