Dr. Alex Bird

Research Interest
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 (MAPs) 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. We study how MAPs regulate microtubule functions to facilitate cell division, cell migration, and neuronal morphogenesis.

Genome Engineering (CRISPR/Cas9 and BAC (Bacterial Artificial Chromosome) recombineering/transgenesis
• Advanced fixed and live-cell fluorescence microscopy
Mammalian cell culture (cancer cell, embryonic stem cells)
Protein Biochemistry

Selected Reading
Bendre S, Rondelet A, Hall C, Woestehoff N, Lin YC, Brouhard GJ, Bird AW. GTSE1 tunes microtubule dynamics for chromosome alignment and segregation through MCAK inhibition. (preprint) bioRxiv 2016, doi: 10.1101/067827.

Scolz M, Widlund PO, Piazza S, Bublik DR, Reber S, Peche LY, Ciani Y, Hubner N, Isokane M, Monte M, Ellenberg J, Hyman AA, Schneider C, and Bird AW. GTSE1 is a Microtubule Plus-end Tracking Protein that Regulates EB1-dependent Cell Migration. PloS One 2012, 7(12)e51259.

Bird AW, Erler A, Fu J Hériché J-K, Maresca M, Zhang Y, Hyman AA and Stewart AF. High efficiency counterselection recombineering for site-directed mutagenesis in bacterial artificial chromosomes. Nat Methods 2012, 9(1), 103-9.

Hubner NC*, Bird AW*, Cox J, Splettstoesser B, Bandilla P, Poser I, Hyman A, Mann M. Quantitative proteomics combined with BAC TransgeneOmics reveals in vivo protein interactions. J Cell Biol 2010, 189(4), 739-54. (*equal contribuiton)

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

Read more ...