The More the Messier: Understanding Complicated Cell Division

The More the Messier: Understanding Complicated Cell Division

Collections: Image Award Winners, Cancer Discovery Science

2014 Award Winner

Kristin Knouse
Amon Laboratory

Koch Institute at MIT, MIT Department of Biology

The mitotic spindle is an array of tracks that partitions chromosomes during cell division. Most normal cells form bipolar spindles, which segregate chromosomes equally into two daughter cells. However, many cancer cells form multipolar spindles, which cause chromosome missegregation and genomic instability.

Like many cancer cells, liver cells also form multipolar spindles during cell division. Shown here is a liver cell with a multipolar spindle (green) pulling the chromosomes (blue) in many directions. Further research into cell division in the liver could indicate how this process is exploited or disrupted in cancer, revealing novel avenues for cancer therapy.

Learn more about this work, published in Cell in 2018, here.


Kristin Knouse offers further insight into the story behind her award-winning image.

You can also watch her presentation from the opening event here.

More like this