Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Cellular and Developmental Biology, Microbiology, and Immunology (including Genetics)
Dr. Biggins studies the kinetochore, the large protein complex that mediates attachments between centromeres and the mitotic spindle during cell division. Errors in this process can result in aneuploidy, a hallmark of cancer and many birth defects. She led the first purification of kinetochores from any organism and went on to reconstitute yeast kinetochore-microtubule attachments in vitro. Her laboratory has used this reconstitution system to answer many outstanding questions in the field, including discovering that tension exerted on the linkage directly stabilizes these attachments and identifying the first protein responsible for this tension-sensing mechanism.