User:Joshua S. Waitzman

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Joshua S. Waitzman
  • Joshua S. Waitzman
  • Ward 8-321
  • Department of Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University
  • Chicago, IL, USA 60611
  • Email me through OpenWetWare

I'm an MD/PhD student working in the Rice Lab at Northwestern


  • 2007, Sc.B. with Honors in Biophysics, magna cum laude, Brown University

Research interests

In order to divide and proliferate, a single cell must distribute its chromsomes equally to daughter cells by establishing a microtubule-based spindle. Kinesin-5 is a microtubule motor protein that plays an essential role in aligning this spindle structure. As a hallmark of cancer cells is their increased ability to divide, kinesin-5 and other mitotic motor proteins are promising drug targets for cancer therapy, and ispinesib, a specific inhibitor of kinesin-5, is in Phase II FDA trials for non-small cell lung cancer and glioblastoma multiforme.

Kinesin-5 is believed to be regulated by phosphorylation by both M-Cdk and Wee1, kinases known to play roles in the cell cycle. However, the structural mechanisms of this phospho-regulation are unknown. My work uses structural biology and biochemistry approaches to determine the phosphorylation-dependent changes in kinesin-5. Our group uses Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) spectroscopy to monitor the freedom of movement of different parts of the kinesin-5 protein, as well as kinetic measurements of the protein's activity. By combining these approaches, we hope to clarify the relationships between structure and activity in kinesin-5 and may be able to guide future drug discovery efforts.


  1. Waitzman JS, Larson AG, Cochran JC, Naber N, Cooke R, Jon Kull F, Pate E, and Rice SE. The loop 5 element structurally and kinetically coordinates dimers of the human kinesin-5, Eg5. Biophys J. 2011 Dec 7;101(11):2760-9. DOI:10.1016/j.bpj.2011.10.032 | PubMed ID:22261065 | HubMed [Paper1]
  2. Duch J, Waitzman JS, and Amaral LA. Quantifying the performance of individual players in a team activity. PLoS One. 2010 Jun 16;5(6):e10937. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0010937 | PubMed ID:20585387 | HubMed [Paper2]

    This work's been picked up by the Science [1] and Scientific American [2] podcasts!

  3. Bauer JH, Chang C, Morris SN, Hozier S, Andersen S, Waitzman JS, and Helfand SL. Expression of dominant-negative Dmp53 in the adult fly brain inhibits insulin signaling. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Aug 14;104(33):13355-60. DOI:10.1073/pnas.0706121104 | PubMed ID:17686972 | HubMed [Paper3]

All Medline abstracts: PubMed | HubMed

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