Tim Mitchison

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Tim Mitchison

Timothy John Mitchison

1958 (age 64–65)[4]
EducationHaberdashers' Aske's Boys' School
Alma materUniversity of Oxford (BA)
University of California, San Francisco (PhD)
SpouseChristine M. Field[5]
AwardsHaldane Lecture (2002)
Keith R. Porter Lecture (2013)
Scientific career
FieldsSystems biology
InstitutionsHarvard Medical School
National Institute for Medical Research
Marine Biological Laboratory[1]
ThesisStructure and Dynamics of Organized Microtubule Arrays (1984)
Doctoral advisorMarc Kirschner[2][3]
Notable studentsTony Hyman
Julie Theriot
Jason Swedlow
Inke Nathke
Katharina Ribbeck

Timothy John Mitchison FRS is a cell biologist and systems biologist and Hasib Sabbagh Professor of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School in the United States.[6][7][8] He is known for his discovery, with Marc Kirschner, of dynamic instability in microtubules,[9][10] for studies of the mechanism of cell division, and for contributions to chemical biology.[11]

Education and early life[edit]

Mitchison was educated at Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School and completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in Biochemistry at the University of Oxford where he was an undergraduate student of Merton College, Oxford, from 1976 to 1979. He moved to the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in 1979 for his PhD which was supervised by Marc Kirschner[12] and investigated the dynamic instability of microtubules.[12][13]

Career and research[edit]

Mitchison returned to the UK for postdoctoral research at the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) in London.[when?] In 1988 he returned to San Francisco where he was appointed assistant professor at UCSF.[14] In 1994 he wrote an opinion piece for the journal Chemistry & Biology titled "Towards a pharmacological genetics" which helped to launch the field of chemical genetics.[11] In 1997 he moved to Harvard University to become co-director of the Institute for Chemistry and Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School,[14] where he pioneered phenotype-based screening,[15] discovering the small molecule monastrol – the first small-molecule inhibitor of mitosis that does not target tubulin. Monastrol was shown to inhibit kinesin-5, a motor protein. In 2003 he became Deputy Chair of the newly formed Department of Systems Biology, chaired by Marc Kirschner.[16][17] He works on aspects of mesoscale biology[18] including the self-organization of the cytoskeleton[19][20] and of cytoplasm.[21][22] He collaborates extensively with Christine Field on the mechanism of cytokinesis.[23][24][25]

Awards and honors[edit]

Mitchison was elected Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1997 for “substantial contributions to the improvement of natural knowledge”[26] and served as president of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) in 2010.[27] He was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States in 2014[14] and delivered the Keith R. Porter Lecture in 2013.

Personal life[edit]

Mitchison is married to scientist Christine M. Field with whom he has two children.[7] Mitchison comes from a family of distinguished biologists; his father is Avrion Mitchison,[6] his uncles are Denis Mitchison[citation needed] and Murdoch Mitchison,[6] his great uncle was J.B.S. Haldane[6] and his great-grandfather John Scott Haldane. His grandparents were the politician Dick Mitchison[28] and the writer Naomi Mitchison (née Haldane).[28] His younger sister Hannah M. Mitchison is also a biologist.[29]


  1. ^ "Tim Mitchison (Harvard) Part 1: Self-organization of microtubule assemblies". Archived from the original on 13 December 2021 – via YouTube.
  2. ^ "Cell Biology Tree - Timothy J. Mitchison". academictree.org.
  3. ^ Mitchison, T. J. (2013). "A question of taste". Molecular Biology of the Cell. 24 (21): 3278–3280. doi:10.1091/mbc.e13-07-0410. ISSN 1059-1524. PMC 3814136. PMID 24174461.
  4. ^ "Profile" (PDF). ascb.org.
  5. ^ "Timothy Mitchison". Harvard Magazine. 1 November 2003. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d Wells, William (1997). "Tim Mitchison: Dynamic productivity". Current Biology. 7 (11): R666–R667. doi:10.1016/S0960-9822(06)00346-0. PMID 9382812.
  7. ^ a b "Timothy Mitchison". November 2003.
  8. ^ Ishihara, K.; Nguyen, P. A.; Wuhr, M.; Groen, A. C.; Field, C. M.; Mitchison, T. J. (2014). "Organization of early frog embryos by chemical waves emanating from centrosomes". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 369 (1650): 20130454. doi:10.1098/rstb.2013.0454. ISSN 0962-8436. PMC 4113098. PMID 25047608.
  9. ^ Lewin, Ben (2007). "Great Experiments: Dynamic Instability of Microtubules - Marc Kirschner and Tim Mitchison". Archived from the original on 17 October 2013. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  10. ^ "Milestone 14 : Nature Milestones in Cytoskeleton". Nature. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  11. ^ a b Mitchison, T. J. (1994). "Towards a pharmacological genetics". Chemistry & Biology. 1 (1): 3–6. doi:10.1016/1074-5521(94)90034-5. ISSN 1074-5521. PMID 9383364.
  12. ^ a b Mitchison, Timothy John (1984). Structure and Dynamics of Organized Microtubule Arrays (PhD thesis). University of California, San Francisco. OCLC 1020493513. ProQuest 303337748. closed access
  13. ^ Mitchison, Tim; Kirschner, Marc (1984). "Dynamic instability of microtubule growth". Nature. 312 (5991): 237–242. Bibcode:1984Natur.312..237M. doi:10.1038/312237a0. ISSN 0028-0836. PMID 6504138. S2CID 30079133.
  14. ^ a b c "Timothy Mitchison". nasonline.org.
  15. ^ Mayer, T. U.; Kapoor, T. M.; Haggarty, S. J.; King, R. W.; Schreiber, S. L.; Mitchison, T. J. (29 October 1999). "Small molecule inhibitor of mitotic spindle bipolarity identified in a phenotype-based screen" (PDF). Science. 286 (5441): 971–974. doi:10.1126/science.286.5441.971. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 10542155.
  16. ^ "HMS launches new department to study systems biology". Harvard Gazette. 25 September 2003. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  17. ^ Check, Erika (2 October 2003). "Harvard heralds fresh take on systems biology". Nature. 425 (6957): 439. Bibcode:2003Natur.425..439C. doi:10.1038/425439a. ISSN 1476-4687. PMID 14523408.
  18. ^ Sear, Richard P.; Pagonabarraga, Ignacio; Flaus, Andrew (25 February 2015). "Life at the mesoscale: the self-organised cytoplasm and nucleoplasm". BMC Biophysics. 8 (1): 4. doi:10.1186/s13628-015-0018-6. ISSN 2046-1682. PMC 4374369. PMID 25815164.
  19. ^ Mitchison, T. J. (29 April 1992). "Self-organization of polymer-motor systems in the cytoskeleton". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences. 336 (1276): 99–106. Bibcode:1992RSPTB.336...99M. doi:10.1098/rstb.1992.0049. ISSN 0962-8436. PMID 1351302.
  20. ^ Ishihara, Keisuke; Nguyen, Phuong A.; Wühr, Martin; Groen, Aaron C.; Field, Christine M.; Mitchison, Timothy J. (5 September 2014). "Organization of early frog embryos by chemical waves emanating from centrosomes". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences. 369 (1650): 20130454. doi:10.1098/rstb.2013.0454. ISSN 1471-2970. PMC 4113098. PMID 25047608.
  21. ^ Mitchison, Timothy J. (15 November 2010). "Remaining mysteries of the cytoplasm". Molecular Biology of the Cell. 21 (22): 3811–3812. doi:10.1091/mbc.E10-02-0084. ISSN 1939-4586. PMC 2982103. PMID 21079024.
  22. ^ Boke, Elvan; Ruer, Martine; Wühr, Martin; Coughlin, Margaret; Lemaitre, Regis; Gygi, Steven P.; Alberti, Simon; Drechsel, David; Hyman, Anthony A.; Mitchison, Timothy J. (28 July 2016). "Amyloid-like Self-Assembly of a Cellular Compartment". Cell. 166 (3): 637–650. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2016.06.051. ISSN 1097-4172. PMC 5082712. PMID 27471966.
  23. ^ Eggert, Ulrike S.; Mitchison, Timothy J.; Field, Christine M. (2006). "Animal Cytokinesis: From Parts List to Mechanisms". Annual Review of Biochemistry. 75 (1): 543–566. doi:10.1146/annurev.biochem.74.082803.133425. PMID 16756502.
  24. ^ Eggert, Ulrike S.; Kiger, Amy A.; Richter, Constance; Perlman, Zachary E.; Perrimon, Norbert; Mitchison, Timothy J.; Field, Christine M. (2004). "Parallel chemical genetic and genome-wide RNAi screens identify cytokinesis inhibitors and targets". PLOS Biology. 2 (12): e379. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0020379. ISSN 1545-7885. PMC 528723. PMID 15547975.
  25. ^ Nguyen, Phuong A.; Groen, Aaron C.; Loose, Martin; Ishihara, Keisuke; Wühr, Martin; Field, Christine M.; Mitchison, Timothy J. (10 October 2014). "Spatial organization of cytokinesis signaling reconstituted in a cell-free system". Science. 346 (6206): 244–247. Bibcode:2014Sci...346..244N. doi:10.1126/science.1256773. ISSN 1095-9203. PMC 4281018. PMID 25301629.
  26. ^ Anon (1997). "Professor Timothy Mitchison FRS". royalsociety. London: Royal Society. One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from the royalsociety.org website where:

    “All text published under the heading 'Biography' on Fellow profile pages is available under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.” --Royal Society Terms, conditions and policies at the Wayback Machine (archived 2016-11-11)

  27. ^ "ASCB Presidents". ASCB. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  28. ^ a b "Obituary: Naomi Mitchison". The Independent. 13 January 1999. Archived from the original on 7 May 2022. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  29. ^ Elmeshad, Sarah (2018). "Gene mutation identified in PCD, rare disease". Nature Middle East. doi:10.1038/nmiddleeast.2018.62. S2CID 90633419.

 This article incorporates text available under the CC BY 4.0 license.