Research Interests

Dr. Cleveland's laboratory has focused in two major directions.

Molecular genetics and cell biology of mammalian chromosome movement and spindle assembly during mitosis:

Our interests are in deciphering the mitotic checkpoint, major mechanism in mammals that insures delivery of every chromosome to each daughter cell during mitosis. We use in vitro extracts that can reproduce the cell cycle in vitro as well as genetic models to identify the principles of chromosome segregation. A key aspect of this is defining "what is a centromere". We are using assembly of purified components and molecular genetics in cells and genetic models to define the nature of this mark.

Molecular genetics of axonal growth and motor neuron disease:

Using molecular genetics, the principles that support axonal growth are being identified as are ways in which errors in the scaffolding structure within axons lead to disease. Similar approaches are being used to determine mechanisms underlying the inherited forms of the most prominent adult motor neuron disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, the hallmark of which is the selective death of motor neurons.

Don W. Cleveland, Ph. D.

Departmental Chair of Cellular and Molecular Medicine

Professor Of Medicine, Neurosciences, and Cellular and Molecular Medicine

Member, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research


Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research

9500 Gilman Drive

La Jolla, CA 92093-0670

Administrative Assistant:

Heather Birk


Office: 858-534-7811

Lab: 858-534-7899 or 7894

Fax: 858-534-7659

External Links:

ALS and Motor Neuron Disorder Center at UCSD Website

Cleveland Lab Directory

ALS Association

Last updated September 2, 2011