• Welcome to the Walczak Lab

  • Research

    Our lab is interested in the fundamental mechanisms that cells use to accurately distribute their genetic material to the two daughter cells. Defects in this process lead to aneuploidy and genomic instability, which are hallmarks of cancer. We use a combination of approaches, including high-resolution imaging, biochemistry, genomics and cell/molecular biology to ask fundamental questions about how cells maintain mitotic fidelity and how cell maintain proper ploidy using both normal and tumor cell models.

    Cells use multiple mechanisms to prevent aneuploidy. One emerging idea is that cancer cells thrive with low levels of aneuploidy, which allows for phenotype evolution. However, higher levels of aneuploidy lead to failure in cell division and cell death. We are currently exploring multiple pathways that contribute to aneuploidy and identifying the key players that can be targeted to cause high levels of aneuploidy and thus provide in-roads for new mechanisms of therapeutic development.

    The dynamic microtubules are critical for spindle function and are also the targets of several anti-neoplastic agents that are front-line treatments for multiple types of cancers. However, side effects can be severe and result in discontinuation of treatment. In addition, development of resistance is common. Several of the proteins we study are highly overexpressed in multiple cancer types, which correlates with poor prognosis. Thus, we are developing screening assays that can be used to identify new drugs that target these microtubule regulators as well as trying to understand how their expression correlates with drug resistance and poor prognosis.

  • Lab Members

    Claire Walczak

    Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Medical Sciences, Indiana University School of Medicine-BL

    BS Chemistry, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

    PhD Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison

    Post-doctoral Fellow, University of California-San Francisco

    Stephanie Ems-McClung

    Asst. Research Professor, Medical Sciences,

    Indiana University School of Medicine-BL

    BS Biology, Indiana University

    PhD Medical and Molecular Genetics, Indiana University School of Medicine

    Post-doctoral Fellow, Indiana University

    Sanjay Shrestha

    Research Assistant, Medical Sciences,

    Indiana University School of Medicine-BL

    BS Biochemistry, Dhaka University

    MS Biochemistry, Dhaka University

    PhD Molecular Biology, New Mexico State University

    Post-doctoral Fellow, National Institutes of Health

    Kelly Hartsough


    Graduate Student

    BS Biology

    Penn State University

    Jordon Winn

    GCDB Graduate Student

    BS Cellular and Molecular Biology & Biochemistry

    Northwest Missouri State University

    John Smith

    CMCB Graduate Student

    BS Molecular Cell Biology
    Towson University

    Emily Jones

    CMCB Graduate Student

    BS Biology

    Northern Illinois University

    Aryan Mishra

    Undergraduate Researcher

    BS Biology 2023

    Destiny Cooper

    Laboratory Assistant

    BS Biochemistry

    Molly Lusk

    Undergraduate Researcher

    BS Biology 2025

    Anjaly Prasannajith

    CMCB Graduate Student

    BS/MS Indian Inst Sci Educ & Research

  • Former Lab Members

    Graduate Students

    • Susan Kline-Smith, PhD in Anatomy and Cell Biology (CEO Susan Chang Consulting, LLC)
    • Kathleen Hertzer, MD/PhD in Anatomy and Cell Biology (Surgeon, Placerville California)
    • Ke Wang, MS. in Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology (Scientist at Genzyme)
    • Xin Zhang, PhD in Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology (Asst. Professor Chinese Academy of Sciences)
    • David Hedrick, MD/MS in Anatomy and Cell Biology (Physician, Indianapolis)
    • Rania Rizk, PhD in Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology (Instructor, RC Med Review, LLC)
    • Shang Cai, PhD in Biochemistry (Faculty Position at the Westlake Institute of Advanced Study, Hangzhou, China)
    • PK Moua, PhD in Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology, (Lecturer at Beloit College)
    • Amber Yount, PhD in Biochemistry (Asst. Professor at Franklin College)
    • Lesley Weaver, PhD in Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology, (Post-doc at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health)
    • Sathiya Dharmaiah, MS in Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry (Research associate at Leidos Biomedical Research)
    • Hailing Zong, PhD in Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology, (Scientist, Advanced Cell Diagnostics)
    • Tirzah Brown, MS in Anatomy and Cell Biology Education, (Faculty Fellow, Ivy Tech Community College)
    • Stefan Husted, MS in Pharmacology, (Study Design Leader at Covance)
    • Shengyao Chen, PhD in Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology, (Bioinformatics Scientist III at IDT)
    • Jeanna Wigley, MS in Biotechnology, (Research Associate at Indiana University)
    • Jared Ross, MS in Biotechnology, (PhD student at Indiana University)
    • Mark Hazelbaker, MS in Biotechnology (PhD student at UNC-Chapel Hill)

    Postdoctoral Fellows

    • Chris Sontag, PhD Biochemistry (Research associate at IU)


    • Suzannah Park, BS Biology (MD, IU School of Medicine)
    • Thomas Lipkin, BS Biology (PhD, Columbia University)
    • Jennifer Luckki, BS Biology
    • Emmanuel Obeng, BS Biology
    • Kevin Bohannon, BS Biology (PhD, Northwestern University)
    • Jenna Devare, BS Biochemistry (MD, Cornell Medical School)
    • Ellen Weinzapful, BS Biology (PhD, University of Pennsylvania)
    • Lesley Weaver, BS Biology (PhD, Indiana University, Post-doc Johns Hopkins School of Public Health)
    • Sarah Hainline, BS Biology (PhD, Vanderbilt University; Clinical Data Manager at Sarah Cannon Research Institute)
    • Laura Wetzel, BS Biochemistry (PhD student at UC-Berkeley)
    • David Hsieh, BS Biology
    • Robby Pease, BS Biology
    • Caitlin Dunn, BS Biology (MD/PhD student at University of Cincinnati)
    • Stephanie Lamb, BS Biology (PhD, Vanderbilt University; Microbiology Fellow, University of Washington)
    • Arpita Appannagari, BS Biology (MS, Columbia University School of Public Health)
    • Eric Workman, BS Biochemistry (transferred to Yale University)
    • Stefan Husted, BS Biochemistry/Neuroscience (MS at Indiana University; Genetic Toxicologist, Covance)
    • Sachin Jain, BS Biology (Medical student at Indiana University)
    • Christina Moe, BS Biology (Medical student at The Ohio State University)
    • Sarina Rodriguez, BS Biology (Research scientist at Eli Lilly)
    • Sarah Yde, BS Biology (PhD student at University of Chicago)
    • Lauren Frank, BS Biology (MS Genetic Counseling)
    • Stephanie Zhang, BS Biology, BS Environmental and Sustainability Studies, Intern at Hoosier Action
    • Jason Zhang, BS Human Biology, Medical Student at Marian University

    Research Associates

    • Eugene C. Gan, (PhD Duke University)
    • Jane Stout, (Bloomington Drosophila Stock Center)
    • Sarah Johnstone, (PhD MIT)
    • Chantal LeBlanc, (Research Associate Yale University)
    • Jay Pilrose, (Cook Pharmica)
  • Recent Publications

  • News

    December 2021


    Congratulations to Dr. Stephanie Ems-McClung on being recommended for promotion to Associate Research Professor by IUSM


    Congratulations to Dr. Charity Taboas for completing her PhD in Bioanthropology. We will miss you.


    Welcome Anjaly Prasannajith to the lab as our newest CMCB student 


    Welcome Dhanusha Duraiyan to the lab as our new lab assistant


    November 2021


    COVID can't stop us. The Walczak lab skates again



    May 2021

    Congratulations Dr. Ben Walker

    March 2021

    Congratulations Kenzie Emch on being elected to Phi Beta Kappa!


    January 2021

    Congratulations Dr. Ben Walker on defending your dissertation!


    December 2020

    Congratulations Ben Walker on your new job at Eli Lilly!

    Welcome Emily Jones as the newest Walczak Lab member.


    October 2020


    Congratulations Kelly Hartsough and John Smith on passing their qualifying exams and becoming official PhD Candidates! We are so proud of you.

    September 2020


    Welcome rotation students Zheng Tian, Will Hamilton and Disha Kuchangi!


    August 2020


    Welcome rotation student Emily Jones!


    Congratulations to Claire on her CTSI Proposal

    Single Cell Seq to Identify Heterogeneity in Polyploid Cells


    July 2020

    Spatially Distanced Goodbye to Mark

    June 2020

    Congratulations John on winning the Paul Harmon Award

    Walczak Lab Skating 2020

    December 2019

    Congratulations Stephanie on two great new papers!

    December 2019

    Female Genius Lab!



    November 2019

    Congratulations Kelly for her recent Current Biology review!


    SEPTEMBER 2019

    Congratulations Claire for the NIH Supplement

    Can't Wait to Image on that New Microscope



    AUGUST 2019

    Congratulations Kelly on Receiving a QCB Fellowships

    Congratulations Benny and Katie on welcoming Baby Ilse to your family

    JULY 2019

    Great Job at the IU SSRP Symposium

    Aisha and Jacob

    April 2019

    Great Job Jared, Stephanie, Kenzie, Jason and Kendra at the HHC Research Symposium

    January 2019

    Congratulations Claire on being elected an AAAS Fellow




    November 2018

    Welcome Rotation Students Natasha and Ahmed to the lab


    August 2018

    Congratulations to Claire on being elected as a Fellow of the American Society for Cell Biology!


    July 2018

    Welcome visiting student Serena Mahnoor.


    June 2018

    Welcome Kendra Lambert to the Lab, Biotechnology MS Student.


    April 2018

    Congratulations Dr. Amber Yount

    Hutton Honors College Undergraduate Research Symposium

    Great Job Jeanna, Jason, Kenzie, Stephanie, and Mark


    February 2018

    Walczak Lab Skating Trip

    January 2018

    Happy Birthday Kenzie and Jason

    December 2017

    Congratulations to Hailing Zong on successfully defending her PhD

    October 2017

    Welcome Stephanie Zhang to the lab

    September 2017

    Congratulations to Shengyao Chen on successfully defending his PhD

    August 2017

    Welcome Kenzie Emch to the Lab

    July 2017

    Congratulations Claire and Brian on their CTSI Core Pilot Proprosal.


    Congratulations to Claire on Recognition of Professionalism and integrity in research by The Research Exemplar Project.

  • Contact Us

    Claire’s e-mail: cwalczak@indiana.edu

    Claire’s Office Phone: 812-855-5919

    Walczak Lab Phone: 812-855-6785

    We are located at Myers Hall 260

    We are on Twitter


  • Funding