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School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences

Dr Vladimir Volkov


Lecturer in Physiology

Room Number: 4.19 G.E. Fogg Building
Twitter: @microtubule_guy


I am a biophysicist/biochemist interested in physiological functions of multivalent protein assemblies in context of cell division and cytoskeletal interactions.


Quick bio:

2022 – present Lecturer in Physiology, QMUL

2011 – 2022 postdoc, Russian Academy of Sciences (with Fazly Ataullakhanov), then Delft University of Technology (with Marileen Dogterom), then Utrecht University (with Anna Akhmanova)

2005 – 2011 PhD student, Russian Academy of Sciences/University of Colorado (with Fazly Ataullakhanov and Richard McIntosh)

2000 – 2005 undergraduate student (Pharmaceutical Chemistry), Moscow Medical Sechenov Academy

Undergraduate Teaching

Cell Biology (BIO116)
Essential Skills for Biomedical Scientists (BMD100)
Biomedical Physiology (BMD121)
Physiology (BIO125)
Undergraduate research projects (BIO600/BMD600) - module organiser
Structured research projects (BIO604)


Research Interests:

Microtubules are dynamic biopolymers exerting forces when they grow or shorten. These forces are important in various contexts in living cells, such as during cell division, when microtubule ends attach to chromosomes and help them segregate to daughter cells. Microtubule ends transmit forces to cellular structures using teams of coupling protein molecules. Our research is focused on molecular and mechanical mechanisms by which these protein teams assemble and transmit the forces to cellular structures.

In vitro reconstitution of multivalency - volkov

We hypothesize that regular microtubule lattice provides a platform for binding of force-coupling molecules, enhancing interactions between them, and thus creating multivalent protein complexes. To understand these multivalent interactions in detail, we reconstitute them in vitro using purified components, and use a range of experimental methods to understand their structure and dynamics. We use electron cryo-tomography to reconstruct 3D organization of microtubule end-bound protein complexes. We use single-molecule fluorescence to study effects of these complexes on microtubule dynamics. We also probe these interactions under force to understand how microtubules push and pull on cellular structures.

CryoET of multivalent protein assemblies binding to microtubules



Selected peer-reviewed publications and preprints (#corresponding author, *equal contribution):

Polley S, Müschenborn H, Terbeck M, De Antoni A, Vetter IR, Dogterom M, Musacchio A#, Volkov VA#, Huis in ‘t Veld PJ#. Stable kinetochore-microtubule attachment requires loop-dependent Ndc80-Ndc80 binding  EMBO J (2023) e112504. doi: 10.15252/embj.2022112504

Nick Maleki A , Huis in 't Veld PJ, Akhmanova A, Dogterom M, Volkov VA#. Estimation of microtubule-generated forces using a DNA origami nanospring. J Cell Sci (2023) 136 (5), jcs260154. doi: 10.1242/jcs.260154

Maan R*, Reese L*, Volkov VA*, King MR, van der Sluis E, Andrea N, Evers W, Jakobi AJ, Dogterom M. Multivalent interactions facilitate motor-dependent protein accumulation at growing microtubule plus ends. Nature Cell Biology (2023) 25, 68–78; doi: 10.1038/s41556-022-01037-0

Volkov VA#. Microtubules pull the strings: disordered sequences as efficient couplers of microtubule-generated force. Essays in Biochemistry (2020), 64(2), 371–382. doi: 10.1042/EBC20190078

Volkov VA*, Huis in 't Veld PJ*, Dogterom M, Musacchio A. Multivalency of NDC80 in the outer kinetochore is essential to track shortening microtubules and generate forces. eLife (2018) 7, e36764. doi: 10.7554/eLife.36764

Full publication list: Google Scholar Profile


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