Stanislau Yatskevich is one of six recipients of the International Birnstiel Award for Doctoral Research in Molecular Life Sciences 2023. Stanislau was nominated for his research while a PhD student in David Barford’s group in the LMB’s Structural Studies Division.
Our cells use large and intricate macromolecular machines to accurately pass genetic information to two daughter cells during cell division. Errors during chromosome segregation often result in genetic abnormalities. Stanislau’s work focused on kinetochores, giant complexes that mediate attachment of mitotic spindle to chromosomes, and he showed that inner kinetochore forms a nucleosome-like particle that completely entraps the linker DNA of centromeric chromatin. Topological entrapment of the DNA by the inner kinetochore immediately addressed a long-standing question of how kinetochores withstand both pushing and pulling forces exerted by the mitotic spindle. Together with atomic structures of the outer kinetochore, his work addressed almost all details of the complete human kinetochore assembly.
The Birnstiel Award acknowledges outstanding talent and celebrates the research successes of young, up-and-coming, scientists and is awarded by the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) in Vienna, in collaboration with the Max Birnstiel Foundation. The award is named after Max Birnstiel, a molecular biologist and founding director of the IMP whose research focused on gene regulation in eukaryotes.
About winning the award, Stanislau commented: “It is a great honour to receive the Birnstiel Award. It feels a little surreal that my early scientific contributions could be recognised in this way. I also feel very grateful to David Barford and many other brilliant colleagues at the LMB for an incredibly stimulating work environment, and for helping during all stages of my doctoral research.”
The other five scientists selected to receive the award are Sam van Beljouw (TU Delft), Ana Paredes (Spanish National Center for Cardiovascular Research – CNIC), Ariën Schiepers (The Rockefeller University), Ida Jentoft (Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Sciences), and Rosalie Lipsh-Sokolik (Weizmann Institute of Science). The six awardees will receive a certificate, trophy, and prize of 2,000 Euro at a ceremony at the Vienna BioCenter next month.