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Alisa Piekny, PhD

Associate Professor, Biology
co-Director, Centre for Microscopy at Concordia
Concordia University Research Chair in Cancer Cell Biology, Biology

Alisa Piekny, PhD
David Ward
Office: L-SP 437-15 
Richard J. Renaud Science Complex,
7141 Sherbrooke W.
Phone: (514) 848-2424 ext. 3428
Website(s): Visit our lab site


PhD (University of Calgary)
Post-Doc (IMP, Vienna, Austria; and University of Chicago)

Research interests

The aim of my research is to gain a stronger understanding of how the cytoskeleton is regulated during cell division, migration and polarity. I am interested in how microtubules and actomyosin control these events during tissue morphogenesis, and how they are hi-jacked in cancer cells. This includes an in depth molecular analysis of anillin, a highly conserved protein that is required for cytokinesis and crosslinks key components of the cell. I use both the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans and cultured mammalian cells as model systems. I also collaborate with other groups to develop delivery and diagnostic tools for cancer cells, and to develop anti-cancer drugs.

Teaching activities

Cell Physiology
Advanced Cell Biology

Research activities


NSERC, FRQ-NT, NIH, Aligo Innovation

Selected publications

Macairan, J., Jaunky, D.B., Piekny, A., Naccache, R. (2019) Intracellular ratiometric temperature sensing using fluorescent carbon dots. Nanoscale Advances. 1: 105-113.

Kashani, A.S., Badilescu, S., Piekny, A., Packirisamy, M. (2019) Perspective - Bio-nano-interaction in treatment and management of cancer. J. Electrochem Society. 166: B3007-B3011.

Hong, S.H., Larocque, K., Jaunky, D.B., Piekny, A., Oh, J. (2018) Dual assembly and biological evaluation of enzyme/oxidation-responsive polyester-based nanoparticulates for tumor-targeted delivery. Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces. 172: 608-617. 

Kashani, A.S., Kuruvinashetti, K., Beaudet, D., Badilescu, S., Piekny, A., Packirisamy, M. (2018) Enhanced internalization of Indian Ayurvedic Swarna Bhasma (Gold nanopowder) for effective interaction with human cells. J. Nanosci. Nanotechnol. 18: 6791-6798.

Beaudet, D., Akhshi, T., Phillipp, J., Law, C., Piekny, A. (2017) Active Ran regulates anillin function during cytokinesis. Molecular Biology of the Cell. 28: 3517-3531.

Kuruvinashetti, K., Sohrabi, A.S., Badilescu, S., Beaudet, D., Piekny, A., Packirisamy, M. (2017) Intracellular localized surface plasmonic sensing for subcellular diagnosis. Plasmonics 13: 1639-1648.

Beaudet, D., Badilescu, S., Kuruvinashetti, K., Sohrabi, A., Jaunky, D.B., Oullette, S., Piekny, A., Packirisamy, M. (2017) Comparative study on cellular entry of incinerated ancient gold particles (Swarna Bhasma) and chemically synthesized gold particles. Scientific Reports 7: 10678 (1-12).

Wernike, D., Chen, Y., Mastronardi, K., Makil, N., Piekny, A. (2016) Mechanical forces drive neuroblast morphogenesis and are required for epidermal enclosure. Developmental Biology. 412: 261-277.

van Oostende Triplet, C., Jaramillo Garcia, M., Haji Bik, H., Beaudet, D., Piekny, A. (2014) Anillin interacts with microtubules and is part of the astral pathway that defines cortical domains. Journal of Cell Science. 127: 3699-3710.

Wernike, D., van Oostende, C., Piekny, A. (2014) Visualizing neuroblast cytokinesis during C. elegans embryogenesis. Journal of Visualized Experiments. doi: 10.3791/51188.

Akhshi, T.K., Wernike, D., Piekny, A. (2014) Microtubules and actin crosstalk in cell migration and division. Cytoskeleton (Hoboken). 71:1-23.

Fotopoulos, N., Wernike, D., Chen, Y., Makil, N., Marte, A., Piekny, A. (2013) Caenorhabditis elegans anillin (ani-1) regulates neuroblast cytokinesis and epidermal morphogenesis during embryonic development. Developmental Biology. 383:61-74.

Zanin, E., Desai, A., Poser, I., Toyoda, Y., Andree, C., Moebius, C., Bickle, M., Conradt, B., Piekny, A., Oegema, K. (2013) A conserved RhoGAP limits M phase contractility and coordinates with microtubule asters to confine RhoA during cytokinesis. Developmental Cell. 26:496-510.

Frenette, P., Haines, E., Loloyan, M., Kinal, M., Pakarian, P., Piekny, A. (2012) An anillin-Ect2 complex stabilizes central spindle microtubules at the cortex during cytokinesis. PLoS One. 7:e34888.

Tse, Y.C., Piekny, A., Glotzer, M. (2011) Anillin promotes astral microtubule-directed cortical myosin polarization. Mol Biol Cell 22:3165-3175.

Piekny, A.J., Maddox, A.S. (2010) The myriad roles of anillin during cytokinesis. Seminars in Cell & Developmental Biology. 21:881-891.

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