Angelika Amon

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Angelika Amon
Angelika Amon in October 2017.
Vienna, Austria
CitizenshipAustria & United States
Alma mater
Known forChromosome duplication and cell division
Scientific career
Doctoral advisorKim Nasmyth

Angelika Amon, Ph.D. (b. 1967) is an Austrian American molecular and cell biologist, and the Kathleen and Curtis Marble Professor in Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States. Amon's research centers on how chromosomes are regulated, duplicated, and partitioned in the cell cycle. Amon was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2017.

Personal life and career[edit]

Amon was born and raised in Vienna, Austria.[10] She displayed an early interest in plant and animal biology as a child, keeping a notebook full of newspaper clippings, and was motivated to study biology after learning about Mendelian genetics and seeing time-lapse micrographs of the division of plant cells in middle school.[10][11] As of 2007, Amon was married and had two daughters.[11]

Amon received an undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Vienna.[10] She continued her doctoral work there beginning in 1989 under a newly hired Professor Kim Nasmyth at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP), receiving a Ph.D. in 1993.[10] 1994 saw Amon leaving Austria for the United States, joining the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts as a postdoc,[10] and was named a Whitehead Fellow in 1996, which allowed her to start her own laboratory at the Institute.[10][11]

Her independent work at the Whitehead Institute led directly to her securing a faculty appointment at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT in 1999,[10] the same year she received the Presidential Early Career Award and was named a Howard S. and Linda B. Stern Career Development Assistant Professor.[12] Amon became an associate investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 2000,[13] and was promoted to full professor at MIT in 2007; she had earlier achieved tenure as an assistant professor.[14]

Amon was listed as a member of the Editorial Board for Current Biology in 2016,[15] but no longer appears in this position as of 2019.[16] She served on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) from 2009 to 2019.[17]

In 2017, Amon was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, by which time she had been named the Kathleen and Curtis Marble Professor of Cancer Research at MIT.[18]

In 2019, Amon was recognized as among those who have "made extraordinary contributions to their fields" while being a foreign-born researcher in the United States, via the Vilcek Prize.[10]


Amon's research has investigated how cells control and organize the segregation of their chromosomes during cell division. More specifically, her research examines the regulation of exit from mitosis, the regulation of the meiotic cell cycle, and effects of aneuploidy on normal physiology and tumorigenesis.

As a student under Nasmyth, Amon made significant discoveries related to the biosynthesis and breakdown of cyclins during the cell cycle.[10] More specifically, she demonstrated that CDC28 protein kinase is not required for the metaphase to anaphase transition and CLB2 proteolysis continues until reactivation of CDC28 toward the end of G1.[19][20]

During her time as a post-doctoral fellow at the Whitehead Institute in the 1990s, Amon turned from yeast to fruit flies in the laboratory of Ruth Lehmann, though she found fruit flies to be a far less attractive model than yeast; "once you had worked with yeast, you were spoiled", she said.[10]

The Amon lab primarily investigates yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) as a model for understanding the controls that govern cell-cycle progression and received an Early Career Award grant, a PECAS award, from he NIH for this work in 1998.[1][21] The PECAS is "the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on young professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers".[22] As a Whitehead Fellow, her team discovered that CDC20 plays a crucial role in cell division.[23] Her Whitehead team identified an interaction between phosphatase and CDC14 which initiates the exit of cells from mitosis to the G1 phase.[10][24] Amon's team demonstrated that CDC20 is the target protein in the spindle checkpoint during mitosis.[25]

Amon's more recent work has investigated the regulation of chromosome segregation and how chromosomes are accurately transmitted to gametes in meiosis by examining gene regulatory networks. She identified two regulatory networks (FEAR and MEN) that promote the release of CDC14 which have the potential to identify the mechanisms that control the final stages of the mitotic cell cycle.[26][27][28][29]

Her research group recently created haploid yeast cells containing extra copies of chromosomes and discovered that these aneuploid strains elicit phenotypes independent of the identity of the additional chromosome such as defects in cell cycle progression, increased energy demands, and interference with protein biosynthesis.[30] Amon has also examined trisomy in the mouse as a model of mammalian cell growth and physiology and demonstrated that mammalian aneuploidy results in a stress response analogous to yeast aneuploidy.[31] Amon's aneuploidy research has potential applications to cancer research.[32] She found that aneuploidy can interfere with a cell's normal DNA repair mechanisms, allowing mutations to accumulate in tumor cells.[33]


  1. ^ a b "The Presidential Early Award for Scientists and Engineers Program Archive". U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. 1998. Archived from the original on August 31, 2009. Retrieved October 28, 2019.
  2. ^ "From Cell-Cycle Secrets to NSF's Waterman Award Amon Earns Top Honor for Young Scientists" (Press release). Office of Legislative and Public Affairs, National Science Foundation. May 14, 2003. NSF PR 03-58. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
  3. ^ "Alan T. Waterman Award Recipients". Office of the Director, National Science Foundation. 2003. Archived from the original on March 2, 2015. Retrieved September 9, 2009. For her seminal contributions to understanding how cells orchestrate the segregation of their chromosomes during cell division, the key process of life.
  4. ^ Thomson, Elizabeth A. (October 3, 2007). "Amon, Golub win cancer prize". Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved October 29, 2019. Amon was cited for her work in studying how chromosomes segregate during cell division....
  5. ^ "Paul Marks Prize Recognizes Three Young Cancer Researchers" (Press release). Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. September 26, 2007. Retrieved October 29, 2019. Dr. Amon combines genetic, biochemical, and cell biology techniques to study the regulation of cell division in the budding yeast S. cerevisiae, an important model organism for studying cellular behavior.
  6. ^ "Academy Honors 13 for Major Contributions to Science" (Press release). Office of News and Public Information, National Academies. January 22, 2008. Retrieved October 29, 2019. for groundbreaking studies that have provided insight into the mechanism of the central process of chromosome segregation and the regulation of segregation
  7. ^ "Vanderbilt Prize in Biomedical Science | Office of Research".
  8. ^ "Winners of the 2019 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, Fundamental Physics and Mathematics Announced". Breakthrough Prize (Press release). San Francisco. October 17, 2018. Retrieved October 28, 2019. 2019 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences Awarded to C. Frank Bennett and Adrian R. Krainer, Angelika Amon, Xiaowei Zhuang, and Zhijian “James” Chen.
  9. ^ "Vanderbilt Prize in Biomedical Science". Office of Research. Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Retrieved October 29, 2019. Nominees for the Vanderbilt Prize must be women scientists in any area of basic or clinical research or clinical practice. The nominee must have a national reputation, a stellar record of research accomplishments, and must be an active mentor of other women in science.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Vilcek, Jan; Nair, Prashant (April 9, 2019). "Profile of Angelika Amon, winner of the 2019 Vilcek Prize in Biomedical Science". Profile. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 116 (15): 7157–9. doi:10.1073/pnas.1903221116. PMC 6462095 – via Pubmed Central. The recipient of the 2019 Vilcek Prize in Biomedical Science is Angelika Amon, an Austrian-born molecular and cell biologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  11. ^ a b c Amon, Angelika (March 21, 2007). "Besser forschen in den USA" [Better research in the US]. Der Standard (Interview) (in German). Interviewed by Margarete Endl. Vienna, Austria. Archived from the original on January 14, 2013.
  12. ^ Sharp, Phillip A. (June 19, 2003). "MIT Reports to the President 1998-99". MIT Reports to the President. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved October 29, 2019. One new faculty member, Angelika Amon, arrived during the past year to assume a position as an Assistant Professor and set up her laboratory in the Center for Cancer Research.
  13. ^ Silbey, Robert J. (June 19, 2003). "Department of Biology, Annual Reports to the President: 1999-2000". MIT Reports to the President. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved October 29, 2019. Of particular note is the awarding of Howard Hughes Medical Investigator status to three of our young faculty: Professor Sebastian Seung (BCS), Professor Angelika Amon (Biology and CCR) and Professor Steven Bell (Biology).
  14. ^ "Corporation announces faculty promotions". MIT News. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. June 13, 2007. See bottom of article. Retrieved October 29, 2019.
  15. ^ "Editorial Board". Current Biology. Archived from the original on May 6, 2016.
  16. ^ "Editorial Board". Current Biology. Archived from the original on October 29, 2019. Retrieved October 28, 2019.
  17. ^ "Scientific Advisory Board". Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP). Former SAB Members. Retrieved October 28, 2019.
  18. ^ Staff (April 12, 2017). "Eleven from MIT elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences for 2017". MIT News. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved October 29, 2019. Angelika Amon, the Kathleen and Curtis Marble Professor of Cancer Research
  19. ^ Surana, Uttam; Amon, Angelika; Dowzer, Celia; McGrew, Jeffrey; Byers, Breck; Nasmyth, Kim (1993). "Destruction of the CDC28/CLB mitotic kinase is not required for the metaphase to anaphase transition in budding yeast". The EMBO Journal. 12 (5): 1969–78. doi:10.1002/j.1460-2075.1993.tb05846.x. PMC 413418. PMID 8491189.
  20. ^ Amon, Angelika; Irniger, Stegan; Nasmyth, Kim (1994). "Closing the cell cycle circle in yeast: G2 cyclin proteolysis initiated at mitosis persists until the activation of G1 cyclins in the next cycle" (PDF). Cell. 77 (7): 1037–50. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(94)90443-X. PMID 8020094.
  21. ^ "Regulation of Mitosis by Proteolysis in Yeast" (PDF). CRISP (Grant abstract). U.S. National Institutes of Health. Grant Number 5R29GM056800-02. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 5, 2004.
  22. ^ Mervis, Jeffrey (July 15, 2009). "DOD Dominates Presidential Early-Career Awards". Science. Retrieved October 28, 2019.
  23. ^ Vistinin, Rosella; Prinz, Susanne; Amon, Angelika (1997). "CDC20 and CDH1: A Family of Substrate-Specific Activators of APC-Dependent Protoloysis". Science. 278 (5337): 460–3. doi:10.1126/science.278.5337.460. PMID 9334304.
  24. ^ Vistinin, Rosella; Craig, Karen; Hwang, Ellen; Prinz, Susanne; Tyers, Mike; Amon, Angelika (1998). "The Phosphatase Cdc14 Triggers Mitotic Exit by Reversal of Cdk-Dependent Phosphorylation". Molecular Cell. 2 (6): 709–18. doi:10.1016/S1097-2765(00)80286-5. PMID 9885559. open access
  25. ^ Hwang, Lena; Lau, Lucius; Smith, Dana; Mistrot, Cathy; Harwick, Kevin; Hwang, Ellen; Angelika, Amon; Murray, Andrew (1998). "Budding yeast CDC20: A Target of the Spindle Checkpoint". Science. 279 (5353): 1041–4. doi:10.1126/science.279.5353.1041. PMID 9461437.
  26. ^ "Angelika Amon, Ph.D." Our Scientists. Howard Hughes Medical Institute. February 25, 2016. Retrieved October 29, 2019. Dr. Amon is a professor at the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  27. ^ Marston, Adele; Lee, Brian; Amon, Angelika (2002). "The Cdc14 Phosphatase and the FEAR Network Control Meiotic Spindle Disassembly and Chromosome Segregation". Developmental Cell. 4 (5): 711–26. doi:10.1016/S1534-5807(03)00130-8. PMID 12737806. open access
  28. ^ Bardin, Allison; Amon, Angelika (2003). "MEN and SIN: chat's the difference?". Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology. 2 (11): 815–26. doi:10.1038/35099020. PMID 11715048.
  29. ^ D'Armours, Damien; Stegmeier, Frank; Amon, Angelika (2004). "Cdc14 and Condensin Control the Dissolution of Cohesin-Independent Chromosome Linkages at Repeated DNA". Cell. 117 (4): 455–69. doi:10.1016/S0092-8674(04)00413-1. PMID 15137939. open access
  30. ^ Torres, Eduardo; Sokolsky, Tanya; Tucker, Cheryl; Chan, Leon; Boselli, Monica; Dunham, Maitreya; Amon, Angelika (2007). "Effects of Aneuploidy on Cellular Physiology and Cell Division in Haploid Yeast". Science. 317 (5840): 916–24. doi:10.1126/science.1142210. PMID 17702937.
  31. ^ Williams, Bret; Prabhu, Vineet; Hunter, Karen; Glazier, Christina; Glazier, Charles; Whittaker, D. E.; Housman, David; Amon, Angelika (2008). "Aneuploidy affects proliferation and spontaneous immortalization in mammalian cells". Science. 322 (5902): 703–9. doi:10.1126/science.1160058. PMC 2701511. PMID 18974345.
  32. ^ Williams, Bret R.; Amon, Angelika (2009). "Aneuploidy –Cancer's Fatal Flaw?". Cancer Research. 69 (2389): 5289–91. doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-09-0944. PMC 2917070. PMID 19549887.
  33. ^ Trafton, Anne (October 17, 2018). "Angelika Amon wins 2019 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences". MIT News. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved October 29, 2019. Angelika Amon, an MIT professor of biology, is one of five scientists who will receive a 2019 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, given for transformative advances toward understanding living systems and extending human life.

Further reading[edit]

  • A description of the Amon laboratory's work composed by Angelika Amon: Amon, Angelika (February 25, 2016). "Causes and Consequences of Aneuploidy". Biomedical Research Programs. Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Retrieved October 28, 2019.

External links[edit]