Ahna Skop

Ahna Skop
Associate Professor

Ph.D. (2000) University of Wisconsin-Madison
Postdoctoral Research: HHMI, UC-Berkeley, 2000-2004

Lab website: http://skoplab.weebly.com/

Address: 2426 Genetics/Biotech

Telephone: 608-262-1593


Department: Genetics and Life Science Communications

Research Interests

asymmetric cell division, cytokinesis, cell polarity & cell cycle genomics and proteomics

Research Fields

Cell Biology
Genomics & Proteomics
C. elegans & Mammalian Cells
Science Communication
Scientific Art

Research Description:

Ahna Skop is a geneticist, artist and a winner of the prestigious Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). Her lab seeks to understand the molecular mechanisms that underlie asymmetric cell division during embryonic development using the nematode, C. elegans as a model system. Failures in cell division often lead to birth defects, age-related diseases and cancer. Understanding how cells divide is highly dependent on in vivo microscopy and large amounts of visual data, which dovetails perfectly with one of her other passions, art. The combination of scientist and artist inspires her to think differently and maintain an open mind. Ahna’s scientific art work can be seen in the main entrance of the Genetics/Biotechnology Center building on the UW-Madison campus. She has also curated and contributed to a traveling exhibition of scientific art from the UW-Madison campus and she has organized the bi-annual Worm Art Show for the International C. elegans Meeting for the past 19 years. On the UW-Madison campus and in her department, she has been passionately involved with several very successful recruitment and retention programs for underrepresented students. She and her lab actively participate in numerous STEM outreach activities on campus, state-wide and nationally. She was recently elected to serve as a board member for SACNAS (Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science).

Ahna is the child of artists. Her father, Michael Skop, was a bit of a Renaissance man and was a classically trained fine artist who studied with Ivan Mestrovic (a pupil of Rodin) and also taught college-level anatomy. Her father operated an art school at their home studio for many years and attracted artists, musicians and philosophers from all over the world. Her mother was a high school art educator and ceramicist and dabbled in fiber art, sculpture and painting. She majored in biology and minored in ceramics at Syracuse University, where her father had played football with Jim Brown, went to the Orange Bowl and studied with Mestrovic. She received her Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology (CMB) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and conducted her post-doctoral work at the University of California-Berkeley.

Ahna is current an Associate Professor in the Departments of Genetics and Life Science Communication at University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is also affiliated with the UW-Madison Arts Institute and often mentors art students in the lab. In 2008, she was awarded an honorary doctorate of science from the College of St. Benedicts and was named a Remarkable Women in Science from the AAAS. Her science and art have been featured by Apple and Science magazine. One of her great hobbies is cooking/baking and she manages a foodblog, foodskop.com, in her free time.

Representative Publications:

Search PubMed for more publications by Ahna Skop

Gnazzo MM, Skop AR (2014). Spindlegate: the biological consequences of disrupting traffic.
Dev Cell. 2014 Mar 10;28(5):480-2. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2014.02.014. PMID: 24636255

Bonner MK, Han BH, Skop A (2013). Profiling of the mammalian mitotic spindle proteome reveals an ER protein, OSTD-1, as being necessary for cell division and ER morphology. PLoS One. 2013 Oct 10;8(10):e77051. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0077051. PMID: 24130834

Pittmann, KJ & Skop, AR (2012). Anterior PAR proteins function during cytokinesis and maintain DYN-1 at the cleavage furrow in Caenorhabditis elegans. Cytoskeleton. Aug 6 2012 doi: 10.1002/cm.21053. PMID: 22887994

Shivas, JM & Skop, AR (2012). C. elegans Arp2/3 mediates early endosomal dynamics and recycling of anterior polarity cues to promote PAR maintenance. MBoC. 2012 Mar 28. PMID: 22456506

Bonner MK, Poole DS, Xu T, Sarkeshik A, Yates III JR, Skop AR (2011). Mitotic spindle proteomics in Chinese Hamster Ovary cells. PLoS ONE 6(5): e20489. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0020489. PMID: 21647379

Nakayama Y*, Shivas JM*, Poole DS, Squirrell JM, Kulkoski JM, Schleede JB, Skop AR. (2009). Dynamin participates in the maintenance of anterior polarity in the Caenorhabditis elegans embryo. Developmental Cell. Jun; 16(6): 889-900. PMID: 19531359 *authors contributed equally

Otegui MS, Verbrugghe KJ, Skop AR (2005). Midbodies and phragmoplasts: analogous structures involved in cytokinesis. Trends in Cell Biology. Aug; 15(8): 404-13. PMID: 16009554

Skop AR, Liu H, Yates J 3rd, Meyer BJ, Heald R (2004). Dissection of the mammalian midbody proteome reveals conserved cytokinesis mechanisms. Science. Jul 2; 305(5680): 61-6. PMID: 15166316