Professional Education

  • Bachelor of Science, Newcastle University (2007)
  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Manchester (2011)

Stanford Advisors

All Publications

  • A cell-free CENP-A assembly system defines the chromatin requirements for centromere maintenance JOURNAL OF CELL BIOLOGY Westhorpe, F. G., Fuller, C. J., Straight, A. F. 2015; 209 (6): 789-801


    Centromeres are defined by the presence of CENP-A nucleosomes in chromatin and are essential for accurate chromosome segregation. Centromeric chromatin epigenetically seeds new CENP-A nucleosome formation, thereby maintaining functional centromeres as cells divide. The features within centromeric chromatin that direct new CENP-A assembly remain unclear. Here, we developed a cell-free CENP-A assembly system that enabled the study of chromatin-bound CENP-A and soluble CENP-A separately. We show that two distinct domains of CENP-A within existing CENP-A nucleosomes are required for new CENP-A assembly and that CENP-A nucleosomes recruit the CENP-A assembly factors CENP-C and M18BP1 independently. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the mechanism of CENP-C recruitment to centromeres is dependent on the density of underlying CENP-A nucleosomes.

    View details for DOI 10.1083/jcb.201503132

    View details for Web of Science ID 000356998200005

  • The centromere: epigenetic control of chromosome segregation during mitosis. Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in biology Westhorpe, F. G., Straight, A. F. 2015; 7 (1)


    A fundamental challenge for the survival of all organisms is maintaining the integrity of the genome in all cells. Cells must therefore segregate their replicated genome equally during each cell division. Eukaryotic organisms package their genome into a number of physically distinct chromosomes, which replicate during S phase and condense during prophase of mitosis to form paired sister chromatids. During mitosis, cells form a physical connection between each sister chromatid and microtubules of the mitotic spindle, which segregate one copy of each chromatid to each new daughter cell. The centromere is the DNA locus on each chromosome that creates the site of this connection. In this review, we present a brief history of centromere research and discuss our current knowledge of centromere establishment, maintenance, composition, structure, and function in mitosis.

    View details for DOI 10.1101/cshperspect.a015818

    View details for PubMedID 25414369

  • Functions of the centromere and kinetochore in chromosome segregation CURRENT OPINION IN CELL BIOLOGY Westhorpe, F. G., Straight, A. F. 2013; 25 (3): 334-340


    Centromeres play essential roles in equal chromosome segregation by directing the assembly of the microtubule binding kinetochore and serving as the cohesion site between sister chromatids. Here, we review the significant recent progress in our understanding of centromere protein assembly and how centromere proteins form the foundation of the kinetochore.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/

    View details for Web of Science ID 000321413200009

  • The Split Personality of CENP-A Nucleosomes CELL Westhorpe, F. G., Straight, A. F. 2012; 150 (2): 245-247


    The composition and structure of centromeric nucleosomes, which contain the histone H3 variant CENP-A, is intensely debated. Two independent studies in this issue, in yeast and human cells, now suggest that CENP-A nucleosomes adopt different structures depending on the stage of the cell cycle.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cell.2012.07.003

    View details for Web of Science ID 000306595700004

    View details for PubMedID 22817887