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Professor Robert Cross

Job Title
Professor of Mechanochemical Cell Biology
WMS - Biomedical Sciences
+44 (0)2476 151165
Research Interests

My lab focuses on the force generating mechanisms of kinesins and their microtubule tracks. We are trying to understand the molecular mechanisms of mechanochemical coupling. These mechanisms drive much of the self-organisation behaviour of eukaryotic cells and understanding them is important both for fundamental science and for the development of improved chemical biology approaches to a range of important medical and agricultural problems. My Google Scholar profile is here:


I did my PhD work at Nottingham and my postdoctoral training as an EMBO Fellow with Vic Small at the IMB in Salzburg and as an MDA Fellow with John Kendrick Jones at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, working on the myosin II mechanism. In 1991 I left MRC-LMB to set up a lab at the Marie Curie Research Institute to work on kinesin molecular motors, which were then newly-discovered. In 2005, after a long period of development, Nick Carter and I published single molecule optical trapping experiments showing that kinesin-1 can be driven to walk backwards (doi: 10.1038/nature03528). In 2007 we described the ATP-gating mechanism that controls the walking action of kinesin-1 (doi: 10.1126/science.1136985). In 2010 I moved with a group of younger colleagues to Warwick Medical School to found a new Centre for Mechanochemical Cell Biology (CMCB), aiming to integrate biophysical and cell biological approaches to the mechanisms of life. The CMCB now hosts 17 science groups from 4 Warwick departments ( An important part of our mission is to train the next generation of scientists. I direct Warwick's new MSci Integrated Science which we define as the course our instructors, who are all successful scientists, all wish they could have done as undergraduates. In Oct 2014, I became a Wellcome Investigator, and have used this opportunity to focus the lab more tightly around its core long-term interest of kinesin-microtubule interaction mechanisms. We continue to build our own microscopes, and have an innovative open hardware project in super resolution microscopy and optical trapping, the WOSM (

Title Funder Award start Award end
Interlocking nanomechanics of kinesin and tubulin (Wellcome Trust Investigator Award). Wellcome Trust 01 Jun 2020 31 May 2025
How microtuble plus tip trackers couple polymer assembly to cargo transport - Full Leverhulme Trust 13 Feb 2017 30 Jun 2021
How kinesins generate directional force and movement. Supplement for 38982 due to COVID19 Wellcome Trust 01 Apr 2020 31 May 2020
How kinesins generate directional force and movement. Cross Senior Investigator Award Wellcome Trust 01 Oct 2014 02 Apr 2020
Equipment - Probing the molecular origins of the speciesselectivity of microtubule-directed fungicides Syngenta Ltd 18 Nov 2013 01 Apr 2017
Probing the molecular origins of species-selectivity in microtubule-directed fungicides BBSRC 01 Oct 2013 01 Apr 2017
Supplement to Transitional Programme Grant (equipment donated in kind) Marie Curie Cancer Care 02 Sep 2010 30 Sep 2012
Marie Curie Cancer Care Transitional Programme Grant Marie Curie Cancer Care 01 Oct 2009 30 Sep 2012
Single Molecule Analysis of Microtubule Tip Tracking Protein in Vitro Association for International Cancer Research 02 Sep 2010 31 Mar 2012