Anna AkhmanovaProf. Dr. Anna Akhmanova
Cell Biology
Faculty of Science, Utrecht University
Kruytgebouw, room O503
Padualaan 8, 3584 CH, Utrecht
The Netherlands
Tel. 31-(0)30-253 2328
Fax 31-(0)30-253 2837

Curriculum Vitae

Anna Akhmanova studied biochemistry and molecular biology at the Moscow State University. She received her PhD in 1997 at the University of Nijmegen. She worked as a post-doc at the Department of Microbiology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Nijmegen and at the Department of Cell Biology at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam. In 2001, she has started her own research group at the Department of Cell Biology at the Erasmus Medical Center. Since 2011, Anna Akhmanova is professor of Cell Biology at Utrecht University.

Anna Akhmanova is a recipient of the ALW Vernieuwingsimpuls VIDI (2001) and VICI awards (2007), and an ERC Synergy grant (2013). Anna Akhmanova is a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO). and of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). She is the chair of the board of the Netherlands Society for Microscopy.

Anna Akhmanova is a Senior editor of Elife, an Advisory Board member of the Journal of Cell Science, and an Editorial Board member of PLoS Biology, Traffic and BioArchitecture.



Research summary

My group studies cytoskeletal organization and trafficking processes, which contribute to cell polarization, differentiation, vertebrate development and human disease. We are interested in understanding, at a systems level, how different aspects of cell architecture are coordinated.

The main focus of our studies is the microtubule cytoskeleton. Our research relies on combining high-resolution live cell imaging and quantitative analysis of cytoskeletal dynamics, measurement of protein dynamics using advanced microscopic assays, in vitro reconstitution of dynamic cytoskeleton-based processes and different methods of identification of protein-protein interactions (in vitro binding studies, pull-down assays, yeast two-hybrid screens and mass spectrometry-based protein identification). In addition to conventional 2D cell cultures, we use different cell models cultured in a 3D matrix and perform high-speed high-resolution imaging of these cultures. In collaboration with mathematicians we are working on development of automated analysis and modeling of cytoskeletal dynamics and vesicle transport.

One of the main topics of our research is the structure and function of proteins which interact with the two ends of microtubules, the plus- and the minus-end. We perform research on microtubule plus-end tracking proteins (+TIPs) – a group of factors that associate specifically with the growing microtubule ends, regulate microtubule dynamics and their interactions with various cellular structures, such as the actin cytoskeleton, focal adhesions and cell-cell contacts. Since recently, we are also investigating the biochemical properties and functional roles of the proteins the specifically target and organize microtubule minus ends (-TIPs).

In another line of study, we investigate molecular mechanisms of microtubule-based vesicle transport. We identified several linkers between vesicles and microtubule motors and developed novel assays to demonstrate specific functions of these linkers in recruitment of motor proteins to membrane organelles. As a model system, we are currently investigating the process of constitutive exocytosis, which received relatively little attention in the literature in spite of its fundamental importance.

Microtubule-based processes are essential for cell division, normal functioning of large cells such as neurons and for intracellular transport of pathogens; therefore, our studies are relevant for combating abnormal cell proliferation, neurodegeneration and infectious diseases.


Lab members

Research assistant 
Ilya Grigoriev –

Bart de Haan –


Kai Jiang –
Ankit Rai –
Ruddi Rodriquez Garcia –
Maud Martin –

PhD students

Ivar Noordstra –
Amol Aher –
Dieudonnée van de Willige –
Ruben Schmidt –
Chao Yang –
York-Christoph Ammon –
Peter Jan Hooikaas –
Chiung-Yi Chen –
Fangrui Chen –


Mesenchymal Cell Invasion Requires Cooperative Regulation of Persistent Microtubule Growth by SLAIN2 and CLASP1. Bouchet BP, Noordstra I, van Amersfoort M, Katrukha EA, Ammon YC, Ter Hoeve ND, Hodgson L, Dogterom M, Derksen PW, Akhmanova A. Dev Cell. 2016 Dec 19;39(6):708-723. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2016.11.009.PMID:  27939686

Molecular Pathway of Microtubule Organization at the Golgi Apparatus.Wu J, de Heus C, Liu Q, Bouchet BP, Noordstra I, Jiang K, Hua S, Martin M, Yang C, Grigoriev I, Katrukha EA, Altelaar AF, Hoogenraad CC, Qi RZ, Klumperman J, Akhmanova A. Dev Cell. 2016 Oct 10;39(1):44-60. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2016.08.009. PMID: 27666745

Talin-KANK1 interaction controls the recruitment of cortical microtubule stabilizing complexes to focal adhesions. Bouchet BP, Gough RE, Ammon YC, van de Willige D, Post H, Jacquemet G, Altelaar AM, Heck AJ, Goult BT, Akhmanova A. Elife. 2016 Jul 13;5. pii: e18124. doi: 10.7554/eLife.18124. PMID: 27410476

Microtubule minus-end stabilization by polymerization-driven CAMSAP deposition. Jiang K, Hua S, Mohan R, Grigoriev I, Yau KW, Liu Q, Katrukha EA, Altelaar AF, Heck AJ, Hoogenraad CC, Akhmanova A. Dev Cell. 2014 Feb 10;28(3):295-309. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2014.01.001. PMID: 24486153

CFEOM1-associated kinesin KIF21A is a cortical microtubule growth inhibitor. van der Vaart B, van Riel WE, Doodhi H, Kevenaar JT, Katrukha EA, Gumy L, Bouchet BP, Grigoriev I, Spangler SA, Yu KL, Wulf PS, Wu J, Lansbergen G, van Battum EY, Pasterkamp RJ, Mimori-Kiyosue Y, Demmers J, Olieric N, Maly IV, Hoogenraad CC, Akhmanova A. Dev Cell. 2013 Oct 28;27(2):145-60. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2013.09.010. PMID:  24120883