Nicole Beier


After earning her bachelor's in biology from Whitman College in 2009, Nicole entered the graduate program in Molecular and Cell Biology at UC Berkeley. In the Karpen Lab, she studies the function and regulation of centromeric chromatin using the model organism Drosophila melanogaster.

In flies, centromeres are determined epigenetically by the presence of the histone H3 variant CENP-A/CID. Nicole has determined the timing and requirements for CID assembly during mitosis and meiosis in fly tissues, and showed that CID is one of the few epigenetic marks retained in male gametes. Currently, she is focused on understanding how misexpression of centromeric proteins contributes to cancer progression in the Drosophila model system.

When she's not staring down a microscope, Nicole enjoys adventuring around the beautiful California outdoors, gardening, practicing yoga, and volunteering.

2014-2015: Predoctoral Fellow, University of California Cancer Research Coordinating Committee

Centromere assembly in meiosis


The unique nuclear architecture of Drosophila melanogaster spermatocytes is shown during prometaphase of meiosis I. Chromatin (blue) is condensed into 3-4 distinct territories in each nucleus, and is beginning to align with the spindle (tubulin, red). The centromeric histone, CID, which has been progressively assembled over the 90-hour prophase I stage (see Dunleavy et al.) is shown in green. Five cells from a 16 cell cyst of primary spermatocytes are pictured.

Image credit: Nicole L. Beier