Kevin T. Vaughan Associate Professor

Cell Biology of Cancer and Neurodegenerative Diseases
Kevin T. Vaughan

Research Interests:

Dr. Vaughan is interested in the cell biology of human diseases, with an emphasis on cancer and neurodegenerative diseases arising from defects in organelle transport. A long-term project is focused on mitosis, the process by which cells segregate DNA into dividing daughter cells. Our particular strength is the use of mass spectrometry to identify novel regulatory events that control the progression through mitosis. Because most cancers arise because of errors in these pathways, our work on regulation and therapeutic approaches overlaps with the mission of the Harper Cancer Research Institute.

Our research into regulation of mitosis stimulated another larger project in which we collaborate to identify novel combinatorial drug treatments for cancer. One exciting new drug combination kills tumor cells through a novel mechanism that has not been pursued previously. We are testing this drug combination in animal models of pancreatic and breast cancer.

As part of Notre Dame’s efforts to cure Niemann Pick Type C (NPC) disease, the Vaughan laboratory has discovered a new mechanism of cholesterol transport and determined that mutations in NPC disease perturb this process. We are investigating other components of this new pathway that have the potential to correct the NPC defects and improve the outcomes for NPC patients.



  • Associate Professor of Cell Biology
  • Member, Harper Cancer Research Institute
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Ph.D., Cornell University Medical College; M.S.: Rowell Park Cancer Institute; B.A.: Hamilton College


Recent Papers:

  • Wehrmann, Z.T., T.W. Hulett K.L. Huegel, K.T. Vaughan, O. Wiest, P. Helquist, and H. Goodson (2012). Quantitative Comparison of the Efficacy of Various Compounds in Lowering Intracellular Cholesterol Levels in Niemann-Pick Type C Fibroblasts. PLoSOne 7(10):e48561.
  • Vaughan, K.T. (2011). Roles of Cytoplasmic Dynein During Mitosis, in: S.M. King (Ed.), Dyneins. Academic Press is an imprint of Elsevier., London, Waltham, San Diego, pp. 522-536.
  • Kasuboski, J.M., J.R. Bader, P.S. Vaughan, S.B.F. Tauhata, M. Winding, M.M. Morrissey, M.V. Joyce , W. Boggess, L.Vos, G.K. Chan, E.H. Hinchcliffe and K.T. Vaughan (2011). Zwint-1 is a Novel Aurora B Substrate Required for the Assembly of a Dynein-binding Platform on Kinetochores. Mol. Biol. Cell 22: 3318-30.
  • Bader, J.R., J.M. Kasuboski, M. Winding, P.S. Vaughan. E.H. Hinchcliffe and K.T. Vaughan(2011). Polo-like Kinase1 is Required for Recruitment of Dynein to Kinetochores During Mitosis. J. Biol. Chem. 286:20769-77.
  • Hornick, J.E., C.C. Mader, E.K. Tribble, C.C. Bagne, K.T. Vaughan, S.L. Shaw, and E.H. Hinchcliffe (2011). Amphiastral Mitotic Spindle Assembly in Vertebrate Cells Lacking Centrosomes. Cur. Biol. 21: 598-605.
  • Collins E.S., J.E. Hornick, T.M. Durcan, N.S. Collins, W. Archer, K.B. Karanjeet, K.T. Vaughan, and E.H. Hinchcliffe (2010). Centrosome Biogenesis Continues in the Absence of Microtubules During Prolonged S-phase Arrest. J. Cell Physiol. 225: 454-465.
  • Bader, J.R. and K.T. Vaughan (2010). Dynein at the Kinetochore: Timing, Interactions and Functions. Semin. Cell Dev. Biol. 21: 269-75.
  • Towns, W.L., S.B.F. Tauhata, P.S. Vaughan, and K.T. Vaughan (2009). Transfection-induced Defects in Cytoplasmic Dynein-driven Organelle Transport: Evidence that the ICs Mediate Cargo-binding. Cell Motil. Cytoskel. 66:80-90.
  • Whyte, J., J.R. Bader, S. Tauhata, M. Raycroft, J.Hornick, K.K. Pfister, W.S. Lane, G.K. Chan, E.H. Hinchcliffe, P.S. Vaughan and K.T. Vaughan. (2008). Phosphorylation Regulates Targeting of Cytoplasmic Dynein to Kinetochores During Mitosis J. Cell Biol. 183:819-34.
  • Hornick, J.E., J.R. Bader, E.K. Tribble, J.S. Breunig, E.S. Halpin, K.T. Vaughan, and E.H. Hinchcliffe (2008). Live-cell Analysis of Mitotic Spindle Formation in Taxol-treated Cells. Cell Motil. Cytoskel. 65:595-613.