Skip to main content

Dr. Iva Tolić

Head of laboratory
E-mail
Telephone
+385 1 457 1370
Internal phone number
1730
1201
Academic title
Professor
Address

Ruđer Bošković Institute
Bijenička 54
HR-10000 Zagreb

Education

  • 2002: PhD in biology, University of Zagreb, Croatia
  • 1999 – 2001: PhD work with Prof. Ning Wang, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA
  • 1997 – 1999: Graduate studies in molecular biology, Research assistant in the group of Prof. Nenad Trinajstić, Ruđer Bošković Institute and University of Zagreb, Croatia 
  • 1992 – 1996: Diploma in molecular biology, University of Zagreb, Croatia

Research Areas

Specific research interests

Projects

  • 2020 – 2026: ERC Synergy Grant with Geert Kops (Hubrecht Institute – KNAW, Netherlands), Angelika Amon (MIT, USA) and Nenad Pavin (University of Zagreb, Croatia). Topic: Molecular origins of aneuploidies in healthy and diseased human tissues (Aneuploidy). Total amount granted: 10,000,000 EUR.
  • 2020 – 2024: Grant from the Croatian Science Foundation (HRZZ), together with Nenad Pavin. Topic: Mechanisms of microtubule bundle formation required for spindle maturation. Total amount granted: 1,000,000 HRK (≈130,000 EUR).
  • 2019 – 2022: Grant from the Croatian Science Foundation (HRZZ), together with Marin Barišić, Cooperation Programme with Croatian Scientists in Diaspora "RESEARCH COOPERABILITY". Topic: Mechanisms of microtubule bundle formation required for spindle maturation. Total amount granted: 2,200,000 HRK (≈295,000 EUR).
  • 2019 – 2022: European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) within the Operational Programme Competitiveness and Cohesion (OPCC) 2014 – 2020. Topic: Inovative microscopy protocols for interdisciplinary research in biomedicine. Total amount granted: 5,471,441 HRK (≈735,000 EUR).
  • 2015 – 2020: ERC Consolidator Grant. Topic: A new class of microtubules in the spindle exerting forces on kinetochores. Total amount granted: 2,150,000 EUR.
  • 2015 – 2019: Research grant from the Croatian Science Foundation (HRZZ). Topic: Oscillatory dynamics of the cytoskeleton. Total amount granted: 1,000,000 HRK (≈130,000 EUR).
  • 2015–2016: Grant from the European Social Fund (ESF), together with Igor Weber (PI), Ruđer Bošković Institute, Zagreb, Croatia. Topic: Cytoskeletal dynamics and spindle assembly during cell division. Total amount granted: 1,560,000 HRK (≈210,000 EUR).
  • 2013 – 2016: Research grant from the German Research Foundation (DFG) together with Nenad Pavin, University of Zagreb, Croatia. Topic: Kinetochore oscillations in mitotic metaphase. Total amount granted: 256,000 EUR.
  • 2013 – 2015: Research grant from the Unity Through Knowledge Fund (UKF) together with Nenad Pavin (PI), University of Zagreb, Croatia. Topic: The role of microtubule pivoting in formation of complex structures such as microtubule bundles and mitotic spindles. Total cost of the project: 1,110,000 HRK (≈150,000 EUR).
  • 2012 – 2015: Research grant from DFG under the Priority Programme SPP 1384: Mechanisms of Genome Haploidization. Topic: Homologous chromosome pairing in Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Total amount granted: 304,400 EUR.
  • 2010 – 2014: Research grant from the Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP), with Juraj Gregan (PI, University of Vienna, Austria) and Daniela Cimini (Virginia Tech, USA). Topic: Molecular architecture and mechanical properties of the kinetochore: a biophysical approach. Total amount granted: 1,000,000 $.
  • 2009 – 2012: Research grant from DFG under the Priority Programme SPP 1384: Mechanisms of Genome Haploidization. Topic: Homologous chromosome pairing in Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Total amount granted: 252,600 EUR.
  • 2009 – 2012: Research grant from DFG together with Stefan Diez, MPI-CBG, Germany. Topic: In vitro reconstitution of motor-driven nuclear oscillations. Total amount granted: 304,800 EUR.
  • 2008 – 2012: Research grant from DFG. Topic: Meiotic nuclear oscillations in Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Total amount granted: 246,600 EUR.
  • 2007 – 2011: Research grant from DFG. Topic: Mechanisms of mitotic spindle alignment by cytoplasmic microtubules and cell shape in Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Total amount granted: 242,600 EUR.

Awards and Achievements

  • EMBO member, since 2018
  • Annual award of the Ruđer Bošković Institute for the scientific paper "Pivoting of microtubules driven by minusend-directed motors leads to spindle assembly", I.M. Tolić, BMC Biology and "Meiotic Spindle Has a Soft Spot" J. Simunić i I.M. Tolić, DevCell, 2019
  • Annual award of the Ruđer Bošković Institute for the scientific paper "The mitotic spindle is chiral due to torques within microtubule bundles", M. Novak, B. Polak, J. Simunić, B. Kuzmić i I.M. Tolić, Nat Commun, 2018
  • Outstanding Paper Award of the European Microscopy Society in the category Life Sciences, “The mitotic spindle is chiral due to torques within microtubule bundles”, M. Novak, B. Polak, J. Simunić, Z. Boban, B. Kuzmić, A. Thomae, I.M. Tolić, N. Pavin, Nat Commun 2018
  • Ignaz L. Lieben Award of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, 2017
  • Annual award of the Ruđer Bošković Institute for the scientific paper "Microtubule sliding within the bridging fiber pushes kinetochore fibers apart to segregate chromosomes", K. Vukušić, R. Buđa, A. Bosilj, A. Milas, N. Pavin, I.M. Tolić, Dev Cell 2017
  • Award of the Croatian Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology for an outstanding contribution to the development of molecular life sciences, 2017
  • Award "Didak" for science, 2017
  • Croatian Women of Influence Award, 2016
  • National Science Award of the Republic of Croatia, 2015
  • Special award of the Ruđer Bošković Institute for outstanding contribution to the scientific excellence and international recognition of the institute, 2015
  • European Biophysical Societies Association EBSA Young Investigators' Medal and Prize, 2015
  • 5000th ERC grantee, 2015
  • MRAK award for creativity in science awarded for the collaboration with the Ruđer Bošković Institute 
  • Order of Danica Hrvatska for science, outstanding contributions to science and its promotion in the Republic of Croatia and the world, 2014
  • European Life Science Award in the category Investigator of the Year, 2014
  • Chosen by the journal Cell as one of 40 scientists from around the world and working in diverse biological fields, "40 under 40", 2014
  • 2001-2002: NATO stipend, Danish Natural Science Research Council

Classes

Affiliate Full Professor, Faculty of science, University of Zagreb

Affiliate Full Professor, Faculty of science, University of Split

  • PhD Program in Biophysics at the University of Split, Croatia (2008-2020)
  • Molecular Cytogenetics at the Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb, Croatia, guest lecturer
  • Biophysics of the Cell at the Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb, Croatia, guest lecturer
  • Biophysics of the Cell Practical at the Faculty of Science, University of Zagreb, Croatia

Publications

Books and book chapters

Authored books

  • Arčabić, V., Gelo, T., Globan, T., Jovančević, R., Levaj, M., Nadoveza Jelić, O., Obadić, A., Rogić Dumančić, L., SEkur, T., Šimurina, J., Tišma, S. & Tolić, I. (2020) Economics and economic policies of the European Union. Zagreb, Ekonomski fakultet.

Books and book chapters

Book chapters

Journal articles

Scientific and review papers

Theses

Doctoral dissertation

  • Tolić-Norrelykke, I. (2002) 'Cells as tensegrity structures. Traction fields and prestress measured in single smooth muscle cells', doktorska disertacija, Prirodoslovno-matematički, Zagreb.

Membership in professional associations / societies

  • European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO)
  • Croatian Biophysical Society
  • Croatian Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Croatian Microscopy Society

Scientific career:

  • since 2019: Senior Research Group Leader and Full Professor with tenure, Ruđer Bošković Institute, Zagreb, Croatia
  • 2014: Senior Research Group Leader and Full Professor, Ruđer Bošković Institute, Zagreb, Croatia
  • 2010 – 2014: Senior Research Group Leader (W2, equivalent to Associate Professor), Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden, Germany
  • 2004 – 2009: Research Group Leader (W1, equivalent to Assistant Professor), Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden, Germany
  • 2003 – 2004: Post-doctoral research with Prof. Francesco Pavone, LENS - European Laboratory for Non-Linear Spectroscopy, Florence, Italy
  • 2001 – 2002: Post-doctoral research with Prof. Kirstine Berg-Sørensen, Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark

Recent discoveries:

  • Jagrić et al. discovered that without the molecular ruler proteins, the bridging fibers were also too long. This increased the overlap between the microtubules in the center of the spindle, causing the chromosomes to migrate away from the center. This suggests that the alignment of chromosomes in the middle of the spindle depends on the bridging microtubules, which need to be of a certain length to effectively move and keep the chromosomes at the center. Thus, forces that move the chromosomes are generated both at the tips of the microtubules and along the wall of microtubules (Jagrić, M., P. Risteski., J. Martinčić, et al., eLife 2021).
  • By combining super-resolution microscopy and theory, we have shown that the spindle is chiral. Microtubule bundles twist around the spindle axis following a left-handed helical path, which is regulated by kinesin-5. Thus, in addition to forces, torques exist in the spindle and determine its chiral architecture (Novak, Polak, Simunić, Boban, Kuzmić et al., Nat Commun 2018).
  • By combining laser ablation, photoactivation, and theory, we have shown that sliding apart of microtubules within the bridging fiber pushes the attached kinetochore fibers and their kinetochores apart, being able to segregate chromosomes independently of the spindle pole  (Vukušić, Buđa et al., Dev Cell 2017). 
  • We have discovered that non-kinetochore microtubules, which we term bridging fibers, balance the tension between sister kinetochores by bridging sister k-fibers (Kajtez, Solomatina, Novak et al., Nat Commun 2016). This study challenges the paradigm that the tension on kinetochores is generated by molecular events occurring only at the ends of the k-fibers.
  • By establishing single-molecule observation and quantification of the motor protein dynein in living cells, we have discovered a new mechanism for how dynein targets cortical anchor sites, by diffusing along the microtubule (Ananthanarayanan et al., Cell 2013).
  • We have discovered a new mechanism of kinetochore capture during mitosis, based on the pivoting motion of microtubules around the spindle pole (Kalinina et al., Nat. Cell Biol. 2013). This concept challenges the current ‘search-and-capture’ paradigm introduced in the 1980s, based on direct growth of microtubules towards kinetochores.
  • We have demonstrated that fission yeast does not undergo replicative aging, which challenges the dogma that all organisms, including microorganisms, are susceptible to aging (Coelho et al., Curr. Biol. 2013; Coelho et al., PLOS Biol. 2014).

Mentoring:

  • 11 PhD, 4 Master and 18 Diploma theses completed.
  • PhD students have published first-author papers in top journals (Cell, Nature Cell Biology, Developmental Cell, PLoS Biology, Current Biology, EMBO Reports, eLife). Current positions of the former PhD students are the following: Vaishnavi Ananthanarayanan is a Research Group Leader at University of New South Wales; Sven Vogel is a Team Leader at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry; Miguel Coelho is a Biotech Equity Research at Truist Securities; Iana Kalinina is a postdoc at the University of Exeter; Davide Accardi is the leader of the Bioimaging Platform at Champalimaud Foundation in Lisbon; Manuel Neetz is Head of IP Diagnostic Imaging at Siemens Healthineers; Kruno Vukušić is a postdoc at the Ruđer Bošković Institute in Zagreb; Bruno Polak is a postdoc at University of Zagreb; Renata Buđa is a biochemist at Fidelta in Zagreb.

Invited talks:

  • More than 120 invited talks at conferences and workshops including:

    The Biophysical Society 65nd Annual Meeting, 2021 (virtual)
    Meiosis in Quarantine, Ithaca, NY, USA, 2020 (virtual).
    ASCB│EMBO 2019 Meeting, Washington DC, USA, 2019.
    Gordon Research Conference: Stochastic Physics in Biology, Fluctuations, Landscapes and Statistical Mechanics of Biological Heterogeneity, Ventura, CA, USA, 2019
    Biophysical Society 62nd Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA, USA, 2018
    Gordon Research Conference (GRC) on Motile and Contractile Systems, New London, NH, USA, 2017
    EMBO Conference on Meiosis, Oxford, UK, 2015
    12th Multinational Congress on Microscopy, Eger, Hungary, 2015 (plenary talk)
    10th European Biophysics Congress EBSA, Dresden, Germany, 2015 (plenary talk)
    The American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA, USA, 2014
    Biophysical Society 56th Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, USA, 2012
    Gordon Research Conference (GRC) on Plant and Microbial Cytoskeleton, Andover, NH, USA, 2012

  • More than 40 invited seminars including:

    Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, virtually , Portugal, 2021
    Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, Germany, 2020.
    Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany, 2019
    Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Developmental Biology, Tübingen, Germany, 2018
    University of Geneva, Switzerland, 2018
    Institut Curie, Paris, France, 2018
    ETH Zürich, Switzerland, 2015
    Engineering and Physical Biology Symposium, Harvard, Cambridge, MA, USA, 2012
    California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA, 2010

Organization of scientific meetings:

  • Co-organizer of the conference Mitotic spindle: From living and synthetic systems to theory, Split, Croatia, 2019 and 2021
  • Member of the International Scientific Committee of the 45th FEBS Congress Molecules of Life: Towards New Horizons, Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2021
  • Member of the Scientific Committee of the Students and Postdocs Meiosis Workshop, 2021
  • Member of the Program Committee for the Optical Manipulation and its Applications Topical Meeting, OSA Congress on Optics in the Life Sciences, Tucson, AZ, USA, 2019 and 2021 (virtual)
  • Co-chair at the 2nd ASCB│EMBO Meeting, San Diego, CA, USA, 2018
  • Co-chair at the 62nd Annual Meeting of the Biophysical Society, San Francisco, CA, USA, 2018
  • Organizer of the EMBO Conference on Meiosis, Hvar, Croatia, 2017
  • Co-organizer of ELMI - 17th European Light Microscopy Initiative meeting, Dubrovnik, Croatia, 2017
  • Member of the Program Committee for the 9th International Fission Yeast Meeting, Banff, Alberta, Canada, 2017
  • Member of the International Advisory Committee for the conference From Solid State to Biophysics VIII, Cavtat, Croatia, 2016
  • Member of the Organizing Committee for the EMBO Conference on Meiosis, Oxford, UK, 2015
  • Chairperson of the symposium Molecular Motors at the 10th European Biophysics Congress, EBSA 2015, Dresden, Germany, 2015
  • Member of the Program Committee for the EMBO Conference Pombe 2013, 7th International Fission Yeast Meeting, London, UK, 2013
  • Member of the Program Committee for the 11th and 12th Greta Pifat Mrzljak International School of Biophysics, Primošten, Croatia, 2012 and 2014

Ad hoc reviewer:

  • Journals: Nature, Science, Nature Cell Biology, eLife, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Current Biology, Molecular Biology of the Cell, EMBO Journal, Optics Express, Physical Biology, Journal of Microscopy, Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
  • Funding agencies: ERC Starting i Consolidator Grants, German Research Foundation (DFG), Human Frontier Science Program, Swiss National Science Foundation, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, The Leverhulme Trust.

Editorial activities:

Work in panels and international commissions

  • Member of the ERC Starting Grant Panel 2020 
  • Member of the the National Fund for Scientific Research (FNRS) Quinquennial Prize Panel, Belgium, 2020.
  • Member of the German Science Foundation (DFG) Panel for Collaborative Research Centers/ Transregio, 2017.

Public outreach and media coverage:

  • Guest in Croatian TV shows Treći element, Društvena mreža, and Među nama; interviews for TV shows Labirint, Znanstveni krugovi, and Dobro jutro, Hrvatska; numerous short interviews for TV news on Croatian Radiotelevision 1, Nova TV and RTL
  • Interviews on the radio: BBC World Service, Croatian Radio International Channel "The Voice of Croatia", Croatian Radio 3, Radio Sljeme, Radio Yammat
  • Interviews in newspapers and magazines: NASA's Astrobiology Journal (USA); Bild (Germany); Science et Vie (France); Croatia Airlines Inflight Magazine, Jutarnji list, Večernji list, Gloria, Novi List, Slobodna Dalmacija, 24 sata, Tehnopolis, Supermila (Croatia)
  • Motivational talks for pupils from more than seven middle and high schools
  • 5 popular science lectures
  • Hosted the President of the European Research Council (ERC), Prof Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, in the lab in March 2018
  • Hosted the President of the Republic of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, in the lab in March 2017
  • Speech to the European Parliament in Brussels, June 2015
  • Chosen as one of the "Stars of 2015" by Gloria
  • Chosen as one of "The Most Stylish Scientists" by Future-ish, 2013-2015 

This site uses cookies.

Some of these cookies are essential, while others help us improve your experience by providing insights into how the site is being used.

For more detailed information on the cookies we use, please check our Privacy Policy.

  • Necessary cookies enable core functionality. The website cannot function properly without these cookies, and can only be disabled by changing your browser preferences.