Functional Consequences of Errors in Mitosis

Mistakes during mitosis produces daughter cells with imbalanced, aneuploid genomes. A prominent manifestation of such errors is the generation of abnormal nuclear structures, such as micronuclei – additional miniature nuclei that form when a chromosome lags during mitosis and then recruits its own nuclear envelope. These structures accumulate massive DNA damage and can lead to chromosomal rearrangements and genetic instability. In addition to these genetic effects, we have found that micronuclei are also a previously unappreciated source of transcriptional heterogeneity and epigenetic instability, and that these non-genetic effects can be inherited in subsequent generations of daughter cells. Research in our group focuses on understanding how chromatin organisation and transcriptional state are disrupted as a result of mitotic errors, and whether they have physiological effects that contribute to cell senescence, ageing and cancer.

Research website

Positions held

  • Since 2023: Group Leader, Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB), Mainz
  • 2015 - 2023: Postdoctoral researcher, Harvard Medical School and Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston


  • 2015: PhD in Molecular Medicine, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece
  • 2008: MSc in Molecular Medicine, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece
  • 2005: BSc in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Crete, Heraklion, Greece

Selected publications by Stamatis Papathanasiou

Papathanasiou S#, Mynhier NA, Liu S, Brunette G, Stokasimov E, Jacob E, Li L, Comenho C, van Steensel B, Buenrostro JD, Zhang CZ# and Pellman D# (2023) Heritable transcriptional defects from aberrations of nuclear architectureNature, doi: 10.1038/s41586-023-06157-7 (#indicates joint correspondence) Link

Leibowitz M*, Papathanasiou S*, Doerfler P, Blaine L, Sun L, Yao Y, Zhang CZ, Weiss M and Pellman D (2021) Chromothripsis as an on-target consequence of CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing. Nat Genet, 53:895–905 (*indicates joint contribution) Link

Papathanasiou S, Markoulaki S, Blaine L, Leibowitz M, Zhang CZ, Jaenisch R# and Pellman D# (2021) Whole chromosome loss and genomic instability in mouse embryos after CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing. Nat Commun, 12:5855 (#indicates joint correspondence) Link  

Diokmetzidou A, Tsikitis M, Nikouli S, Kloukina I, Tsoupri E, Papathanasiou S, Psarras S, Mavroidis M and Capetanaki Y (2016) Strategies to study Desmin in cardiac muscle and culture systems. Methods Enzymol, 568:427–459 Link

Capetanaki Y, Papathanasiou S, Diokmetzidou A, Vatsellas G and Tsikitis M (2015) Desmin related disease: A matter of cell survival failure. Curr Opin Cell Biol, 32:113–120 Link

Papathanasiou S, Rickelt S, Soriano ME, Schips T, Maier HJ, Davos CH, Varela A, Kaklamanis L, Mann DL and Capetanaki Y (2015) Tumor necrosis factor-α confers cardioprotection through ectopic expression of keratins K8 and K18. Nat Med, 21:1076–1084 Link