Laura Diaz-Martinez. Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biology

I was born in the city of Aguascalientes in central Mexico. I went to college at the Universidad Autonoma de Aguascalientes, where I obtained my B.Sc. in Biology and Chemistry. Then my dream of becoming a scientist brought me to the United States. First...

studio picture of Dr. Diaz-Martinez

Contact Information

  • Spring 2022
    Monday:  3:00-5:00 pm
    Wednesday: 11:00 am-12:00 pm
    Or by appointment

  • (509) 313-5633

Education & Curriculum Vitae

Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology and Genetics, University of Minnesota
B.Sc. in Biology and Chemistry, Universidad Autonoma de Aguascalientes

Courses Taught

BIOL105 – Information Flow in Biological Systems
BIOL105L – Phage Discovery Lab
BIOL399 – Advanced Topics: Molecular Mechanisms of Cell Division

I was born in the city of Aguascalientes in central Mexico. I went to college at the Universidad Autonoma de Aguascalientes, where I obtained my B.Sc. in Biology and Chemistry. Then my dream of becoming a scientist brought me to the United States. First to the University of Minnesota where I obtained my Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology and Genetics. During this time I became fascinated by cells and how they work at the level of genes and molecules. After obtaining my Ph.D., I spent a few years as a postdoctoral researcher at UT-Southwestern Medical Center and then as Research Assistant Professor at The University of Texas at El Paso, before joining Gonzaga University in 2019. Being a faculty member at Gonzaga University allows me to pursue my two passions: understanding how cells work and teaching students about the wonderful world of cells and molecules. When I am not studying cells under the microscope you might find me hiking with our dogs, taking photographs around the city, or cooking some crazy new recipe I just made up. 


1. Diaz-Martinez LA, Fisher G, Esparza D, Bhatt J, D'Arcy C, Apodaca J, Brownell S, Corwin L, Davis W, Floyd K, Killion P, Madden J, Martseller P, Mayfield-Meyer T, Mcdonald K, Rosenberg M, Yarborough M, Olimpo JT. Recommendations for Effective Integration of Ethics and Responsible Conduct of Research (E/RCR) Education into Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences: A Meeting Report. CBE-LSE (In press)

2. Olimpo JT, Díaz-Martínez LA, Bhatt JM, D’Arcy CE. Integration of RCR and Ethics Education into Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences in the Biological Sciences: A Needed Discussion. J Microbiol Biol Educ. 2017. 18(2): 18.2.45. PMID: 28861142

3. Karamysheva ZN, Díaz-Martínez LA, Warrington R, Yu H. Graded requirement for the spliceosome in cell cycle progression. Cell Cycle. 2015. 14(12): 1873-83. PMID: 25892155

4. Diaz-Martinez LA, Tian W, Li B, Warrington R, Jia L, Brautigam CA, Luo X, Yu H. The Cdc20-binding Phe box of the spindle checkpoint protein BubR1 maintains the mitotic checkpoint complex during mitosis. J Biol Chem. 2014 jbc.M114.616490. PMID: 25505175

5. Díaz-Martínez LA, Karamysheva ZN, Warrington R, Li B, Wei S, Xie XJ, Roth MG, Yu H. Genome-wide siRNA screen reveals coupling between mitotic apoptosis and adaptation. EMBO J. 2014 Jul 14. pii: e201487826. PMID: 25024437

6. Zaganjor E, Osborne JK, Weil LM, Diaz-Martinez LA, Gonzales JX, Singel SM, Larsen JE, Girard L, Minna JD, Cobb MH. Ras regulates kinesin 13 family members to control cell migration pathways in transformed human bronchial epithelial cells. Oncogene. 2013 Nov 18. doi: 10.1038/onc.2013.486. PMID: 24240690

7. Solomon DA, Kim T, Diaz-Martinez LA, Fair J, Elkahloun AG, Harris BT, Toretsky JA, Rosenberg SA, Shukla N, Ladanyi M, Samuels Y, James CD, Yu H, Kim JS, Waldman T. Mutational inactivation of STAG2 causes aneuploidy in human cancer. Science. 2011 Aug 19; 333(6045):1039-43. doi: 10.1126/science.1203619. PMID: 21852505

8. Díaz-Martínez LA, Beauchene NA, Furniss K, Esponda P, Giménez-Abián JF, Clarke DJ. Cohesin is needed for bipolar mitosis in human cells. Cell Cycle. 2010 May; 9(9):1764-73. PMID: 20436271

9. Giménez-Abián JF, Díaz-Martínez LA, Beauchene NA, Hsu WS, Tsai HJ, Clarke DJ. Determinants of Rad21 localization at the centrosome in human cells. Cell Cycle. 2010 May; 9(9):1759-63. PMID: 20404544

10. Beauchene NA, Díaz-Martínez LA, Furniss K, Hsu WS, Tsai HJ, Chamberlain C, Esponda P, Giménez-Abián JF, Clarke DJ. Rad21 is required for centrosome integrity in human cells independently of its role in chromosome cohesion. Cell Cycle. 2010 May; 9(9):1774-80. PMID: 20404533

11. Karamysheva Z, Diaz-Martinez LA, Crow SE, Li B, Yu H. Multiple anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome degrons mediate the degradation of human Sgo1. J Biol Chem. 2009 Jan 16; 284(3):1772-80. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M807083200. PMID: 19015261

12. Díaz-Martínez LA, Giménez-Abián JF, Clarke DJ. Cohesin is dispensable for centromere cohesion in human cells. PLoS One. 2007 Mar 28; 2(3): e318. PMID: 17389909

13. Díaz-Martínez LA, Giménez-Abián JF, Clarke DJ. Regulation of centromeric cohesion by sororin independently of the APC/C. Cell Cycle. 2007 Mar 15; 6(6):714-24. PMID: 17361102

14. Díaz-Martínez LA, Giménez-Abián JF, Azuma Y, Guacci V, Giménez-Martín G, Lanier LM, Clarke DJ. PIASgamma is required for faithful chromosome segregation in human cells. PLoS One. 2006 Dec 20; 1:e53. PMID: 17183683

15. Díaz-Martínez LA, Kang Y, Walters KJ, Clarke DJ. Yeast UBL-UBA proteins have partially redundant functions in cell cycle control. Cell Div. 2006 Dec 4; 1:28. PMID: 17144915

16. Andrews CA, Vas AC, Meier B, Giménez-Abián JF, Díaz-Martínez LA, Green J, Erickson SL, Vanderwaal KE, Hsu WS, Clarke DJ. A mitotic topoisomerase II checkpoint in budding yeast is required for genome stability but acts independently of Pds1/securin. Genes Dev. 2006 May 1; 20(9):1162-74. PMID: 16651657

17. Kang Y, Vossler RA, Diaz-Martinez LA, Winter NS, Clarke DJ, Walters KJ. UBL/UBA ubiquitin receptor proteins bind a common tetraubiquitin chain. J Mol Biol. 2006 Mar 3;356(4):1027-35. PMID: 16405905

18. Andrews CA, Díaz-Martínez LA, Giménez-Abián JF, Guacci V, Vas AC, Clarke DJ. Evidence that the yeast spindle assembly checkpoint has a target other than the anaphase promoting complex. Cell Cycle. 2005 Nov;4(11):1555-7. PMID: 16258265

19. Giménez-Abián JF, Díaz-Martínez LA, Wirth KG, De la Torre C, Clarke DJ. Proteasome activity is required for centromere separation independently of securin degradation in human cells. Cell Cycle. 2005 Nov;4(11):1558-60. PMID: 16205121

20. Giménez-Abián JF, Díaz-Martínez LA, Wirth KG, Andrews CA, Giménez-Martín G, Clarke DJ. Regulated separation of sister centromeres depends on the spindle assembly checkpoint but not on the anaphase promoting complex/cyclosome. Cell Cycle. 2005 Nov;4(11):1561-75. PMID: 16205119

21. Giménez-Abián JF, Díaz-Martínez LA, Waizenegger IC, Giménez-Martín G, Clarke DJ. Separase is required at multiple pre-anaphase cell cycle stages in human cells. Cell Cycle. 2005 Nov;4(11):1576-84 PMID: 16177575

Reviews and commentaries

1. Herrera EL, Azzam SZ, Berger MC, Diaz-Martinez LA. Genomic heterogeneity meets cellular energetics: crosstalk between the mitochondria and the cell cycle. J Cancer Metastasis Treat. 2018; 4:42
2. Díaz-Martínez LA, Clarke DJ. Visualizing chromosome segregation in live cells. Cell Cycle. 2016 15(14): 1811

3. Díaz-Martínez LA, Clarke DJ. Sororin is tethered to Cohesin SA2. Cell Cycle. 2015 14(8):1133. PMID: 25695517

4. Díaz-Martínez LA, Yu H. The complexity of life and death decisions in mitosis. Mol Cell Onc (2014) 2(2): e969658

5. Díaz-Martínez LA, Yu H. Sgo1 as a guardian of chromosome stability. Cell Cycle. 2012 Feb 15;11(4):650-1. doi: 10.4161/cc.11.4.19361. PMID: 22374669

6. Díaz-Martínez LA, Clarke DJ. Timeless makes some time for itself. Cell Cycle. 2011 Jul 15;10(14):2254. PMID: 21670590

7. Díaz-Martínez LA, Yu H. Cohesin: a multi-purpose chromatin glue. J Mol Cell Biol. 2009 Dec;1(2):58-60. doi: 10.1093/jmcb/mjp014. PMID: 19684050

8. Díaz-Martínez LA, Clarke DJ. Chromosome cohesion and the spindle checkpoint. Cell Cycle. 2009 Sep 1;8(17):2733-40. PMID: 19652532

9. Díaz-Martínez LA, Giménez-Abián JF, Clarke DJ. Chromosome cohesion - rings, knots, orcs and fellowship. J Cell Sci. 2008 Jul 1;121(Pt 13):2107-14. doi: 10.1242/jcs.029132. PMID: 18565823

10. Díaz-Martínez LA, Yu H. Running on a treadmill: dynamic inhibition of APC/C by the spindle checkpoint. Cell Div. 2007 Jul 24;2:23. PMID: 17650307

11. Clarke DJ, Vas AC, Andrews CA, Díaz-Martínez LA, Giménez-Abián JF. Topoisomerase II checkpoints: universal mechanisms that regulate mitosis. Cell Cycle. 2006 Sep;5(17):1925-8. PMID: 16940751

12. Clarke DJ, Díaz-Martínez LA, Giménez-Abián JF. Anaphase promoting complex or cyclosome? Cell Cycle. 2005 Nov;4(11):1585-92. PMID: 16237278

13. Díaz-Martínez L, Clarke DJ. Self-regulating model for control of replication origin firing in budding yeast. Cell Cycle. 2003 Nov-Dec;2(6):576-8. PMID: 14512772

Discovery of gene function: The function of many human genes remains unknown. Recent studies have shown that there are hundreds of genes required for cell survival that have not been studied. Our research focuses on studying genes with unknown function and testing them for potential roles in cellular processes that are important for cell survival (e.g., cell division, DNA replication and repair, mitochondria function).
Biology education: Scientists are expected to conduct research in a responsible and ethical manner to ensure that scientific research continues to advance and benefit the public. However, most college students receive little formal education on research and research ethics. Our biology education project aims to expand and improve the education of young biology researchers, particularly on the topic of research ethics.