Melissa Gardner (GCD) received a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Award in support of research on the origin and role of internally generated mitotic spindle forces during cell division. Gardner integrates quantitative methods, computer programming and physical principles into the study of fundamental problems in biology. The results generated will boost understanding of the fundamental biophysics of cell division and provide quantitative data on potential cancer therapies. Gardner and colleagues will use physical principles and advanced microscopy to evaluate forces inside of living cells, and then use these methods to dissect the relationship between these forces and microtubule-based chromosome congression during mitosis. Many cancer therapeutic measures work by disrupting microtubule dynamics. By dissecting the relationship between force and microtubule dynamics, this research has the potential to lead to more rational approaches in cancer treatment.