Richard McIntosh is currently a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Colorado Boulder. He earned his bachelor's and doctorate degrees from Harvard University in Physics and Biophysics, respectively. He taught cell biology at that institution briefly, then moved to the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he has worked ever since. His principal scientific interest is the mitotic spindle, i.e., the cellular machinery that segregates duplicated chromosomes in preparation for cell division. McIntosh's lab has answered a number of questions on spindle structure and function using electron microscopy based 3-D tomography.

McIntosh has served as President of the American Society for Cell Biology and has been appointed an American Cancer Society Research Professor. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. McIntosh is also a passionate advocate for biology research in Africa. He has spent a sabbatical year in Uganda, and directed courses in Tanzania and in Ghana.

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