My laboratory employs diverse interdisciplinary methods of inquiry to understand the relationships among cell shape detection, determination, and maintenance in bacteria. Cell shape plays a critical role in regulating many physiological functions, yet little is known about how the wide variety of cell shapes are determined and maintained. Inside the cell, many proteins organize and segregate, but how they detect and respond to the cellular morphology to end up at the right place at the right time is also largely mysterious. The group uses a combination of analytical, computational, and experimental approaches to probe physical mechanisms of shape-related self-organization in protein networks, membranes, and the cell wall. Current topics of interest are (i) cell-wall biosynthesis, (ii) the regulation and mechanics of cell division, (iii) membrane organization, and (iv) membrane-mediated protein interactions. Ultimately, the manipulation of cell shape may provide a direct tool for engineering complex cellular behaviors.
Honors & Awards
CAREER Award, National Science Foundation (2012-2017)
NIH Director's New Innovator Award, National Institutes of Health (2009-2014)
Helen Hay Whitney Fellowship, Helen Hay Whitney Foundation (2005-2008)
Ph. D., MIT, Physics (2004)
M. Phil., Cambridge University, Physics (1999)
B.S., Caltech, Physics/Mathematics (1998)