CURRENT RESEARCH (UPDATED FEBRUARY 2015. WE TRY TO UPDATE THIS PAGE ONCE PER YEAR)

We are interested in understanding the extent to which basic quantitative principles govern the fundamental biological processes during the cell cycle. We take a combined novel experimental, computational and theoretical approach, as well as the quantitative rigor from physics. Some of our on-going projects can be found below.

1. Growth/cell cycle/cell size control/cell death at the single-cell level (or: single-cell physiology)

Our ongoing research concerns the relationship between growth, cell cycle, cell size control, and cell death in bacteria. This is the field that has generated some of the most fundamental, unsolved questions in biology, and we as a multidisciplinary team are actively working to solve them.

The following four papers are good examples of our research (must read for potential members):

1. Single-cell physiology
Sattar Taheri, Steven Brown, John T. Sauls, Dustin McIntosh, Suckjoon Jun
[Review; 20 pages; Annual Review of Biophysics, 2015] [Google Scholar]

2. Cell-size control and homeostasis in bacteria
S. Taheri-Araghi, S. Bradde, J. T. Sauls, N. S. Hill, P. A. Levin, J. Paulsson, M. Vergassola, and S. Jun
Current Biology 25(3), 385–391, 2015
[online] [PDF+extended SI] [Google Scholar] [news coverage]

3. Cell-size maintenance: universal strategy revealed
S. Jun & S. Taheri-Araghi
Trends in Microbiology 23(1), 4–6, 2015
[online] [PDF] [Google Scholar]

4. Robust growth of Escherichia coli
Ping Wang, Lydia Rober, James Pelletier, Wei Lien Dang, Francois Taddei, Andrew Wright, and Suckjoon Jun
Current Biology 20, 1099-1103, 2010.
[online] [PDF] [F1000] [Google Scholar] [Small Things Considered]
[The Scientist Top 7 Biology] [The Scientist Top 7 Biochemistry]

3. misc (or, from "A" to "B")

Every now and then, we start doing "A" and find interesting "B's". One of these “B” questions is the relationship between growth and cell shape in bacteria. This project was born as a summer research project for two undergrad students and one high-school student in 2009. Their pioneering fun work has been (completed by senior researchers and) published here:

1. Bending forces plastically deform growing bacterial cell walls
Ariel Amir, Farinaz Babaeipour, Dustin McIntosh, David Nelson, and Suckjoon Jun
Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA 111, 5778-5783, 2014.
[open access full article] [News in Nature Physics] [Google Scholar]

We understand "from A to B" is the nature of making unexpected, exciting discoveries, and we are always open to such possibilities.

Emily Hanna (front left) and Alyssa Kanagaki (front right) were summer undergrad research students from Barry University and Hamilton College, respectively, and Christina Nürnberg (ping pong master) was a 12th grade of the Erzbischöfliche Gymnasium in Germany visiting our lab (Harvard). The three students pioneered the plastic deformation work in our PNAS article. Emily Hanna (front left) and Alyssa Kanagaki (front right)
Christina Nürnberg

2. Chromosomes

Our lab has long been working on chromosome organization and segregation in bacteria from the physical biology angle. We are now trying to understand the role of the chromosome in the broader context of single-cell physiology.

For background information regarding what we are capable of, check out the following papers and writing.

1. The multifork Escherichia coli chromosome is a self-duplicating and self-segregating thermodynamic ring polymer
Brenda Youngren, Henrik Jork Nielsen, Suckjoon Jun, and Stuart Austin.
Genes & Development 28:71-84, 2014
[open access full article] [Google Scholar]

2. Physical manipulation of the Escherichia coli chromosome reveals its soft nature
James Pelletier, Ken Halvorsen, Bae-Yeun Ha, Raffaella Paparcone, Steven Sandler, Conrad Woldringh, Wesley Wong, and Suckjoon Jun
PNAS Plus 109(40), E2649-E2656, 2012.
[open access full article] [PNAS highlight]
[Nature Methods highlight] [Google Scholar]

3. Entropy as the driver of chromosome segregation.
Suckjoon Jun and Andrew Wright
Nature Reviews Microbiology 8, 600-607 (2010).
[online] [PDF] [Small Things Considered] [Google Scholar]

4. Entropy-driven sptial organization of highly confined polymers: Lessons for the bacterial chromosome.
Suckjoon Jun and Bela Mulder
PNAS 103, 12388 (2006)
[online] [F1000] [JCB highlight] [Google Scholar]