[(07/2021-) Professor of Physics ]
[email] [office 858-534-2384, UH6250] [lab 858-822-1090, UH6249] [Google scholar]
I am a theorist by training in soft-matter and biophysics. I started a wet lab as a Bauer Fellow at the FAS Center for Systems Biology at Harvard University (2007-2012), and moved my lab to UCSD in 2012 to join the qBio initiative. My lab invented the mother machine and discovered the adder principle. Thanks to the work by people in my lab, I have received several awards, including the Allen Distinguished Investigator Award from the Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group (2013-2016), Pew Scholars Award (2013-2016), NSF CAREER (2013-2018), the Lattimer Award (2019), and most recently the Michael and Kate Bárány Award by the Biophysical Society (2022).
My career goal is to push for a scaled-up mature engineering of biological cells as bio-machines that fully realizes the unique potential of biotechnology: adaptation, survival, growth, and dominance. My PhD work developed a theoretical foundation for biomachines with biomolecular reactions as components. Namely, binding and catalysis as core structures of biomolecular systems, like mass and force for mechanical systems; and biological cells are metabolic machines that control fluxes through exponents, like the Lagrangian formulation of mechanical machines as controlling position and velocity through applied forces. In my postdoc at Jun lab, I want to develop a theory-driven design-test-build cycle to engineer bacterial cells' dynamic functions on survival and growth by engineering their regulatory architecture, rather than by engineering single genes or molecules..
Before coming to the Jun lab, I studied physics and mathematics at the University of Chicago. Here, I am investigating how bacteria coordinate ribosome synthesis with growth as conditions vary. More generally, I’m intrigued by whether and how cellular resource allocation serves to maximize fitness in different environments.
I studied Biological Engineering (Bachelors & Masters) at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras in Chennai, India. There, I briefly worked on retroactivity in synthetic gene networks. At the Jun lab, I will study the growth of metazoan cellular systems.
I received my BSc in Physics from Peking University in 2019. In Jun lab, I am widely interested in looking for physical laws and principles in biological systems by quantitative approaches. Currently, I am studying the noise control of the chromosome replication initiation.
I started my undergraduate study at UCSD as a biophysics major student, and fell in love with looking into biological systems through the lens of simple and intuitive physics. I started to work as a lab assistant in Suckjoon's lab when I was a junior, exploring the behavior of division proteins in E. coli cells. Now, my graduate path is a continuation of my passion on biophysics and quantitative biology, and my first markstone on my graduate program will be on the topic of mitochondria topology within yeast cells. Utilizing digital micro mirror device and other microscopic techniques, I'm looking forward to unveiling the pattern of internal connection within mitochondria and to understanding the topology-physiology relation.
After spending several years as a professional in the music and art industry, unexpected events shifted my creative energy toward biophysics. Here I have found a true passion for biological systems and how multidisciplinary approaches can further our understanding of them.