Biophysics; Biocomputing; Gene regulation networks and variation in living
Field of Study
We are interested in how genetic circuits, composed of interacting genes
and proteins, enable individual cells to make decisions, oscillate, and
communicate with one another. To learn about these issues, we develop and
use several experimental techniques:
- We build
our own synthetic genetic circuits and study their functions. These
synthetic circuits are simpler counterparts to the complex circuits
one finds in nature. This approach is often called "synthetic
- We make time-lapse movies to quantitatively observe dynamics of natural
and synthetic genetic circuits in individual cells. These experiments
take advantage of multiple fluorescent proteins to observe several parts
of a circuit simultaneously in the same cell.
- We study variability within cell populations, and try to understand
how genetic circuits generate variability, through intrinsic noise,
use such variability (for differentiation), or operate reliably in
spite of variability.
Projects in the lab also make extensive use of relatively simple theoretical
models of genetic circuits.
GM, Kulkarni RP, Dworkin J, Garcia-Ojalvo J, Elowitz MB.,
Tunability and noise dependence in differentiation dynamics, Science,
2007 Mar 23;315:1716-1719.
G, Garcia-Ojalvo J, Liberman L, Elowitz MB.,
An excitable gene regulatory circuit induces transient cellular
differentiation, Nature, 2006 Mar 23;440:545-50.
Reconstruction of genetic circuits,
Nature. 2005 Nov 24;438(7067):443-8.
Rosenfeld N, Young JW, Alon U, Swain PS, Elowitz MB, Gene
regulation at the single-cell level. Science, 2005, 307(5717):1962-5 (pdf)
Elowitz MB, Levine AJ, Siggia ED, Swain PS Stochastic Gene Expression
in a Single Cell. Science, 2002, 297(5584): 1183-6.
Guet C, Elowitz MB, Hsing W, Leibler S. Combinatorial synthesis of genetic
networks. Science, 2002, 296(5572): 1466-70.
Elowitz MB & Leibler S A synthetic oscillatory network of transcriptional
regulators Nature, 2000, 403(6767): 335-338.
Rosenfeld N, Elowitz MB, Alon U. Negative autoregulation speeds the response
times of transcription networks J. Mol. Biol., 2002, 323(5): 785-93
Elowitz MB, Surette MG, Wolf PE, Stock J, Leibler S Photoactivation turns
green fluorescent protein red Curr. Biol. 1997, 7(10), 809-12