The Chang Lab

Research on Cell Shape and Size


Welcome to Fred Chang's laboratory at UCSF

Cells dividing during osmotic oscilations

The Chang Lab studies fundamental questions in cell biology concerning spatial organization of cells. An aspiration of modern cell biology is to understand how the various cellular components assemble into a cell. How does a single cell develop? How do cells form with a specific shape and size? How do cells sense their own shape and size? How do cells divide and how do cells decide where to divide? How do cellular components assemble and organize themselves to form discrete structures, distinct cellular compartments and form patterns? How do cellular components sense cell size, cell shape, and measure distances?

We seek to elucidate quantitative molecular and biophysical mechanisms underlying the dynamic cellular processes responsible for morphogenesis of the cell. Our approaches are interdisciplinary, combining the expertise and perspectives of cell biologists, geneticists, physicists, and engineers. The lab develops creative experimental approaches to manipulate and image cellular processes in living cells.

Our favorite model organism is the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. These cells are ideally suited for quantitative cell biology and genetic approaches. In addition, and as a counterpoint, we also study model animals such as sea urchin, nematodes, etc.

Current projects include: cytoplasm, cytokinesis, cell growth, biomechanics, sensing and regulation of cell and nuclear size, and regulation of microtubule dynamics. 

Cells adapting to urchin wells
Cells showing cdr2 (green) and pom1 (red)