Christine Jacobs-Wagner, PhD

  • William H. Fleming, M.D. Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and of Microbial Pathogenesis
  • HHMI Investigator
  • Director of Microbial Sciences Institute
Research interests
Bacteria; Bacterial Processes; Biological Processes
Research summary

We study the molecular mechanisms underlying bacterial multiplication. Bacteria are renowned for their fast multiplication. During their short cell cycles, bacteria grow, replicate and segregate their chromosomes and divide. They do all of this with sometimes blazing speed and with remarkable temporal and spatial accuracy, which explains their success.

Despite the medical, agricultural and ecological importance of bacteria, little is known about the molecular mechanisms involved in growth, DNA segregation, cell division and cell morphogenesis. Similarly, the temporal and spatial mechanisms regulating these essential processes remain largely elusive. We address these fundamental questions using genetics, biochemistry, quantitative fluorescence microscopy and modeling.

  • PhD, University of Liege, Belgium, 1996
  • MS, University of Liege, Belgium, 1991
  • Campos M, Surovtsev IV, Kato S, Paintdakhi A, Beltran B, Ebmeier SE, Jacobs-Wagner C (2014). A constant size extension drives bacterial cell size homeostasis. Cell 159:1433-46.
  • Lim HC, Surovtsev IV, Beltran BG, Huang F, Bewersdorf J, Jacobs-Wagner C (2014). Evidence for a DNA-relay mechanism in ParABS-mediated chromosome segregation. Elife 3:e02758.
  • Parry BR, Surovtsev IV, Cabeen MT, O'Hern CS, Dufresne ER, Jacobs-Wagner C (2014) The bacterial cytoplasm has glass-like properties and is fluidized by metabolic activity. Cell 156:183-94.
  • Laloux G and Jacobs-Wagner C. (2013) Spatiotemporal control of PopZ localization through cell cycle-coupled multimerization. J Cell Biol 201:827-41.
  • Montero Llopis P, Jackson AF, Sliusarenko O, Surovtsev I, Heinritz J, Emonet T, and Jacobs-Wagner C. (2010) Spatial organization of the flow of genetic information in bacteria. NAture, 466:77-81.
International activities
  • Cell morphogenesis in Caulobacter crescentus
    Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom (2004-2013)
    1. Investigation of how cytoskeletal elements affect cell wall morphogenesis in bacteria 2. Analysis of peptidoglycan composition in C. crescentus

    Newcastle University, Newcastle University

  • Ely Lilly Award
  • WALS lecture
  • Women in Cell Biology award
  • Grand Prize Winner of the Young Scientist Award
  • National Academy of Sciences
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator appointment
  • Pew Scholarship Award in the Biomedical Sciences
  • Finalist, Blatvanik Award for Young Scientists