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About Jaan Männik

I am interested in understanding how DNA, proteins and lipids self-organize in bacterial cells and give rise to cellular structures. The questions which my lab members and I address are: How prokaryotic cells position cell division proteins? How are bacterial chromosomes organized and what role they play in cell division process? How robust are cell division and chromosomal organization to perturbations in cell shape? We use Escherichia coli as a model organism to quantitatively describe dynamics of these self-organizing processes. The main experimental tool in my laboratory is fluorescence microscopy, which we combine with quantitative image analysis to achieve nanometer- scale resolution. We also design and fabricate cellular environments that are structured at micro- and nanoscale. These so called cell chips allow us to control and alter cells’ physical and chemical environment and follow cellular responses in time. In addition to experimental work, I am also interested in providing a theoretical description of self-organizing processes in cells based on physical principles. In this work we combine statistical mechanics, polymer physics and theory of elasticity.

Positions

Present Assistant Professor of Physics, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
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Honors and Awards

  • NSF CAREER Award, 2013

Articles (14)