Fred Chang, PhD, MD

Department of Cell & Tissue Biology
+1 415 476-8922
Research Description: 

The Chang Lab studies fundamental questions concerning spatial organization within a single cell: How are cell shape and size determined? How do cells sense their own size, or their shape? How do molecular dynamics and cell mechanics contribute to determine the growth, size and shape of cells? To address these questions, we study primarily the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. These are rod-shaped eukaryotic cells that display a highly uniform size and morphology. Many of our studies use live cell imaging and image analyses to develop quantitative models. Current projects include: regulation of cell size and growth, cytoplasmic density and turgor pressure, cell wall assembly, cytokinesis, and microtubule regulation. We use interdisciplinary approaches, combining the expertise and perspectives of cell biologists, geneticists, physicists, engineers and modelers.

Primary Thematic Area: 
Cancer Biology & Cell Signaling
Secondary Thematic Area: 
Virology & Microbial Pathogenesis
Research Summary: 
We study the regulation of cell size and shape in fission yeast S. pombe
Mentorship Development: 

4/12/19    Acknowleding and Negotiating the Mentee-Mentor Tensions Inherent in the Research Lab (Parnassus)
4/29/19    Sharpening your Mentoring Skills (SyMS) with Sharon Milgram (Parnassus)
2/16/21   Three Truths & Three Tries: Facing & Overcoming Critical Social Justice Challenges at the Micro, Mezzo & Macro Levels



Physical properties of the cytoplasm modulate the rates of microtubule polymerization and depolymerization.

Developmental cell

Molines AT, Lemière J, Gazzola M, Steinmark IE, Edrington CH, Hsu CT, Real-Calderon P, Suhling K, Goshima G, Holt LJ, Thery M, Brouhard GJ, Chang F

Starvation induces shrinkage of the bacterial cytoplasm.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Shi H, Westfall CS, Kao J, Odermatt PD, Anderson SE, Cesar S, Sievert M, Moore J, Gonzalez CG, Zhang L, Elias JE, Chang F, Huang KC, Levin PA

Variations of intracellular density during the cell cycle arise from tip-growth regulation in fission yeast.


Odermatt PD, Miettinen TP, Lemiere J, Kang JH, Bostan E, Manalis SR, Huang KC, Chang F

Precise regulation of the relative rates of surface area and volume synthesis in bacterial cells growing in dynamic environments.

Nature communications

Shi H, Hu Y, Odermatt PD, Gonzalez CG, Zhang L, Elias JE, Chang F, Huang KC

Decoupling of Rates of Protein Synthesis from Cell Expansion Leads to Supergrowth.

Cell systems

Knapp BD, Odermatt P, Rojas ER, Cheng W, He X, Huang KC, Chang F