Harvard University - Department of Molecular & Cellular Biology

DANIEL NEEDLEMAN

Needleman
Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics and Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology

Email: dan.needleman@gmail.com
Phone: 617-384-6730

Mail: NW 365.10
Northwest Building
52 Oxford St
Cambridge, MA  02138

The Needleman Lab
Members of the Needleman Lab
List of Publications from PubMed

Courses

MCB 304. Experimental Biological Physics and Quantitative Cell Biology
Catalog Number: 5730  View Course Website
Term: Fall Term And Spring Term 2014-2015.
Instructor: Daniel Needleman
Course Level: Exclusively for Graduates
APPHY 371. Biological Physics and Quantitative Biology
Catalog Number: 6003  View Course Website
Term: Fall Term And Spring Term 2014-2015.
Instructor: Daniel Needleman
Course Level: Exclusively for Graduates
APPHY 372. Biological Physics and Quantitative Biology
Catalog Number: 9040  View Course Website
Term: Fall Term And Spring Term 2014-2015.
Instructor: Daniel Needleman
Course Level: Exclusively for Graduates
BE 160. Chemical Kinetics and Reactor Design
Catalog Number: 63346  View Course Website
Term: Fall Term 2014-2015.
Instructor: Daniel Needleman
Course Level: For Undergraduates and Graduates
Description: Introduction to chemical kinetics and reactor design with applications to bioengineering, chemical engineering, environmental sciences and other areas.
Prerequisite(s): Applied Math 21a (Mathematical Methods in Science); Introductory chemistry course at the level of Life Sciences 1a, or Life and Physical Sciences A.
Meetings: Tu., Th., 2:30-4
BIOPHYS 325. Physics of Macromolecular Assemblies and Subcellular Organization
Catalog Number: 15517  View Course Website
Term: Fall Term And Spring Term 2014-2015.
Instructor: Daniel Needleman
Course Level: Exclusively for Graduates
ENG-SCI 212. Quantitative Cell Biology: Self-Organization and Cellular Architecture
Catalog Number: 30956  View Course Website
Term: [Fall Term .]
Instructor: Daniel Needleman
Course Level: Primarily for Graduates
Description: Cell biology - from foundations to current research topics. Intended for students without cell/molecular biology training. Cell architecture, molecular and phenomenological aspects, signaling, organelle form/function, trafficking, quantitative experimental techniques, models of cellular organization and dynamics.
Note: Offered in alternate years.
Meetings: Tu., Th., 10-11:30
(View all MCB Courses)

Research

The Needleman laboratory investigates how the cooperative behaviors of molecules give rise to the architecture and dynamics of self-organizing subcellular structures. Our long term goal is to use our knowledge of subcellular structures to quantitatively understand and predict biological behaviors, and to determine if there are general principles which govern these nonequilibrium steady-state systems.

Our work focuses on studying the spindle, the self-organizing structure that segregates chromosomes during cell division. Even though the overall structure of the spindle can remain unchanged for hours, the molecules that make up the spindle undergo rapid turnover with a half-life of tens of seconds or less, and if the spindle is damaged, or even totally destroyed, it can repair itself. While many of the individual components of the spindle have been studied in detail, it is still unclear how these molecular constituents self-organize into this structure and how this leads to the internal balance of forces that are harnessed to divide the chromosomes.

We use a combination of quantitative experiments and theory to study how the spindle assembles, positions itself, and segregates chromosomes. We also investigate the variation in spindles between and within species, and if errors in mitochondria function contribute to the errors in cell division that underlie age relater infertility. We employ a range of methods from single molecule tracking, to magnetic tweezers, to high resolution microscopy, to automated image analysis, to laser ablation, complemented by biochemical, molecular, and quantitative genetic approaches. In addition, we are developing novel experimental techniques based on fluorescence fluctuation spectroscopy, fluorescence lifetime microscopy, and nonlinear optics.

updated: 10/18/2016