Harvard University - Department of Molecular & Cellular Biology

HOWARD C. BERG

Berg
Herchel Smith Professor of Physics
Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology

Email: hberg@mcb.harvard.edu
Phone: 617-495-0924

Mail: BL 3063A
The Biological Labs
16 Divinity Ave
Cambridge, MA  02138

Berg Lab Website
Members of the Berg Lab
List of Publications from PubMed

Courses

MCB 212. Topics in Biophysics
Catalog Number: 3351  View Course Website
Term: [Spring Term 2014-2015.]   Credit: Half course.
Instructor: Howard Berg
Course Level: Primarily for Graduates
Description: Motility and sensory transduction; chemotaxis in bacteria; flagellar motility; prokaryotic and eukaryotic motor molecules.
Note: Offered in alternate years. A term paper and seminar are required.
Meetings: F., 2:30-4
MCB 378. Motile Behavior of Bacteria
Catalog Number: 5729  View Course Website
Term: Fall Term; Repeated Spring Term 2013-2014.   Credit: Half course.
Instructor: Howard Berg
Course Level: Graduate Course
BIOPHYS 309. Motile Behavior of Bacteria
Catalog Number: 2070  View Course Website
Term: Fall Term; Repeated Spring Term 2013-2014.   Credit: Half course.
Instructor: Howard Berg
Course Level: Graduate Course
FRSEMR 22u. E. coli in Motion
Catalog Number: 28895  View Course Website
Term: Fall Term 2013-2014.   Credit: Half course.
Instructor: Howard Berg
Course Level: Primarily for Undergraduates
Description: The bacterium Escherichia coli lives in your gut. It is a model system for understanding how cells monitor their environment and respond by moving in a purposeful manner. We will learn about the microscopic world in which E. coli lives and the mechanisms that it has devised to make its way in this world.
Note: Open to Freshmen only.
Prerequisite(s): A reasonably strong background in high-school science, mainly math and chemistry.
Meetings: W., 2:30-4:30
PHYSICS 385a. Topics in Biophysics
Catalog Number: 5901  View Course Website
Term: Fall Term; Repeated Spring Term 2013-2014.   Credit: Half course.
Instructor: Howard Berg
Course Level: Graduate Course
PHYSICS 385b. Topics in Biophysics
Catalog Number: 5902  View Course Website
Term: Fall Term; Repeated Spring Term 2013-2014.   Credit: Half course.
Instructor: Howard Berg
Course Level: Graduate Course
(View all MCB Courses)

Research

Motile behavior of bacteria

Flagellated bacteria possess a remarkable motility system based on a reversible rotary motor linked by a flexible coupling (the proximal hook) to a thin helical propeller (the flagellar filament). The motor derives its energy from protons driven into the cell by chemical gradients or electrical fields. The direction of the motor rotation depends in part on signals generated by sensory systems, of which the best studied analyzes chemical stimuli. Our research group is trying to learn how the motor works, the nature of the signal that controls the motor's direction of rotation, and how this signal is processed by the chemical sensory system. These questions are being approached by a variety of molecular-genetic and physical techniques. The goal is an understanding of chemiosmotic coupling and sensory transduction at the molecular level.

Publications

Berg, H.C. E coli in Motion. New York: Springer-Verlag. 2003

Berg, H.C. Random Walks in Biology. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Revised 1993

Berg, H.C. (2000) Motile behavior of bacteria. Physics Today 53 (1), 24-29.

Berg, H.C. (2003) The rotary motor of bacterial flagella. Annu. Rev. Biochem. 72, 19-54.

Turner, L., Ryu, W.S. and Berg, H.C. (2000) Real-time imaging of fluorescent flagellar filaments. J. Bacteriol. 182, 2793-2801 (2000).

Skerker, J.M. and Berg, H.C. (2001) Direct observation of extension and retraction of type IV pili. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 98, 6901-6904.

Sourjik, V. and Berg, H.C. (2002) Receptor sensitivity in bacterial chemotaxis. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 99, 123-127.

CV with complete list of publications

updated: 04/22/2014