Harvard University - Department of Molecular & Cellular Biology

MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF TUTORS

Nelson, David, Ph.D.

Department of Physics, Harvard University

http://www.physics.harvard.edu/people/facpages/nelson.html

profile_image Much of Dr. Nelson's recent research has focused on problems that bridge the gap between the physical and biological sciences. Early work explored population dynamics in the presence of varying growth rates and convection, leading to universal predictions for the spreading and transverse profile of populations in space- and time-dependent environments. Together with his student, David Lubensky, Nelson developed a theory of force-induced denaturation of double-stranded DNA. Sequence heterogeneity dominates the dynamics of the un-zipping fork (with possible implications for DNA replication in prokaryotes) over a large of forces above an unzipping transition. Energy barriers near the transition scale as the square root of the genome size. Recent observations of jumps and plateaus in the unzipping of lambda phage DNA at constant force (the result of a collaboration with his colleague, Mara Prentiss) are consistent with these predictions. Sequence heterogeneity was also predicted to have a re-markable effect on the dynamics of motor proteins such as helicases, exonulceases and RNA polymerases, leading to sublinear drift in time of these complex enzymes and a possible expla-nation for the nearly horizontal velocity-force curves observed near the stall force in experi-ments on RNA polymerase. Nelson and colleagues have also studied the shapes of viruses, showing that the icosahedral packing of protein capsomeres of spherical viruses becomes un-stable to faceting for sufficiently large virus size. A parametization of the architecture of virus shells in terms of single dimensionless "von Karman number" shows why small viruses are round and large ones are faceted, and allows important information about the elastic constants to be extracted from electron micrographs.

next tutor: Olesen, James

Below is a listing of current tutors:

  • (1)   Aldovini, Anna , M.D., Division of Infectious Diseases, Children's Hospital
  • (2)   Auld, David , Ph.D., Department of Biology, Boston College
  • (3)   Ausubel, Frederick , Ph.D., Department of Molecular Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • (4)   Berg, Howard , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (5)   Brenner, Michael , Ph.D., Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University
  • (6)   Brenner, Tamara , Ph.D., Life Sciences Division, Harvard University
  • (7)   Buratowski, Stephen , Ph.D., BCMP, Harvard Medical School
  • (8)   Burton, Briana , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (9)   Carroll, Michael , Ph.D., CBR Institute for Biomedical Research, Harvard Medical School
  • (10)   Chen, Bing , Ph.D., Laboratory of Molecular Medicine, Children's Hospital
  • (11)   Chou, James , Ph.D., BCMP, Harvard Medical School
  • (12)   Clapham, David , M.D., Ph.D., Department of Neurobiology, Children's Hospital
  • (13)   Clardy, John , Ph.D., BCMP, Harvard Medical School
  • (14)   D'Souza, Victoria , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (15)   DePace, Angela , Ph.D., Department of Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School
  • (16)   Dulac, Catherine , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (17)   Eck, Michael , M.D., Ph.D., BCMP, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • (18)   Eggan, Kevin , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (19)   Engert, Florian , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (20)   Erikson, Raymond , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (21)   Fisher, David , M.D., Ph.D., Department of Pediatrics, Dana Farber Cancer Institute
  • (22)   Fraenkel, Dan , Ph.D., Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School
  • (23)   Fraenkel, Ernest , Ph.D., Division of Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • (24)   Fraenkel, Paula , M.D., Hematology/Oncology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
  • (25)   Gaudet, Rachelle , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (26)   Goldfeld, Anne , M.D., CBR Institute for Biomedical Research, Harvard Medical School
  • (27)   Goldstein, Richard , Ph.D., Professor of Pediatrics, Boston Medical Center
  • (28)   Gray, Nathanael , Ph.D., BCMP, Harvard Medical School
  • (29)   Guidotti, Guido , M.D., Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (30)   Haigis, Marcia , Ph.D., Department of Pathology, Harvard Medical School
  • (31)   Harrison, Stephen , Ph.D., BCMP, Harvard Medical School
  • (32)   Hedley, Mary Lynne , Ph.D., MGI Pharma Biologics
  • (33)   Hinds, Philip , Ph.D., Molecular Oncology Research Institute, Tufts - New England Medical Center
  • (34)   Hung, Deborah , M.D., Ph.D., Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School
  • (35)   Hunter, Craig , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (36)   Jasanoff, Alan , Ph.D., Nuclear Engineering/Brain & Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • (37)   Kahne, Daniel , Ph.D., Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University
  • (38)   Kay, Jeremy , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (39)   Kieff, Elliott , M.D., Ph.D., Channing Laboratory, Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • (40)   Kirchhausen, Tomas , Ph.D., CBR Institute for Biomedical Research, Harvard Medical School
  • (41)   Kishony, Roy , Ph.D., Department of Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School
  • (42)   Kleckner, Nancy , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (43)   Kolter, Roberto , Ph.D., Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School
  • (44)   Kopcow, Hernan , Ph.D., Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
  • (45)   Kunes, Samuel , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (46)   Lahav, Galit , Ph.D., Department of Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School
  • (47)   Leschziner, Andres , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (48)   Liberles, Stephen , Ph.D., Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School
  • (49)   Lichtman, Jeff , M.D., Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (50)   Lieberman, Judy , M.D., Ph.D., CBR Institute for Biomedical Research, Harvard Medical School
  • (51)   Lilley, Brendan , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (52)   Livingston, David , M.D., Department of Genetics, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • (53)   Loeken, Mary , Ph.D., Developmental and Stem Cell Biology, Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Medical School
  • (54)   Losick, Richard , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (55)   Lue, Robert , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (56)   Magasanik, Boris , Ph.D., Biology Department, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • (57)   McKeon, Frank , Ph.D., Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School
  • (58)   Michel, Thomas , M.D., Ph.D., Cardiovascular Division, Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • (59)   Miller, Jeffrey , Ph.D., Neuromuscular Biology & Disease Group, Boston Biomedical Research Institute
  • (60)   Miller, Theodore , Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer, Reify Corporation
  • (61)   Moazed, Danesh , Ph.D., Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School
  • (62)   Murthy, Venkatesh , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (63)   Navia, Manuel , , Oxford Bioscience Partners
  • (64)   Nelson, David , Ph.D., Department of Physics, Harvard University
  • (65)   Olesen, James , Ph.D., Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Door LLP
  • (66)   Peattie, Debra , MBA, Ph.D., Harvard University
  • (67)   Ranjbar, Shahin , Ph.D., Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School
  • (68)   Rheinwald, James , Ph.D., Department of Dermatology, Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • (69)   Rivera-Feliciano, Jose , Ph.D., Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, Harvard University
  • (70)   Sabeti, Pardis , D.Phil, M.D., FAS Center for Systems Biology, Harvard University
  • (71)   Sanes, Joshua , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (72)   Sassanfar, Mandana , Ph.D., Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • (73)   Sato, Vicki , Ph.D., Technology and Operations Management, Harvard Business School
  • (74)   Schier, Alexander , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (75)   Shamu, Caroline , Ph.D., Department of Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School
  • (76)   Shi, Yang , Ph.D., Department of Pathology, Harvard Medical School
  • (77)   Silberstein, Lev , M.D., Ph.D., Harvard University
  • (78)   Starnbach, Michael , Ph.D., Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School
  • (79)   Stern, Bodo , Ph.D., FAS Center for Systems Biology, Harvard University
  • (80)   Stern, Joel N.H. , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (81)   Strominger, Jack , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (82)   Sweadner, Kathleen , M.D., Harvard University
  • (83)   Tong, Jeffrey , Ph.D., Nora Therapeutics
  • (84)   Torello, A. Thomas , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (85)   Toth, Joseph , Ph.D., Merrimack Pharmaceuticals
  • (86)   Tucci, Greg , Ph.D., Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University
  • (87)   Vaughan, Cheryl , Ph.D., Graduate Program in Biotechnology, Harvard University
  • (88)   Viel, Alain , Ph.D., Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • (89)   Walker, Suzanne , Ph.D., Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School
  • (90)   Winston, Fred , Ph.D., Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School