This is the home page of Fred Chang's laboratory in Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Columbia University Medical School, New York City, New York. The Chang lab studies how cells divide and grow and in general is interested in how cells are built.
We are interested in some very basic questions in cell biology: How do cells determine where they should divide, and where should they polarize? How do cellular components assemble into an entity with a defined shape and size, with discrete functional compartments? How do cells determine their shape and size, and how might they monitor their own shape and size? How does pattern formation occur in the single cell?
Our work delves into understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying these processes. We are interested in how microtubules and actin filaments are organized in the cell and how they specify sites of growth and division. Some of our favorite molecules include formins and microtubule plus end binding proteins. Our approach is interdisciplinary ("systems biology"), often combining the input of biologists, physicists, and engineers.
We primarily use a simple eukaryotic model organism, the fission yeast
Schizosaccharomyces pombe. And as a counterpoint, we are also examining other types of cells such as sea urchins as well.