Home People Facilities Research Calendar News Positions Contact Us

Staff & Operations
Postdoctoral Scholars


Board Members

Oskar J. Painter
Nai-Chang Yeh

Harry A. Atwater, Jr.
Julia R. Greer
James R. Heath
Nathan S. Lewis
Michael Roukes
Axel Scherer
Keith C. Schwab
Kerry J. Vahala


image Michael Elowitz
Professor of Biology and Applied Physics; Bren Scholar

B.A., University of California, 1992; M.A., Ph.D., Princeton University, 1999.

phone: 626.395.8871
location: 163 Broad
mail code: 114-96

Research Group |

We are interested in how genetic circuits, composed of interacting genes and proteins, enable individual cells to make decisions, oscillate, and communicate with one another. To learn about these issues, we develop and use several experimental techniques:

  • We build our own synthetic genetic circuits and study their functions. These synthetic circuits are simpler counterparts to the complex circuits one finds in nature. This approach is often called "synthetic biology."
  • We make time-lapse movies to quantitatively observe dynamics of natural and synthetic genetic circuits in individual cells. These experiments take advantage of multiple fluorescent proteins to observe several parts of a circuit simultaneously in the same cell.
  • We study variability within cell populations, and try to understand how genetic circuits generate variability, through intrinsic noise, use such variability (for differentiation), or operate reliably in spite of variability.

Projects in the lab also make extensive use of relatively simple theoretical models of genetic circuits.




The KNI is located in Steele Laboratory
kni@caltech.edu | 626.395.1547
1200 East California Boulevard, 107-81, Pasadena, CA USA 91125
KNI at Caltech
©2009 Caltech. All Rights Reserved.