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Michael J. Rust, PhD

Bacteria are an ancient form of life that occupies almost every conceivable niche, from pathogenesis to commensal existence with an animal host to primary production in oceans and lake. Despite their apparent simplicity, bacteria possess sophisticated biochemical networks that dynamically store information about the size and status of the cell and conditions in the external environment. These biochemical systems allow precise decision making that allow microbes to thrive in challenging conditions. Our lab is interested in the design principles of these reaction networks. We use a multidisciplinary approach: biochemical reconstitution of the underlying interactions, single cell microscopy to study function, and mathematical modeling to rebuild systems in silico. A major focus area is bacterial circadian rhythms, which allow single cells to predict the time of day.

Determining subunit-subunit interaction from statistics of cryo-EM images: observation of nearest-neighbor coupling in a circadian clock protein complex.
Determining subunit-subunit interaction from statistics of cryo-EM images: observation of nearest-neighbor coupling in a circadian clock protein complex. Nat Commun. 2023 09 22; 14(1):5907.
PMID: 37737245

Timed material self-assembly controlled by circadian clock proteins.
Timed material self-assembly controlled by circadian clock proteins. ArXiv. 2023 Mar 01.
PMID: 36911279

KidA, a multi-PAS domain protein, tunes the period of the cyanobacterial circadian oscillator.
KidA, a multi-PAS domain protein, tunes the period of the cyanobacterial circadian oscillator. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2022 09 13; 119(37):e2202426119.
PMID: 36067319

Biological rhythms: The suspended animation clock.
Biological rhythms: The suspended animation clock. Curr Biol. 2021 12 06; 31(23):R1532-R1534.
PMID: 34875245

The circadian clock ensures successful DNA replication in cyanobacteria.
The circadian clock ensures successful DNA replication in cyanobacteria. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 05 18; 118(20).
PMID: 33972427

Roadmap on biology in time varying environments.
Roadmap on biology in time varying environments. Phys Biol. 2021 05 17; 18(4).
PMID: 33477124

Daily Cycles of Reversible Protein Condensation in Cyanobacteria.
Daily Cycles of Reversible Protein Condensation in Cyanobacteria. Cell Rep. 2020 08 18; 32(7):108032.
PMID: 32814039

Bayesian modeling reveals metabolite-dependent ultrasensitivity in the cyanobacterial circadian clock.
Bayesian modeling reveals metabolite-dependent ultrasensitivity in the cyanobacterial circadian clock. Mol Syst Biol. 2020 06; 16(6):e9355.
PMID: 32496641

Kalman-like Self-Tuned Sensitivity in Biophysical Sensing.
Kalman-like Self-Tuned Sensitivity in Biophysical Sensing. Cell Syst. 2019 Nov 27; 9(5):459-465.e6.
PMID: 31563474

Geographically Resolved Rhythms in Twitter Use Reveal Social Pressures on Daily Activity Patterns.
Geographically Resolved Rhythms in Twitter Use Reveal Social Pressures on Daily Activity Patterns. Curr Biol. 2018 12 03; 28(23):3763-3775.e5.
PMID: 30449672

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Pew Scholar
2014 - 2018