Harvard University - Department of Molecular & Cellular Biology

DANIEL NEEDLEMAN

Needleman
Associate Professor of Applied Physics and of Molecular and Cellular Biology

Email: dneedle@seas.harvard.edu
Phone: 617-384-6730

Mail: NW 365.10
Northwest Building
52 Oxford St
Cambridge, MA  02138

The Needleman Lab
Members of the Needleman Lab

Courses

MCB 304. Experimental Biological Physics and Quantitative Cell Biology
Catalog Number: 5730  View Course Website
Term: Fall Term; Repeated Spring Term 2013-2014.   Credit: Half course.
Instructor: Daniel Needleman
Course Level: Graduate Course
APPHY 371. Biological Physics and Quantitative Biology
Catalog Number: 6003  View Course Website
Term: Fall Term; Repeated Spring Term 2013-2014.   Credit: Half course.
Instructor: Daniel Needleman
Course Level: Graduate Course
APPHY 372. Biological Physics and Quantitative Biology
Catalog Number: 9040  View Course Website
Term: Fall Term; Repeated Spring Term 2013-2014.   Credit: Half course.
Instructor: Daniel Needleman
Course Level: Graduate Course
BIOPHYS 325. Physics of Macromolecular Assemblies and Subcellular Organization
Catalog Number: 15517  View Course Website
Term: Fall Term; Repeated Spring Term 2013-2014.   Credit: Half course.
Instructor: Daniel Needleman
Course Level: Graduate Course
ENG-SCI 123. Introduction to Fluid Mechanics and Transport Processes
Catalog Number: 8323  View Course Website
Term: Spring Term 2013-2014.   Credit: Half course.
Instructors: Daniel Needleman, Shmuel Rubinstein
Course Level: For Undergraduates and Graduates
Description: Dimensional analysis. Basic elements of steady and unsteady thermal conduction and mass diffusion. Statics and dynamics of fluids. Buoyancy-stability and hydrostatics. Laminar viscous flows, potential flows, origin of lift, and basic aspects of boundary layers. Navier-Stokes and continuity equations. Applications in aerodynamics, chemical, environmental, and mechanical engineering, and physics.
Prerequisite(s): Applied Mathematics 21a,b or Mathematics 21a,b.
Meetings: M., W., F., at 10, and laboratory.
ENG-SCI 212. Quantitative Cell Biology: Self-Organization and Cellular Architecture
Catalog Number: 30956  View Course Website
Term: [Fall Term 2014-2015.]   Credit: Half course.
Instructor: Daniel Needleman
Course Level: Primarily for Graduates
Description: Cell biology - from foundations to current research topics. Intended for students without cell/molecular biology training. Cell architecture, molecular and phenomenological aspects, signaling, organelle form/function, trafficking, quantitative experimental techniques, models of cellular organization and dynamics.
Note: Offered in alternate years.
Meetings: Tu., Th., 10-11:30
(View all MCB Courses)

Research

The Needleman laboratory investigates how the cooperative behaviors of molecules give rise to the architecture and dynamics of self-organizing subcellular structures.  Our long term goal is to use our knowledge of subcellular structures to quantitatively predict biological behaviors and to determine if there are general principles which govern these nonequilibrium steady-state systems.

Our work focuses on studying the spindle, the self-organizing molecular machine that segregates chromosomes during cell division.  Even though the overall structure of the spindle can remain unchanged for hours, the molecules that make up the spindle undergo rapid turnover with a half-life of tens of seconds or less, and if the spindle is damaged, or even totally destroyed, it can repair itself.  While many of the individual components of the spindle have been studied in detail, it is still unclear how these molecular constituents self-organize into this structure and how this leads to the internal balance of forces that are harnessed to divide the chromosomes.

We use a combination of quantitative experiments and theory to study spindle architecture and dynamics.  We employ a range of methods from single molecule tracking, to magnetic tweezers, to high resolution fluorescence and polarized light microscopy, complemented by biochemical and genetic perturbations.  In addition, we are developing novel forms of fluorescence correlation spectroscopy and new image analysis methods for optical and electron microscopy.

updated: 04/22/2014