Luke H. Chao (He/ Him/ His)

Luke H. Chao (He/ Him/ His)

Assistant Professor
Department of Molecular Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital
Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School
Luke Chao Photo
Our group is interested in understanding the structural and biophysical determinants of membrane morphology. Active areas of interest include: mitochondrial dynamics (and cristae morphology), bacterial ultrastructure, and plasma membrane projections.
We apply an integrative approach (including cryo-EM, cryo-ET and in vitro reconstitution) to capture protein/membrane assemblies in action.

We're fascinated by the dialogue between macromolecular machines and their environment. Proteins shape membranes by converting energy into motion. In turn, proteins respond to signals from their local membrane environment.
Questions that excite us include:
How membrane lipid composition and distribution influences protein conformational change and subcellular dynamics?
How physical forces influence structural change across multiple membranes?
How evolution shapes the regulation of membrane assemblies?
Cellular environments are an exciting frontier to understand molecular and cellular shape change. We are interested in understanding these relationships under different physiological states, in specific tissue environments, and in disease.
Current Lab Members:
1 Graduate Student
5 Postdoctoral Fellows
Selected Publications:

Navarro PP, Vettiger A, Ananda VY, Llopis PM, Allolio C, Bernhardt TG, Chao LH. Cell wall synthesis and remodeling dynamics determine bacterial division site architecture and cell shape. [preprint]. 2021 October. Available from: doi: 10.1101/2021.10.02.462887.

Sloutsky R, Dziedzic N, Dunn MJ, Bates RM, Torres-Ocampo AP, Boopathy S, Page B, Weeks JG, Chao LH, Stratton MM. Heterogeneity in human hippocampal CaMKII transcripts reveals allosteric hub-dependent regulation. Sci Signal. 2020 Jul 21;13(641). doi: 10.1126/scisignal.aaz0240. PubMed PMID: 32694170; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC7654443.

Ge Y, Shi X, Boopathy S, McDonald J, Smith AW, Chao LH. Two forms of Opa1 cooperate to complete fusion of the mitochondrial inner-membrane. Elife. 2020 Jan 10;9. doi: 10.7554/eLife.50973. PubMed PMID: 31922487; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC7299343.

Contact Information

185 Cambridge Street, Simches Research Building, CPZN 6.808
Boston, MA 02114
p: (617) 724-2323

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