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Faculty: HOWARD BERG

Herchel Smith Professor of Physics and Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Emeritus 

Prof. Howard Berg   Harvard Biological Laboratories, Room 3063
16 Divinity Avenue 
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 495-0924
hberg@mcb.harvard.edu

 Research group

We study bacteria, the simplest free-living single-celled organisms. We are interested in how they sense changes in their environment, analyze sensory data, and respond in a purposeful manner. Our quest is an understanding of behavior at the molecular level, especially behavior involving chemical stimuli (chemotaxis). Our primary subject is the peritrichously-flagellated bacterium Escherichia coli, that lives in your gut. We are trying to learn how its flagellar motors work, how their directions of rotation are controlled by the cell's sensory-transduction network, and what effect that rotation has on modes of flagellar propulsion. Our main interest is free-swimming cells, but we also study cells that swarm (swim in a coordinated manner over moist surfaces), or twitch (Pseudomonas) or glide (Cytophaga,Mycoplasma).