Xingbo Yang

Curriculum vitae

[email protected]

Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and Department of Applied Physics

Harvard University

Northwest Lab Building
52 Oxford Street
Cambridge MA 02138

[email protected]

Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and Department of Applied Physics

Harvard University

Northwest Lab Building
52 Oxford Street
Cambridge MA 02138


I am a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University working at Dan Needleman's lab. My research resides at the interface of physics and biology. I have a broad research background. I was trained as a theoretical physicist for my PhD in soft condensed matter physics at Syracuse University working with Cristina Marchetti. I then worked on developmental biology during my first postdoctoral training at Northwestern University. Currently at Harvard, I am independently performing both quantitative experiments and biophysical modeling in cell metabolism. I am interested in bioenergetics of self-organization. Self-organization is the spontaneous emergence of order in a system from the interactions of the system's components. Many biological processes involve self-organization. Examples include remodeling of cytoskeleton during cell division, morphogenesis in embryonic development and animal flocking. Self-organization usually requires the dissipation of energy. My goal is to understand the interplay between energy dissipation and self-organization in biology. My approach is to combine modeling with experiments to study biological systems quantitatively.


Metabolic state of human blastocysts measured by fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy

M. Venturas, J. S. Shah, X. Yang, T. H. Sanchez, W. Conway, D. Sakkas, D. J. Needleman

Human Reproduction, 2022 Jan 6

Metabolic imaging of human cumulus cells reveals associations among metabolic profiles of cumulus cells, patient clinical factors, and oocyte maturity

Marta Venturas, Xingbo Yang, Kishlay Kumar, Dagan Wells, Catherine Racowsky, Daniel J. Needleman

Fertility and Sterility, 2021 Sep 2

Physical bioenergetics: Energy fluxes, budgets, and constraints in cells.

Xingbo Yang, Matthias Heinemann, Jonathon Howard, Greg Huber, Srividya Iyer-Biswas, Guillaume Le Treut, Michael Lynch, Kristi L Montooth, Daniel J Needleman, Simone Pigolotti, Jonathan Rodenfels, Pierre Ronceray, Sadasivan Shankar, Sadasivan Shankar, Sadasivan Shankar, Iman Tavassoly, Shashi Thutupalli, Denis V Titov, Jin Wang, Peter J Foster

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 118(26), 2021 May 28

Spatial gradient sensing and chemotaxis via excitability in Dictyostelium discoideum.

Daniel P. Shams, Xingbo Yang, Pankaj Mehta, David J. Schwab

Physical Review E, vol. 101(6), 2020 May 11, pp. 62410-62410

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Cellular Energetics (current)

The objective of this project is to understand the spatiotemporal dynamics of energy usage in cells, how cells partition energy into different cellular processes and the associated energetic constraints.

Tissue mechanics and morphogenesis (current)

We are developing techniques to measure and model mechanical forces in tissues and embryos. The goal is to understand how mechanical forces impact collective cell migration and morphogenesis.

Self-organization of active particles (current)

Active particles dissipate free energy to move. I am studying how global order emerges from the interactions of a group of active particles. These model systems help understand cytoskeletal remodeling, morphogenesis and animal flocking.

Mechanosensing and chemotaxis (past)

Cells can sense their environment through mechanical or chemical cues. We explored how cells sense their environment and adapt their motion.

Division-control in freshwater planarians (past)

Planarians are multicellular flatworms that are capable of asexual reproduction through fission and regeneration. We studied how planarians control their divisions over their life cycle.