Living systems make decisions by integrating information from their environments in order to optimize their own fitness. This decision-making process has many intricacies, with a dual nature characterized by stochasticity and determinism, and considerable effort has been dedicated to characterizing the factors contributing to cell-fate heterogeneity. Our primary goal is to determine how multiple environmental and genetic factors, some deterministic and some stochastic, impact developmental outcomes. We choose to study paradigms of cellular decision-making such as bacteriophage lambda lytic-lysogenic development to simplify the complicated nature of cell-fate selection. By distilling the study of a ubiquitous and vital process into basic questions, we hope to generate new insights into how decision-making affects cellular development and differentiation in higher organisms.
We utilize high-resolution live-cell fluorescence microscopy, single-molecule fluorescence microscopy, quantitative data analysis, and simple mathematical modeling to mechanistically dissect the decision-making processes at single-cell/molecule levels. Our favorite biological models are the lysis-lysogeny systems of bacteria and their viruses, like E. coli being infected by paradigm phages lambda and P1. By revisiting established systems with a new, technologically advanced perspective, we are able to reveal previously hidden complexities to better understand the nature of living cells.
- University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign - (Urbana, Illinois, United States), Postdoctoral Training 2011
- Ph.D. in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, minor in Computer Science and Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign - (Urbana, Illinois, United States) 2007
- Kishida, K., Bosserman, R. E., Harb, L., Khara, P., Song, L., Hu, B. o., Zeng, L., & Christie, P. J. (2022). Contributions of Fspecific subunits to the F
plasmidencodedtype IVsecretion system and F pilus. Molecular Microbiology.
- Gonzales, M. F., Piya, D. K., Koehler, B., Zhang, K., Yu, Z., Zeng, L., & Gill, J. J. (2022). New Insights into the Structure and Assembly of Bacteriophage P1. Viruses. 14(4), 678-678.
- Zhang, K., Pankratz, K., Duong, H., Theodore, M., Guan, J., Jiang, A. A., Lin, Y., & Zeng, L. (2021). Interactions between Viral Regulatory Proteins Ensure an MOI-Independent Probability of Lysogeny during Infection by Bacteriophage P1. mBio. 12(5), e01013-e01021.
- Costa, T., Harb, L., Khara, P., Zeng, L., Hu, B. o., & Christie, P. J. (2021). Type IV secretion systems: Advances in structure, function, and activation. Molecular Microbiology. 115(3), 436-452.
- Trinh, J. T., Shao, Q., Guan, J., & Zeng, L. (2020). Emerging heterogeneous compartments by viruses in single bacterial cells. Nature Communications. 11(1), 3813.
- Cortes, M. G., Lin, Y., Zeng, L., & Balzsi, G. (2021). From Bench to Keyboard and Back Again: A Brief History of Lambda Phage Modeling.. Annual Review of Biophysics. ANNUAL REVIEW OF BIOPHYSICS, VOL 50, 2021. 117-134. Annual Reviews.
- Trinh, J. T., & Zeng, L. (2020). Phage-Phage Interactions. Biocommunication of Phages. 87-102. Springer International Publishing.
- Zeng, L., Balachandar, S., Fischer, P. F., & Najjar, F. (2005). INTERACTION OF A FINITE-SIZED PARTICLE WITH WALL TURBULENCE. Proceeding of Fourth International Symposium on Turbulence and Shear Flow Phenomena, Fourth International Symposium on Turbulence and Shear Flow Phenomena. 1, 201-205.
Repository Documents / Preprints1
- Kirillov, A., Morozova, N., Polinovaskaya, V., Smirnov, S., Khodorkovskii, M., Zeng, L., Ispolatov, Y., & Severinov, K. (2022). Cells with Stochastically Increased Methyltransferase to Restriction Endonuclease Ratio Provide an Entry for Bacteriophage into Protected Cell Population.