Date of Award

Winter 12-15-2022

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



Eukaryotic cells contain hundreds of subcellular structures that serve different functions to maintain cellular homeostasis. A hallmark of Eukaryotic cells is its compartmentalization into membrane-bound organelles. One of the grand challenges in quantitative cell biology is understanding the precision with which cells assemble and maintain subcellular organelles. Despite identification of numerous molecular factors that regulate organelle sizes we lack insight into the quantitative principles underlying organelle size control. We examine organelle sizes from Saccharomyces cerevisiae and human iPS cells with mathematical theory to show that cells can robustly control average fluctuations in organelle size. By demonstrating that organelle sizes obey a universal scaling relationship we predict theoretically, our framework suggests that organelles grow in random bursts from a limiting pool of building blocks. Burst-like growth provides a general biophysical mechanism by which cells can maintain on average reliable yet plastic organelle sizes. Additionally, we have characterized the systems-level patterns of interdependence in organelle biogenesis by engineering budding yeast cells with six simultaneously fluorescent labeled membranous organelles and perturbing genetic factors involved in the biogenesis of each individual organelle, to measure the response in the growth of other organelles.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Shankar Mukherji

Committee Members

Zachary Pincus

Included in

Physics Commons