Christine Jacobs-Wagner studies the inner workings of bacteria and their role in cellular physiology and morphogenesis. She is particularly known for her cell biological studies showing that bacteria display a surprisingly sophisticated subcellular organization that is critical for cellular function and behavior. She was born in December 1968 in Belgium and graduated from the University of Liège, Belgium with a MS in Biochemistry in 1991 and a PhD in1996. Her PhD work was recognized with multiple awards including the 1997 GE & Science Prize for Young Life Scientists. She was a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford Medical School and joined Yale University Faculty in 2001. She was awarded a PEW Scholar in 2003 and a Maxine F. Singer endowed Chair at Yale University in 2004. In 2008, the American Society of Cell Biology awarded her with the Woman in Cell Biology Junior award. She received the Eli Lilly award from the American Society of Microbiology in 2011. She became an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 2008 and a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 2015. In 2019, she moved her laboratory to Stanford University where she is a Professor of Biology and a Fellow of the ChEM-H Institute.

Research Interests

Christine Jacobs-Wagner's group studies the physical and molecular mechanisms that underlie the remarkable ability of bacteria to proliferate. Her laboratory has been at the forefront of the bacterial cell biology revolution showing that bacteria are not mere miniature bags of randomly dispersed biomolecules as long thought. Instead, bacterial cells contain cytoskeletal elements, exhibit polarity, and spatially organize their genome despite their small size. Jacobs-Wagner's group combines quantitative single-cell imaging with genetics, biochemistry, and computational modeling. This integrated, multi-disciplinary approach has provided key molecular insights into the temporal and spatial mechanisms involved in cell morphogenesis, cell polarization, chromosome segregation and cell cycle control in bacteria.

Membership Type


Election Year


Primary Section

Section 44: Microbial Biology