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Joe F. Lutkenhaus, PhD

Joseph Lutkenhaus portrait
Chair, Microbiology, Molecular Genetics and Immunology

Professional Background

Dr. Lutkenhaus is a University Distinguished Professor and Chair of Microbiology, Molecular Genetics and Immunology. He was elected to the American Academy of Microbiology in 2002 and the National Academy of Sciences in 2014. He received the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize from Columbia University for outstanding basic research in biology in 2012. He is a recipient of an NIH Merit Award.

Education and Training
  • BSc, Chemistry, Iowa State University, Ames, IA
  • PhD, Biochemistry, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
  • Post Doctoral Fellowship, Molecular Biology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  • Post Doctoral Fellowship, Microbiology, University of Connecticut, Farmington, CT
Professional Affiliations
  • National Academy of Sciences, Member, 2014 - Present
  • American Academy of Microbiology, Member, 2002 - Present
  • American Society of Microbiology, Member, 1981 - Present



Dr. Lutkenhaus works on the process of cytokinesis in bacteria. The work in his lab with the bacterium E. coli has led to the discovery of a cytoskeletel element, the Z ring, that directs septation in almost all prokaryotic organisms. His prsent work is aimed at elucidating the molecular machinery responsible for cell division and how it is regulated, especially the temporal and spatial regulatory mechanisms necessary to ensure that the septum is placed at midcell.

Current Research and Grants
  • Regulation of Cell Division, NIH
  • Du , S, Pichoff, S, Lutkenhaus, J. 2016. FtsEX acts on FtsA to regulate divisome assembly and activity.. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113 (34), E5052-61
  • Park, K., T, Wu, W, Battaile, K., P, Lovell, S, Holyoak, T, Lutkenhaus, J. 2011. The Min oscillator uses MinD-dependent conformational changes in MinE to spatially regulate cytokinesis.. Cell, 146 (3), 396-407
  • Du, S, Lutkenhaus, J. 2019. At the heart of bacterial cytokinesis. Trends in Microbiology, 27 (9), 781-791
  • Du , S, Pichoff, S, Kruse, K, Lutkenhaus, J. 2018. FtsZ filaments have the opposite kinetic polarity of microtubules.. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 115 (42), 10768-10773
  • Pichoff, S, Lutkenhaus, J. 2019. Roles of FtsEX in cell division. Research in Microbiology, S0923-2508 (19), 30082-8
  • Du, S, Henke, W, Pichoff, S, Lutkenhaus, J. 2019. How FtsEX localizes to the Z ring and interacts with FtsA to regulate cell division. Molecular microbiology, 105 (2), 326-345