About Mark Chan



Assistant Professor


BiologyCollege of Science and Engineering


At SF State Since:



I study how organelle size is sensed and controlled by the cell by using the budding yeast vacuole as a model system. The vacuole is a highly dynamic organelle which shows a size scaling relationship with the cell, i.e. larger cells have larger vacuoles. I am interested in how the cell maintains the vacuole at the appropriate size, and how this control impacts function.

Vacuole size control - One major goal is to determine whether there is feedback control of vacuole size. Does the cell sense the size of the vacuole? And can a cell with too large or small of a vacuole tune various pathways (e.g. membrane trafficking and inheritance) to get the vacuole back to the right size?

Functional consequences - Organelles often proliferate when demand for their function increases, and the vacuole is responsible for a number of degradative and homeostatic processes in the cell. How does the size of the vacuole affect its capacity or ability to carry out these functions? What effect does this have on overall cellular fitness or pathogenicity?

To answer these questions, we apply a number of techniques including live fluorescence microscopy; genetic, cell, and molecular biology; digital image analysis; and computational modeling.


Chan Y-HM, Marshall WF. “Organelle Size Scaling of the Budding Yeast Vacuole Is Tuned by Membrane Trafficking Rates.” Biophysical Journal (2014) 106: 1986-1996.1.    

Rafelski SM, Viana MP, Zhang Y, Chan Y-HM, Thorn KS, Yam P, Fung JC, Li H, Costa LdF, Marshall WF. “Mitochondrial Network Size Scaling in Budding Yeast is Achieved in the Bud at the Expense of the Mother.”Science (2012) 338: 822-824.

Chan Y-HM, Marshall WF. “How cells know the size of their organelles.” Science (2012) 337:1186-1189.

Chan Y-HM, Marshall WF. "Threshold-free method for three-dimensional segmentation of organelles." Proc.SPIE (2012) 8225: 822529.

Chan, Y-HM, Marshall WF. “Scaling properties of cell and organelle size.” Organogenesis (2010) 6:88-96.