Jie Xiao, Ph.D.

Headshot of Jie Xiao
  • Professor of Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry

Research Interests

Single-molecule biophysics


Dr. Jie Xiao is a professor of Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Her research focuses on single-molecule biophysics. Her laboratory develops novel single-molecule imaging and labeling tools in single cells to study the structures, functions, and dynamics of macromolecular assemblies. For example, her lab pioneered the use of superresolution imaging and single-molecule tracking in microbiology to study bacterial cell division and transcription. She developed single-molecule gene expression reporting systems and chromosomal DNA conformation markers to probe the dynamics of gene regulation in bacterial cells. She also devotes significant efforts to developing single-molecule imaging methods with new capacities to aid biological investigations in human cells, fluids, and tissues. Her work is at the frontier of single-molecule single-cell biophysics and has enabled new quantitative understandings of essential cellular processes.

Dr. Xiao received her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from Nanjing University in Nanjing, China. She earned her Ph.D. from Rice University in Biochemistry and Cell Biology and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University. Dr. Xiao joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 2006.

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  • Professor of Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry

Departments / Divisions

  • Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry

Centers & Institutes



  • B.S.; Nanjing University (China) (1995)
  • Ph.D.; Rice University (Texas) (2002)

Additional Training

  • Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 2006

Research & Publications


Lab Website: Xiao Group

Technology Expertise Keywords

Single molecule and single cell biophysics

Selected Publications

Yang X., Lyu Z., Miguel A., McQuillen R., Huang K.C., Xiao J., GTPase activity-coupled treadmilling of the bacterial tubulin FtsZ organizes septal cell-wall synthesis, Science, 2017, 355, 744-747, PMCID: PMC5851775

Fang, X., Liu, Q., Bohrer, C., Hensel Z., Han W., Wang J., Xiao J., New cell fate potentials and switching kinetics uncovered in a classic bistable switch, Nat. Commun, 2018, 2018, 9(1), 2787, PMCID: PMC6050291

Bohrer C.H, Yang X, Thakur S, Weng X, Tenner B, McQuillen R, Ross B, Wooten M, Chen X, Zhang J, Roberts E, Lakadamyali M, Xiao J. A Pairwise Distance Distribution Correction (DDC) algorithm to eliminate blinking-caused artifacts in SMLM. Nat. Method, 2021, 18(6), 10.1038/s41592-021-01154-y

Yang X, McQuillen R, Lyu Z, Phillips-Mason P, De La Cruz A, McCausland JW, Liang H, DeMeester KE, Grimes CL, de Boer P, Xiao J. A two-track model for the spatiotemporal coordination of bacterial septal cell wall synthesis revealed by single-molecule imaging of FtsW. Nat. Microbio., 2021 May;6(5):584-593. PMCID: PMC8085133

Lyu Z, Yahashiri A, Yang X, McCausland JW, Kaus GM, McQuillen R, Weiss DS., Xiao J. FtsN activates septal cell wall synthesis by forming a processive complex with the septum-specific peptidoglycan synthase in E. coli. Nat Commun., 2022, 13(1):575; PMID: 36180460; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC9525312

Contact for Research Inquiries

Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
725 N. Wolfe Street
708A WBSB, Department of Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry
Baltimore, MD 21205 map
Phone: 410-614-0338

Academic Affiliations & Courses

Graduate Program Affiliation

Biochemistry, Cellular, and Molecular Biology Graduate Program

Program in Molecular Biophysics

Courses and Syllabi

  • Scientific Foundation to Medicine (ME.800.619.SFM1)
    Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

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