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Heads of Laboratories

Head shot of Stanislas Leibler
Stanislas Leibler, Ph.D.
Gladys T. Perkin Professor
Laboratory of Living Matter

Even the simplest of organisms, such as bacteria, are capable of processing information in a highly sophisticated manner, adapting to varying environments and evolving new functions. Dr. Leibler is interested in the quantitative description of microbial systems, both on cellular and population levels.

In recent years, the field of molecular biology has moved away from the study of individual components and toward the study of how they interact, creating a “systemic” approach that seeks an appropriate and quantitative description of cells and organisms. Dr. Leibler’s laboratory is developing both the theoretical and experimental methods necessary for conducting studies on the collective behavior of biomolecules, cells, and organisms. By selecting a number of basic questions on how simple genetic and biochemical networks function in bacteria, his lab is beginning to understand how individual components can give rise to complex, collective phenomena.

Recent research topics in the laboratory include quantitative studies of interacting microorganisms. In particular, the question of the survival of microbial populations in varying environments is being addressed both experimentally and theoretically. Dr. Leibler and his collaborators are developing new experimental techniques that will facilitate quantitative analysis of long-time population dynamics in microbial populations. Long-term dynamics of closed microbial ecosystems are being analyzed by statistical methods. Theoretical approaches are also applied to other problems, such as protein assemblies or evolution of protein families.


Ph.D. in theoretical physics, 1981
Ph.D. in physics, 1984
University of Paris


Cornell University, 1985–1987


Research Fellow with Tenure, 1984–1992
Centre d’Études de Saclay

Professor, 1992–2001
Princeton University

Professor, 2001–
The Rockefeller University

Tri-Institutional Professor, 2003–2010
Weill Cornell Medical College and the Sloan-Kettering Institute

Professor, 2009–
Institute for Advanced Study

Investigator, 2000–2001
Howard Hughes Medical Institute


Jordan, D. et al. Behavioral diversity in microbes and low dimensional phenotypic spaces. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 110, 14018–14023 (2013).

Wakamoto, Y. et al. Dynamic persistence of antibiotic-stressed mycobacteria. Science 339, 91–95 (2013).

Hekstra, D.R. and Leibler, S. Contingency and statistical laws in replicate microbial closed ecosystems. Cell 149, 1164–1173 (2012).

Murugan, A. et al. Speed, dissipation, and error in kinetic proofreading. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 109, 12034–12039 (2012).

Rivoire, O. and Leibler, S. The value of information for populations in varying environments. J. Stat. Phys. 142, 1124–1166 (2011).

Dr. Leibler is a faculty member in the David Rockefeller Graduate Program, the Tri-Institutional M.D.-Ph.D. Program, and the Tri-Institutional Ph.D. Program in Chemical Biology.