James Pelletier is a graduate student in the Department of Physics at MIT. While interested in biophysics, his work involves reconstitution of biological systems – controlled disassembly of cells, and reassembly of cellular subsystems – to learn how cellular properties emerge from physical interactions, and to develop interfaces between biology and microscale technologies. In addition, James is researching cytoskeletal networks in cytoplasmic extract, restructured in microfluidic devices, with Professor Timothy Mitchison (Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School), with Professor Nikta Fakhri (Department of Physics at MIT), and with Professor Neil Gershenfeld (MIT Center for Bits and Atoms). In addition, he is collaborating with John Glass (J. Craig Venter Institute) and with Elizabeth Strychalski (National Institute of Standard and Technology), for growing and transplanting the genomes of mycoplasma bacteria with minimal synthetic genomes.
As an MPhil student in the lab of Professor Sir Richard Friend at Cambridge University, James developed ultrafast laser microscopy techniques and studied nonradiative processes in organic semiconductors for photovoltaics. As an undergraduate with Professor Suckjoon Jun at Harvard University, he investigated physical properties of bacterial genomes in microfluidic devices.