Academic Appointments


  • Assistant Professor, Chemical and Systems Biology
  • Member, Bio-X

Honors & Awards


  • Interdisciplinary Initiatives Program Seed Grant Award, Stanford BioX (2021-2023)
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund (2014-2017)
  • Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award, University of California, Berkeley (2008)
  • Silver Medal, International Physics Olympiad (2002)

Professional Education


  • Postdoctoral, Harvard Medical School, Biological Chemistry & Molecular Pharmacology (2019)
  • Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, Physics (Biophysics) (2013)
  • M.A., University of California, Berkeley, Physics (Biophysics) (2012)
  • B.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Physics (2007)

Current Research and Scholarly Interests


Research in my laboratory is aimed at understanding how eukaryotes replicate their DNA despite numerous challenges (collectively known as replication stress), and more generally – how eukaryotic cells safeguard genome integrity. Specifically, we are investigating: (i) mechanisms that regulate the activity of the replicative helicase during replication stress, (ii) mechanisms that control the inheritance of epigenetic information during replication, and (iii) mechanisms of ubiquitin-mediated regulation of genome maintenance. We utilize single-molecule microscopy to directly image fluorescently-labeled replication factors and track them in real time in Xenopus egg extracts. I developed this system as a postdoctoral fellow, and used it to monitor how the eukaryotic replicative helicase copes with DNA damage. We plan to further extend the capabilities of this platform to directly visualize other essential replication factors, nucleosomes, and regulatory post-translational modifications like ubiquitin chains. By elucidating molecular mechanisms responsible for maintaining genome stability, we aim to better understand the link between genome instability and cancer, and how these mechanisms can be harnessed to improve disease treatment.

2020-21 Courses


Stanford Advisees


All Publications


  • Single-strand DNA breaks cause replisome disassembly Molecular Cell Vrtis, K. B., Dewar, J. M., Chistol, G., Wu, R., Graham, T. G., Walter, J. C. 2021; 81 (6): 1309-18
  • The DNA replication fork suppresses CMG unloading from chromatin before termination Genes & Development Low*, E., Chistol*[@], G., Zaher, M. S., Kochenova, O. V., Walter[@], J. C. 2020; 34: 1534-45

    View details for DOI 10.1101/gad.339739.120

  • TRAIP is a master regulator of DNA interstrand crosslink repair Nature Wu, R. A., Semlow, D. R., Kamimae-Lanning, A. N., Kochenova, O. V., Chistol, G., Hodskinson, M. R., Amunugama, R., Sparks, J. L., Wang, M., Deng, L., Mimoso, C. A., Low, E., Patel, K. J., Walter, J. C. 2019; 567 (7747): 267–72
  • The CMG Helicase Bypasses DNA-Protein Cross-Links to Facilitate Their Repair Cell Sparks*, J. L., Chistol*, G., Gao, A. O., Räschle, M., Larsen, N. B., Mann, M., Duxin, J. P., Walter, J. C. 2019; 176 (1-2): 167-81.e21
  • Mechanochemical coupling and bi-phasic force-velocity dependence in the ultra-fast ring ATPase SpoIIIE eLife Liu*, N., Chistol*, G., Cui, Y., Bustamante, C. 2018; 7

    View details for DOI 10.7554/eLife.32354

  • Two-subunit DNA escort mechanism and inactive subunit bypass in an ultra-fast ring ATPase eLife Liu*, N., Chistol*, G., Bustamante, C. 2015; 4

    View details for DOI 10.7554/eLife.09224

  • Single-Molecule Visualization of MCM2-7 DNA Loading: Seeing Is Believing Cell Chistol, G., Walter, J. C. 2015; 161 (3): 429-30
  • Molecular watchdogs on genome patrol eLife Chistol, G., Walter, J. 2014; 3: e02854

    View details for DOI 10.7554/eLife.02854

  • Mechanical operation and intersubunit coordination of ring-shaped molecular motors: insights from single-molecule studies Biophysical Journal Liu*, S., Chistol*, G., Bustamante, C. 2014; 106 (9): 1844-58
  • A viral packaging motor varies its DNA rotation and step size to preserve subunit coordination as the capsid fills Cell Liu*, S., Chistol*, G., Hetherington*, C., Tafoya, S., Aathavan, K., Schnitzbauer, J., Grimes, S., Jardine, P. J., Bustamante, C. 2014; 157 (3): 702-13
  • High degree of coordination and division of labor among subunits in a homomeric ring ATPase Cell Chistol*, G., Liu*, S., Hetherington, C. L., Moffitt, J. R., Grimes, S., Jardine, P. J., Bustamante, C. 2012; 151 (5): 1017-28
  • ClpX(P) Generates Mechanical Force to Unfold and Translocate Its Protein Substrates Cell Maillard, R. A., Chistol, G., Sen, M., Righini, M., Tan, J., Kaiser, C. M., Hodges, C., Martin, A., Bustamante, C. 2011; 145 (3): 459-69