Timothy J. Stasevich

Cell Biology

Timothy J. Stasevich

Specially Appointed Associate Professor

BiophysicsMathematical ModelingGene RegulationProtein Synthesis


Timothy J. Stasevich is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at Colorado State University (CSU). His lab uses a combination of advanced fluorescence microscopy, genetic engineering, and computational modeling to study the dynamics of gene regulation in living mammalian cells. Most recently, his lab has pioneered the imaging of real-time single mRNA translation dynamics in living cells1. Dr. Stasevich received his B.S. in Physics and Mathematics from the University of Michigan, Dearborn, and his Ph. D. in Physics from the University of Maryland, College Park. He transitioned into experimental biophysics as a post-doctoral research fellow in the laboratory of Dr. James G. McNally at the National Cancer Institute. During this time, he developed technology based on fluorescence microscopy to help establish gold-standard measurements of live-cell protein dynamics. Dr. Stasevich next moved to Osaka University, where he worked with Dr. Hiroshi Kimura as a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Foreign Postdoctoral Research Fellow. While there, he helped create technology to image endogenous proteins and their post-translation modifications in vivo. This allowed him to image the live-cell dynamics of epigenetic histone modifications during gene activation for the first time2. Before joining the faculty at CSU, Dr. Stasevich spent a year as a Visiting Fellow at the HHMI Janelia Research Campus, where he applied super-resolution fluorescence microscopy to improve the spatio-temporal resolution of endogenous protein imaging in live cells.
1. Morisaki, T. et al. Real-time quantification of single RNA translation dynamics in living cells. Science 352, 1425–1429 (2016).
2. Stasevich, T. J. et al. Regulation of RNA polymerase II activation by histone acetylation in single living cells. Nature 516, 272–275 (2014).

Expectations for WRHI

I’m excited to be a part of Tokyo Tech’s World Research Hub Initiative. I hope to build strong and long-lasting ties between Colorado State University and Tokyo Tech that will mutually benefit our departments and students. I am especially excited to be working in the Cell Biology Unit of the Institute of Innovative Research with the Kimura and Taguchi labs.
Collaborative work with the Kimura lab is focused on developing new fluorescent probes for live-cell imaging of protein dynamics. This has led to new intracellular antibodies that are capable of lighting up proteins with minimal epitope tags, including the classic FLAG and HA tags. Because these epitope tags are so common in the field of cell biology, I anticipate our new probes will quickly find broad application. In fact, our first paper, just released in pre-print form to the BioRxiv, has been very popular, in the top 1% of all posted manuscripts on the archive (https://www.biorxiv.org/content/early/2018/11/24/474668). It will be exciting to see how these probes are utilized in the field.
Collaborative work with the Taguchi lab is focused on studying the deregulation of translation in disease. The main advantage of our new probes is they allow us to image singlemRNA translation dynamics in living cells, not possible with any other technology. We plan on investigating repeat-associated non-AUG (RAN) translation, i.e. translation that is initiated at a non-conventional start codon. RAN translation is implicated in several neurodegenerative and neuromuscular disorders, including fragile-X syndrome, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and Huntington disease. A better understanding of how repeat-expansion leads to aberrant translation at the single molecule level will lead to new therapeutics to target these debilitating diseases.
Finally, I was recently awarded a five-year NSF Career Award. Built into this award is funding to bring graduate students with me to Tokyo Tech to facilitate collaboration. This will not only allow my students at CSU a chance to experience international research in Japan, but I hope it will also give students at Tokyo Tech a chance to interact with US students and communicate their science in English. This year will be the first year I bring a graduate student with me, so I am especially looking forward to work at Tokyo Tech this summer!

Research Projects

  • Regulation of transcription and translation in living cells


Postdoctoral Research Fellow, National Cancer Institute, NIH


JSPS Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Osaka University


Visiting Scientist, HHMI Janelia Research Campus


Assistant Professor, Colorado State University


Tokyo Institute of Technology, IIR, Specially Appointed Associate Professor


Webb-Waring Biomedical Research Award (Boettcher Foundation)


JSPS Postdoctoral Research Fellow


Y. Hayashi-Takanaka, K. Yamagata, T. Wakayama, T. J. Stasevich, T. Kainuma, T. Tsurimoto, M. Tachibana, Y. Shinkai, H. Kurumizaka, N. Nozaki and H. Kimura, Tracking Epigenetic Histone Modifications in Single Cells using Fab-based Live Endogenous Modification Labeling, Nucleic Acids Research 39, 6475 (2011).


Y. Sato, M. Mukai, J. Ueda, M. Muraki, T. J. Stasevich, N. Horikoshi, T. Kujirai, H. Kita, T. Kumura, S. Hira, Y. Okada, Y. Hayashi-Takanaka, C. Obuse, H. Kurumizaka, A. Kawahara, K. Yamagata, N. Nozaki, and H. Kimura, Genetically Encoded System to Track Histone Modification in Vivo, Scientific Reports 3, doi:10.1038/srep02436 (2013)


T. J. Stasevich, Y. Sato, N. Nozaki, H. Kimura, Quantifying histone and RNA polymerase II post-translational modification dynamics in mother and daughter cells, Methods 70, 77 (2014).

T. J. Stasevich, Y. Hayashi-Takanaka, Y. Sato, K. Maehara, Y. Ohkawa, K. Sakata-Sogawa, M. Tokunaga, T. Nagase, N. Nozaki, J. G McNally, H. Kimura, Regulation of RNA polymerase II activation by histone acetylation in single living cells, Nature 516, 272 (2014).


S. Viswanathan, M.E. Williams, E. B. Bloss, T.J. Stasevich, C.M. Speer, A. Nern, B.D. Pfeiffer, B.M. Hooks, W. Li, B.P. English, T. Tian, G.L. Henry, J.J. Macklin, R. Patel, C. R. Gerfen, X. Zhuang, Y. Wang, G. M. Rubin, and L.L. Looger, High-performance probes for light and electron microscopy, Nature Methods 12, 568-576 (2015).


T. Morisaki, K. Lyon, K. Deluca, J. Deluca, B. P. English, Z. Zhang, L. Lavis, J. B. Grimm, S. Viswanathan, L. Looger, T. Lionnet, and T. J. Stasevich, Real-time quantification of single RNA translation dynamics in living cells, Science 352, 1425 (2016).