Curriculum Vitae

Contact Information

Peter A. Combs
378G Stanley Hall, MC 3220
Berkeley, CA 94705
Twitter: @rflrob
ORCID: 0000-0003-2835-5623


University of California, Berkeley, CA. PhD in Biophysics. 2009-Present. Anticipated Graduation date Winter 2014. Dissertation Title: Genome-wide Spatial Patterning Data Reveal Mechanisms of Gene Regulation; Advisor: Michael Eisen

Princeton University, Princeton, NJ. AB in Physics, with certificate in Quantitative and Computational Biology. 2004-2008. Thesis Title: Probing Cell Structural Forces in Escherichia coli; Advisor: Joshua Shaevitz.

Teaching Experience

Head Teaching Assistant, The Summer Science Program; 2007-2009. Prepared and gave lectures on programming with goal of completing astronomical data analysis. Assisted students with collecting astronomical data and with completing problem sets on physics, astronomy, and programming. Graded problem sets.

Graduate Student Instructor; Genetics, Genomics, and Cell Biology; UC Berkeley; Spring 2013. Led 2 sections of 30-35 students, including office hours.

Coordinator, Instructor and Teaching Assistant, QB3 Introduction to Bioinformatics Bootcamp, UC Berkeley, 2010-2013. Organized and led instruction on 2 week, 8 hour/day course on use of Python for Bioinformatics, including RNAseq analysis, population genetics, and structural biology.

Research Experience

Summer 2006, Lewis Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ. Development of 3D Optical Densitometric Microscope. Advisor: Will S Ryu.

Fall 2006, Lewis Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ. QCB Project Lab Course: Designed and conducted experiments on intrinsic noise in transcriptional signalling circuits. Advisors: Manual Llin√°s, Coleen Murphy, and Amy Caudy.

2007-2008, Department of Physics, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ. Senior Thesis research developing techniques to use an optical trap to probe bacterial cytoskeleton structure. Advisor: Joshua Shaevitz


Up to date list: Pubmed: "Combs PA[au]"  Note that the 1976 article is not by me.

  1. Measuring the bending stiffness of bacterial cells using an optical trap. Wang S, Arellano-Santoyo H, Combs PA, Shaevitz JW. J Vis Exp. 2010 Apr 26;(38). doi:pii: 2012. 10.3791/2012.

  2. Actin-like cytoskeleton filaments contribute to cell mechanics in bacteria. Wang S, Arellano-Santoyo H, Combs PA, Shaevitz JW. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 May 18;107(20):9182-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0911517107. Epub 2010 May 3.

  3. Cytoplasmic dynein moves through uncoordinated stepping of the AAA+ ring domains. DeWitt MA, Chang AY, Combs PA, Yildiz A. Science. 2012 Jan 13;335(6065):221-5. doi: 10.1126/science.1215804. Epub 2011 Dec 8.

  4. A new system for comparative functional genomics of Saccharomyces yeasts. Caudy AA, et al. Genetics. 2013 Sep;195(1):275-87. doi: 10.1534/genetics.113.152918. Epub 2013 Jul 12.

  5. Sequencing mRNA from cryo-sliced Drosophila embryos to determine genome-wide spatial patterns of gene expression. Combs PA, Eisen MB. PLoS One. 2013;8(8):e71820. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0071820. eCollection 2013.


Professional Affiliations

Sigma Xi

Biophysical Society

Genetics Society of America


2010: Biophysics Retreat Organizer. Invited keynote speaker, selected, coordinated, and managed talks.

2012-Present: Biophysics Graduate Group Executive Committee, Student Delegate.