Sven van Teeffelen

Title: Associate professor
Adress: Département de microbiologie, infectiologie et immunologie
Pavillon Roger-Gaudry
Université de Montréal
C.P. 6128, Succ. Centre-ville
Montréal (Québec)
H3C 3J7
Room: Office: S-642

Labo: S-655

Phone: 514 343-6376
Fax: 514 343-5751
Web site:

Web presence

Research Expertise

The goal of my research program is to develop a detailed understanding of bacterial cell shape, cell size, and cell envelope integrity. The bacterial cell envelope contains several components that are physically interconnected, including the cell wall and one or more membranes. To maintain cell shape and the integrity of the cell envelope during growth, different envelope remodeling processes must be coordinated. In addition, the growth of the cell envelope must be coordinated with important processes of cell physiology, including biomass growth and chromosome replication. My lab addresses these issues on multiple scales, ranging from the behavior of a single protein to the macroscopic shape of cells and the cell cycle. To this end, we develop and use approaches from physics and biology, including high resolution microscopy, microfluidics, and mathematical modeling.


Sven van Teeffelen holds a doctorate in Physics from the University of Düsseldorf and did postdoctoral studies at Princeton University. He has been a professor in the Department of Microbiology, Infectiology and Immunology at the Faculty of Medicine at UdeM since 2021.


  • Yuki Kitahara, M.Sc.
  • Francois Simon, M.Sc.
  • Kunal Samantaray, Ph.D.


  • Bacteriology

Research topics

  • Physical cell biology
  • Size and shape of bacteria
  • Cell cycle
  • Integrity of the cell envelope


  • Colin A., G. Micali, L. Faure, M. Cosentino Lagomarsino*, S. van Teeffelen* (2021) Two different cell-cycle processes determine the timing of cell division in Escherichia coli. eLife 10:e67495
  • Oldewurtel, E.R., Y. Kitahara, and S. van Teeffelen (2021) Robust surface-to-mass coupling and turgor-dependent cell width determine bacterial dry-mass density Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 118(32) e2021416118.
  • Steinberg N., A. Keren-Paz, Q. Hou, S. Doron, K. Yanuka-Golub, T. Olender, R. Hadar, G. Rosenberg, J. Rakeshkumar, J. Cámara-Almirón, D. Romero, S. van Teeffelen, I. Kolodkin-Gal (2020). The extracellular matrix protein TasA is a developmental cue that maintains a motile subpopulation within Bacillus subtilis biofilms. Science Signaling 13(632):eaaw8905
  • Özbaykal G., E. Wollrab, F. Simon, A. Vigouroux, B. Cordier, A. Aristov, T. Chaze, M. Matondo, and S. van Teeffelen (2020). The transpeptidase PBP2 governs initial localization and activity of the major cell-wall synthesis machinery in E. coli. eLife 9:e50629
  • Banzhaf M., H.C.L. Yau, J. Verheul, A. Lodge, G. Kritikos, A. Mateus, B. Cordier, A.K. Hov, F. Stein, M. Wartel, M. Pazos, A.S. Solovyova, E. Breukink, S. van Teeffelen, M.M. Savitski, T. den Blaauwen, A. Typas, W. Vollmer (2020). Outer membrane lipoprotein NlpI scaffolds peptidoglycan hydrolases within multi‐enzyme complexes in Escherichia coli. EMBO J 39:e102246
  • Vigouroux A., B. Cordier, A. Aristov, L. Alvarez, G. Özbaykal, T. Chaze, E.R. Oldewurtel, M. Matondo, F. Cava, D. Bikard, S. van Teeffelen (2020). Class-A penicillin binding proteins do not contribute to cell shape but repair cell-wall defects. eLife 9:e51998
  • Dion M.F., M. Kapoor, Y. Sun, S. Wilson, J. Ryan, A. Vigouroux, S. van Teeffelen, R. Oldenbourg, E.C. Garner. (2019) Bacillus subtilis cell diameter is determined by the opposing actions of two distinct cell wall synthetic systems. Nat. Microbiology 4(8):1294-1305
  • Vigouroux A., E. Oldewurtel, C. Lun, D. Bikard, S. van Teeffelen. (2018). Tuning dCas9’s ability to block transcription enables robust, noiseless knockdown of bacterial genes. Molecular Systems Biology 14 (3), e7899
  • Wong F., L.D. Renner, G. Özbaykal, J. Paulose, D.B. Weibel, S. van Teeffelen, A. Amir (2017) Mechanical strain-sensing implicated in cell shape recovery in Escherichia coli. Nat. Microbio. 2017; 2: 17115