Christopher M. Yip

Chris YipProfessor
B.A.Sc. (Toronto), Ph.D. (Minnesota), P.Eng.
Dean, Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering
Principal Investigator, Yip Research Lab
Donnelly CCBR, 160 College Street, Room 404 | Tel.: 416-978-7853 | Email:



Fellow, Engineering Institute of Canada, 2013
Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2009
Graduate Faculty Teaching Award for Sustained Contribution to Excellence in Teaching, University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine, 2008
Tier 2 Canada Research Chair, 2000-2010
Faculty Teaching Award, 2000/01 
Premier’s Research Excellence Award, 1999
Molecular Imaging Corp. Young Biological Scanning Probe Microscopist of the Year, 1998


Professional Engineers of Ontario
Ontario Society of Professional Engineers
American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Chemical Society
Chemical Institute of Canada
Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering
Biophysical Society
Sigma XI

Research Interests

Single Molecule Biophysics

Our research focus is in single molecule biophysics. We are interested in understanding the fundamental mechanisms associated with how molecules assemble to form supramolecular architectures. This can range from small molecule systems through peptides to proteins. We have a particular interest in assembly at interfaces and surfaces, including cell membranes. Our research team comprises engineers, chemists, physicists, biologists, and life scientists and we bring a trans-, cross-, and multidisciplinary approach to our studies.

Our research program focuses on phenomena that take place on molecular length scales. We are particularly interested in understanding the structural, chemical, and physical interactions that drive the interactions between molecules. Such insights are critical for fields as diverse as biology, nanotechnology, and engineering. To accomplish this, we are applying a multi-faceted approach, which combines the design and implementation of novel functional imaging and characterization tools for studying phenomena in the single molecule scale, with computational techniques. Research in our group spans the gamut from studies of how proteins and peptides interact with cellular membranes, which has importance for understanding how toxins work, to tracking of molecular dynamics in live cells, to mapping of the nanoscale physical, chemical, and electronic properties of soft materials.

We are particularly keen on the development of novel integrated combinatorial imaging platforms that bring characterization tools to the experiment. Our efforts include integrated super-resolution optical, light sheet and localization microscopies as well as scanning probe and nano-IR microscopy and spectroscopy, and we developed custom software and hardware strategies to optimize the platforms’ performance and capabilities. These tools are applied to real-time studies of live processes, including molecular and cellular dynamics, as well as developmental processes and events.

Selected Publications

The marginal cells of the Caenorhabditis elegans pharynx scavenge cholesterol and other hydrophobic small molecules.
Kamal M, Moshiri H, Magomedova L, Han D, Nguyen KCQ, Yeo M, Knox J, Bagg R, Won AM, Szlapa K, Yip CM, Cummins CL, Hall DH, Roy PJ. Nat Commun. 2019 Sep 2;10(1):3938.

Nanoscale reorganization of sarcoplasmic reticulum in pressure-overload cardiac hypertrophy visualized by dSTORM.
Hadipour-Lakmehsari S, Driouchi A, Lee SH, Kuzmanov U, Callaghan NI, Heximer SP, Simmons CA, Yip CM, Gramolini AO.
Sci Rep. 2019 May 27;9(1):7867

Single-Molecule Localization Microscopy Of Septin Bundles in Mammalian Cells Vissa, A., Giuliani, M., Froese, C.D., Kim, M.S., Sorror, F., Kim, P. K., Trimble, W.S., Yip, C.M. Cytoskeleton 2019 Jan;76(1):63-72

Lipophilicity of the Cystic Fibrosis drug, Ivacaftor, and its destabilizing effect on the major CF-causing mutation: F508del. Chin, S., Hung, M., Won, A., Wu, Y-S, Ahmadi, S., Yang, D., Elmallah, S., Toutah, K, Hamilton, C.M., Young, R.N., Viirre, R.D., Yip, C.M., Bear. C.E. Mol. Pharm 2018 Aug;94(2):917-925

Non-steric-zipper models for pathogenic α-synuclein conformers. Schuman B, Won A, Brand-Arzamendi K, Koprich JB, Wen XY, Howson PA, Brotchie JM, Yip CM. APL Bioeng. 2018 May 1;2(2):026105

Cardiolipin Synthesizing Enzymes Form A Complex That Interacts With Cardiolipin-Dependent Membrane Organizing Proteins. Serricchio, M., Vissa, A., Kim, P.K., Yip, C.M., McQuibban G.A Biochim Biophys Acta. 2018 Apr;1863(4):447-457

An ATG16L1-dependent pathway promotes plasma membrane repair and limits Listeria monocytogenes cell-to-cell spread. Tan JMJ, Mellouk N, Osborne SE, Ammendolia DA, Dyer DN, Li R, Brunen D, van Rijn JM, Huang J, Czuczman MA, Cemma MA, Won AM, Yip CM, Xavier RJ, MacDuff DA, Reggiori F, Debnath J, Yoshimori T, Kim PK, Fairn GD, Coyaud E, Raught B, Muise AM, Higgins DE, Brumell JH. Nat Microbiol. 2018 Dec;3(12):1472-1485

Automated Cell Tracking Identifies Mechanically-Oriented Cell Divisions During Drosophila Axis Elongation, Wang, M.F.Z., Hunter, M., Wang, G., McFaul, C., Yip, C.M., Fernandez-Gonzalez, R. Development, 2017 Feb 17. pii: dev.141473. doi: 10.1242/dev.141473

VAPS And ACBD5 Tether Peroxisomes To The ER For Peroxisome Maintenance And Lipid Homeostasis Hua, R., Cheng, D.T., Freeman, S.A., Di Peitro, E., Coyaud, E., Wang, Y., Vissa, A., Demer, N, Yip, C.M., Fairn, G. D., Braverman, N., Brumell, J.H., Trimble, W.S., Raught, B., Kim. P.K. J. Cell Biol 2017 Feb;216(2):367-377

Mechanism of Amyloidogenesis of a Bacterial AAA+ Chaperone. Chan, S W S., Yau, J., Ing, C., Liu K., Farber, P., Won, A., Bhandari, V., Yacouibian, N., Kay, L., Yip, C.M., Pomes, R., Sharpe, S., Houry, W.A. Structure 2016 Jul 6;24(7):1095-1109

A Lateral Polarity Pathway Coordinates Shape Volatility During Cell Migration Zhang, L., Luga, V., Plotnikov, S., Won, A., Yip, C.M., Wrana, J. Nature Communications, 2016 May 26;7:11714

Two-Dimensional Slither Swimming: A Distinct Mode Of Sperm Motion In The Near-Field Regime Nosrati, R., Driouchi, A., Yip, C.M., Sinton D. Nature Communications 2015 Nov 10;6:8703

Mitochondrial Genome Maintenance 1 (Mgm1) Protein Alters Membrane Topology and Promotes Local Membrane Bending, Rujiviphat, J., Wong, M.K., Won, A., Shih, Y-L, Yip, C.M., McQuibban, A., J. Mol. Biol. 2015 Aug 14;427(16):2599-609

Indolicidin Binding Induces Thinning of a Lipid Bilayer Neale, C., Hsu, J.C.Y., Yip, C.M., Pomes, R. Biophysical J. 2014 Apr 15;106(8):L29-31