Claire S. Ting

Photo of Claire S. Ting

Professor of Biology

Thompson Biology Lab Rm 214
At Williams since 2003


B.A. Yale University, Biology
M.S. Cornell University, Plant Biology
Ph.D. Cornell University, Plant Biology

Areas of Expertise

Plant and Microbial Biology, Biochemistry, Genomics

Courses taught at Williams College:

BIOL 102 The Organism
BIOL 308 Integrative Plant Biology
BIOL 414 Life at Extremes: Molecular Mechanisms
BIOL 430T Genome Sciences: At the Cutting Edge


Scholarship/Creative Work

Selected publications – for all publications see Claire Ting’s PubMed database listing.

*Williams College student

  • Ting CS, Dusenbury KH*, Pryzant RA*, Higgins KW*, Pang CJ*, Black CE*, Beauchamp EM* (2015) The Prochlorococcus carbon dioxide-concentrating mechanism: Evidence of carboxysome-associated heterogeneity. Photosynthesis Research 123:45-60. (Electronic version published on September 6, 2014)
  • Glass JB, Kretz CB, Warren MJ, Ting CS (2015) Current perspectives on microbial strategies for survival under extreme nutrient starvation: Evolution and ecophysiology. In: (C. Bakermans, Editor) Microbial Evolution under Extreme Conditions, De Gruyter, Berlin, Germany, pp. 127-151
  • Ting CS (2014) The architecture of cyanobacteria, archetypes of microbial innovation. In: (M. Homann-Marriott, Editor) The Structural Basis of Biological Energy Generation. Advances in Photosynthesis and Respiration, Springer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, pp. 249-275
  • Ting CS, Ramsey ME*, Wang Y*, Frost A*, Jun E*, Durham T* (2009) Minimal genomes, maximal productivity: Comparative genomics of the photosystem and light-harvesting complexes in the marine cyanobacterium, Prochlorococcus. Photosynthesis Research 101:1-19
  • Ting, CS, Hambleton E*, McKenna J (2008) Photosynthetic Response to Environmental Stress in Prochlorococcus. In: (J.F. Allen, E. Gantt, J.H. Golbeck, B. Osmond, Editors) Photosynthesis, Energy from the Sun. Springer, New York, pp.1585-1588
  • Ting CS, Hsieh C, Sundararaman S*, Mannella C, Marko M (2007) Cryo-electron tomography reveals the comparative three-dimensional architecture of Prochlorococcus, a globally important marine cyanobacterium.  Journal of Bacteriology 189:4485-4493
    **This article was selected by Science to be featured in the Editors’ Choice section of this journal: Form Follows Function (2007) Science 316:1395-1397
    **Data from this article was selected by the Editors to be featured as the cover image of the June 2007 issue of the Journal of Bacteriology
  • Ting CS, Westly E*, Russell-Roy E* (2005) Genome diversification in marine cyanobacteria: Implications for photosynthetic physiology and environmental stress response mechanisms.  In: (van der Est A., Bruce D) Photosynthesis: Fundamental Aspects to Global Perspectives, Allen Press, Lawrence, KS, pp. 614-616
  • Ting CS, Rocap G, King J, Chisholm SW (2002) Cyanobacterial Photosynthesis in the Oceans: Origins and Significance of Divergent Light-Harvesting Strategies. Trends in Microbiology 10:134-142 (Review Article)
  • Ting CS, Rocap G, King J, Chisholm SW (2001) Phycobiliprotein Genes of the Marine Photosynthetic Prokaryote Prochlorococcus: Evidence for Rapid Evolution of Genetic Heterogeneity. Microbiology 147:3171-3182
  • Schwartz R, Ting CS, King J (2001) Whole Proteome pI Values Correlate with Subcellular Localizations of Proteins for Organisms within the Three Domains of Life. Genome Research 11:703-709
  • Rocap G, Larimer FW, Lamerdin J, Malfatti S, Chain P, Ahlgren NA, Arellano A, Coleman M, Hauser L, Hess WR, Johnson ZI, Land M, Lindell D, Post AF, Regala W, Shah M, Shaw SL, Steglich C, Sullivan MB, Ting CS, Tolonen A, Webb EA, Zinser ER, Chisholm SW (2003) Genome Divergence in Two Prochlorococcus Ecotypes Reflects Oceanic Niche Differentiation. Nature 424:1042-1047

Professional Affiliations

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology: National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in Biosciences Related to the Environment and Research Associate
  • Institute of Biological Physical Chemistry, Paris France: NSF-NATO Postdoctoral Fellow
  • American Society of Plant Biologists
  • American Society for Microbiology
  • International Society for Photosynthesis Research
  • Microscopy Society of America


Current Committees

  • Committee on Academic Standing

Research Interests

Photosynthesis is a fundamental biological process upon which the majority of Earth’s life depends. One area my laboratory is addressing is how differences at the genome level between closely related photosynthetic organisms translate into selective physiological advantages in photosynthetic capacity and in tolerance to abiotic stress. For this project we are focusing on two environmentally important marine cyanobacteria, Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus. These are the most abundant photosynthetic prokaryotes in the world’s oceans and they play a key role in marine primary production. Although Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus share close phylogenetic ties, they have evolved striking differences in their photosynthetic apparatus and biological responses to major environmental factors.