Cluster of Excellence


The Dynamic Organization of Living Matter

Our purpose

Discover new paradigms for understanding life and deepen our knowledge of living biological matter

We aim to elucidate the “laws of physics” that underlie the dynamic spatiotemporal organization of life into molecules, cells and tissues. Our unique focus is to bring fundamental physics to biology for the purpose of understanding and solving biological questions. Using this holistic approach PoL is dedicated to identify physical principles that govern the dynamic organization of active living matter across multiple scales utilizing innovative experimental approaches, theoretical predictions and computer simulation.

Portrait of Rita Mateus

New Research Group Leader: Rita Mateus

We welcome Rita Mateus as new research group leader at PoL and at the Max-Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG). Starting on February 15 2021, she will establish and lead the Biophysical Principles of Vertebrate Growth laboratory. Using zebrafish as a model system, the group wants to understand how do animals control their organs size. For this, they will explore how do cells communicate with each other, focusing on understanding which physical properties govern organ growth, both in embryonic development and regeneration.
Rita is looking to build an interdisciplinary and collaborative team that will bridge expertise between experimental, computational and theoretical approaches – contact us!

Portrait of Adele Doyle

New Research Group Leader: Adele Doyle

We welcome Adele Doyle as new research group leader at PoL, starting in July 2021. She will lead the group Mechanobiology of Stem Cells, in conjunction with the Center for Regenerative Therapies (CRTD). Her group studies how molecular circuits give rise to specialized mechanosignaling. The group uses engineered stem cell cultures, high throughput molecular measurements, bioinformatics and computation to investigate mechanobiology important for cardiovascular and nervous system regenerative medicine.

Portrait of Otger Campàs

New Research Group Leader: Otger Campàs

Otger Campàs will start in July 2021 and hold the Chair of Tissue Dynamics at PoL. He will lead the Physics of Embryonic Self-Organization and Morphogenesis group, an interdisciplinary team bridging physics, biology and engineering to study the how cells self-organize to build embryonic structures. The group combines experimental, theoretical and computational methods to study the physical nature of active multicellular systems, the emergence of biological shape, as well as the interplay between genetics and physics to shape embryonic tissues and organs, with the overreaching goal of reveling fundamental differences between living and inert matter.

Portrait of Helmut Schießel

New Research Group Leader: Helmut Schießel

Helmut Schießel will start in January 2021 and will lead the Theoretical Physics of Living Matter group. Using methods from theoretical physics and computer simulations and in close collaboration with experimental groups, the group wants to understand what is special about the physics of life. To answer this question, we ask how nature can overcome tough physics problems, and hope to find common themes that evolution came up with to solve these problems.

Portrait of Robert Haase

New Technology Development Group Leader: Robert Haase

We welcome Robert Haase as new PoL member. He started on 1 November 2020 and will lead the technology development group on Bio-Image Analysis. The mission of his group is to build strong bridges between the communities involed in imaging, image analysis, image-based simulations, and image data mining. We facilitate application of artificial intelligence, graphics processing units, cloud- and high-performance-computing in the imaging context. We stake on close collaboration, knowledge exchange, open source software, and work in interdisciplinary teams to solve the puzzles behind the Phyics of Life.

Portrait of Natalie Dye

New Research Group Leader: Natalie Dye

We welcome Natalie Dye as new research group leader at PoL, starting in January 2021. She has won the competitive MSNZ Fellowship (Mildred Scheel Early Career Center Dresden). With this funding, she will establish her group to study the biophysics of epithelial morphogenesis in development and cancer. Natalie is also a member of the DIGS-BB PhD Program and will recruit a PhD student in the upcoming Spring Selection.

EMBO Workshop
“Physics of living systems: From molecules to tissues”

7–11 June 2021 | Dresden

more information on the EMBO website

Funded through

Logo of the German Research Foundation Logo of the DFG2020 – Because Research Matters campaign