Cluster of Excellence

PHYSICS OF LIFE

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 Marcus Jahnel

New Research Group Leader: Marcus Jahnel

We welcome Marcus Jahnel as a new research group leader at PoL and BIOTEC, starting June 2021. He will lead the Dynamics of Biomolecules group. His team will use high-resolution optical tweezers and polymer physics to explore molecular biology from the single-molecule level to multi-component assemblies in protein-RNA condensates.

Marcus is looking for curious colleagues to join him in using the Physics of Light to study the Physics of Life – contact us!

Portrait of Benjamin Friedrich

New Research Group Leader: Benjamin Friedrich

We welcome Benjamin Friedrich as new Heisenberg-Professor for Biological Algorithms at PoL, with co-affiliation at the Center for Advancing Electronics TU Dresden (cfaed) and the Center for Molecular and Cellular Bioengineer­ing (TUD CMCB). He started on April 1st 2021.

His theory group aims to understand how cells and tissues robustly process information and form functional structures, using tools from nonlinear dynamics, statistical physics and information theory and in close collaborations with experimentalists. Biological systems of interest include the dynamics of cilia, cellular navigation, and self-organized pattern formation during embryonic development and regeneration – e.g. how muscle cells form crystal-like myofibrils, diatom cells build their intricate glass shells, and axolotl regrow lost limbs of correct size.

His interdisciplinary team is always looking for theory-experiment collaborations to bridge physics and biology to decipher the algorithms of life.

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!

see also Press Release “Start of the first DRESDEN-concept Research Group” (on TU Dresden website)

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.

Funded through

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