Our Strategy

Understand biological processes as physical processes — focus on key biological questions that call for a physics perspective

The complex task of understanding the principles of dynamic organization of the “living state of matter” is divided into six Research Avenues (RAs). Our research will focus on fundamental organizational principles of living matter through a close interaction of experiment and theory combined with computational modeling, simulation and interactive microscopy.

Research Avenue 1

Guided Mechanochemical Self-Organization

RA1 wants to unravel the principles by which mechanics and biochemical coupled in morphogenesis. We aim to reveal how the associated modules of self-organization are guided by physical cues and upstream signaling pathways.

›› read more on Research Avenue 1 – Guided Mechanochemical Self-Organization

Research Avenue 2

Compartmentalization of Living Matter

RA2 wants to understand the extent to which the principles of phase separation and phase transitions help in understanding how cells modulate their biochemistry. We aim to have a general understanding of the ways in which phase separation and cellular compartments emerge from physical chemistry and the interaction of individual molecules.

›› read more on Research Avenue 2 – Compartmentalization of Living Matter

Research Avenue 3

Active Molecular Systems

RA3 objective is to elucidate collective spatiotemporal behaviors of active molecular systems, and to reveal the principles by which active molecular assemblies give rise to dynamic intracellular processes. We aim to obtain a general understanding of the principles by which collectives of active molecules generate intracellular dynamics.

›› read more on Research Avenue 3 – Active Molecular Systems

Research Avenue 4

Fluxes, Fluctuations and the Emergence of Form

RA4 will reveal physical principles of organization that underlie the living state of matter. This research avenue will stimulate and aid RA1-3 by integrating the discoveries of RA1-3 in a more general context. We will bring concepts of non-equilibrium statistical physics and of nonlinear dynamics to the study of living matter.

›› read more on Research Avenue 4 – Fluxes, Fluctuations and the Emergence of Form

Research Avenue 5

Scientific Computing and Systems Microscopy

RA5 will provide the required advances in computational approaches and interactive interrogation of biological systems. We will develop methodologies that enable quantitative predictions of spatiotemporal dynamics, interactively perturb samples, and test theories using a novel generation of computer simulation methods integrated with immersive, smart microscopes.

›› read more on Research Avenue 5 – Scientific Computing and Systems Microscopy

Research Avenue 6

Engineering Control

RA6 will develop complementary means to engineer and modulate living systems at the scales of molecules, cells and tissues, to exert exquisitely accurate and flexible control that will empower the investigation of biophysical mechanism.

›› read more on Research Avenue 6 – Engineering Control