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. How are cellular compartments organized in space and time? How is phase separation and phase transitions controlled inside the cell? How does the cytoskeleton guide compartment formation inside cells? How do protein drops wet cytoskeletal filaments and cell membranes? How do single molecules behave as they form protein droplets? How can active matter physics contribute to our understanding of phase separation of biological molecules? To answer these questions, we will strengthen the current approaches in Dresden by establishing a program in physical chemistry to study the molecular grammar driving phase separation and compositional specificity of cellular condensates.

Molecular mechanisms of protein droplet formation

Research Topic 1

Molecular mechanisms of protein droplet formation

Phase separation in the cytosol and the nucleus

Research Topic 2

Phase separation in the cytosol and the nucleus

Phase transitions and metabolism

Research Topic 3

Phase transitions and metabolism

Suppression of biochemistry and the thermodynamics of dormancy

Research Topic 4

Suppression of biochemistry and the thermodynamics of dormancy

Active droplet theory

Research Topic 5

Active droplet theory