Biological processes most obey the laws of physics, but are also subject to functional requirements and shaped by the forces of evolution. Our group is interested in how functional requirements are implemented within the given physical constraints. To that end, we develop theoretical tools to describe complex regulatory systems and their coupling to the cellular context. Topics of specific interest are molecular machines, gene regulation and cell growth as well as (bacterial) cell motility.

Active matter and motility

Many biological systems are driven by a coupling to an internal driving force (eventually fueled by a metabolism), which gives rise to active behaviors such as self-propulsion and growth. Self-propulsion poses a number of interesting questions such as: How do self-propelled particles (e.g. cells, but also micro-robots) navigate complex environments? How can they be controlled? What collective behaviors emerge in systems of many such particles? What is the interplay of activity and density of particles? Our work in this area focuses in particular on magnetotaxis in magnetotactic bacteria and on self-propelled filaments.


Stochastic dynamics in cells

Many biological processes are inherently stochastic. We are interested in how stochasticity shapes the material properties and the function of biologic systems beyond acting as a perturbation. Our interest is in specific systems as well as general questions, e.g. related to the coarse-graining of stochastic dynamics.


Gene regulation, cell growth, and population dynamics

Many cellular processes, in particular gene expression, are coupled to cell growth. This coupling gives rise to interesting problems related to the control of gene expression and often results in complex population dynamics with heterogeneous populations