Self organizing behaviour in multicellular systems
Life arises out of the dynamic interactions of numerous actors, at the level of cells and at the level of the molecules of which the cells are composed. To understand a biological system, this plurality of actors has to be characterized and formally represented. Technological advances now allow to systematically characterize actors in parallel, for instance the measurement of the full transcriptome of an individual cell or measuring in all cells of an embryo the location and quantity of several proteins. This wealth of data requires computational models to characterize and understand the dynamical behavior, as well as integrate the observations with detailed knowledge of a protein’s biochemical activity, amongst many other kinds of potentially relevant biological knowledge.
We are a young, interdisciplinary group and we combine both experimental and computational approaches. The research questions revolve around crucial fundamental biological problems that can also yield important applications. At the moment we work on two main projects. First, we aim to improve our understanding of the gene to phenotype map for complex traits. For this project we use the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a model organism. Second, we try to better understand the self organizing behaviour of multicellular systems. Here we use embryogenesis of the roundworm C. elegans as a model.
Start Lab in 2013