Living systems have evolved intriguing mechanisms of self-regulation to unfold their physical shape and maintain their robust functioning. During development, differentiated cells have to be generated in the right number and sequence; during adult life, stem cells and specialised cells have to coordinate their activity and proliferation cycles in order to maintain the function of organs and repair injuries.
In all these different contexts, the robust collective behaviour of cell populations relies on their capacity to self-regulate, which emerges from the interplay between local cellular operations and intercellular coupling. When this interplay is compromised, diseases can arise.
Using methods from non-equilibrium physics, I study the collective regulation of timing and morphologies during embryonic patterning, in particular during vertebrate segmentation and neurogenesis.
Using methods from statistical physics and dynamical systems theory, I investigate how stem cells maintain adult tissue and lead to recovery of tissue after injury. Moreover, I study how the stem cell pool size is regulated by intercellular signaling.
Oscillators often tend to synchronise in the presence of coupling. Depending on the features of oscillators and coupling, the system can exhibit intriguing and counterintuitive transient dynamics.
I study the spatiotemporal phase patterns that occur during these transient dynamics and how they depend on the properties of the coupled system. In particular, I focus on the role of inert signal propagation and processing, i.e., time delays in the oscillator coupling and slow frequency adaptation of individual oscillators.
Electronic components that perform tasks in a concerted way rely on a common time reference. We developed a novel approach to achieve such a common time reference in large systems by synchronising a distributed network of electronic oscillators.
Instead of a traditional master-clock approach, in which one master oscillator entrains nodes, our approach exploits the self-organised synchronisation of mutually delay-coupled oscillators.
This project lives on, headed by Dr Lucas Wetzel:
|Theoretical Biology||Theoretical Physics|
Stem cell fate dynamics
Morphogenesis and developmental pattern formation
Non-equilibrium and statistical physics
Nonlinear and stochastic dynamics
Electronic synchronisation technologies