The overgrowth of cancer cells within a confined space leads to the build up of pressure. How do cancer cells adapt to this unusual mechanical environment?
The analogy of an electrical circuit for cell signaling networks is useful but limited. How do cells actually encode and decode information?
Nonlinear systems can give cool behaviors. For example a positive feedback loop can be bistable and switch robustly between two states. A mechanical example is a light switch. An intuitive real world example is a microphone that screeches with feedback. Biological circuits are fuzzy, noisy and not based on wires. How do they work? What are they for? How can we use them?
How are the biophysical properties of cells controlled?
How does the complex, crowded cellular environment impact information processing?
Cells under pressure
How does the mechanical environment affect cells? In particular how is mechanical compressive stress (pressure) sensed?
We aim to determine general principles of biology through the lens of evolution. We have resurrected kinases from over a billion years ago to determine how their specificity and regulation has evolved.
With Jef Boeke's lab, we are building very large synthetic DNA molecules (megbase scale, a.k.a. big DNA) to enable substantial reprogramming of cells.