Living Systems

The Living Systems center develops and applies a broad range of physics-based approaches – experimental, theoretical and computational – to enable innovative studies of living systems. From the folding of single protein molecules to organism-scale processes such as development, immunity and behavior, we explore the design principles of living systems across multiple levels of biological complexity and physical scales.

We develop and apply high-resolution microscopy, microfluidics, and in vitro reconstitutions of complex biological processes to quantify dynamics and organization across scales. We leverage methods and concepts of statistical physics to develop theoretical models of diverse biological phenomena, including information processing by biochemical networks and cellular mechanics, and computational methods for simulation of stochastic and spatial biochemical processes..

Our experimental labs feature state-of-the-art optical microscopes (often bespoke setups fabricated at AMOLF) for single-molecule imaging and optical tweezers / force spectroscopy, super-resolution imaging, FRET microscopy, stroboscopic widefield imaging (2-D and 3-D) and multiphoton confocal imaging. Our biochemical labs are equipped for both in vitro work with purified DNA and proteins, as well as in vivo work with cells (both ML-I and ML-II), organoids, and select model organisms such as the nematode C. elegans, and specialist technicians for molecular biology, genetics, as well as purified protein work.