The Michaels lab is an interdisciplinary research group based at the LMCB and the Department of Physics and Astronomy. We use ideas from theoretical physics, control theory and computational biology, in close collaboration with experimentalists, to develop a quantitative understanding of complex systems in biology.
Most of our current research seeks to understand how functional and pathological biomolecular aggregation processes are regulated in time and in space in living systems. Current projects include understanding how liquid organelles act as control mechanisms for biochemistry inside living cells and modelling the pathological aggregation of proteins into amyloid fibrils, a process involved in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Our theoretical work in this area provides a basis for the rational design of potential therapeutic strategies for neurodegeneration.
The theoretical and computational methods we develop also apply to a wide range of complex systems beyond biological aggregation, and we have recently become interested in studying the interplay between aging and cancer from a network physics and control theory perspective.
We are proud that some of our research work is guided by pure curiosity and fascination for the wonders of biology. If you are curious too, read our latest Nature Physics article on the mathematical shape of apples!