Salbreux lab Theoretical Physics of Biology Laboratory

Illustrations and equations can be used to make sense of biology.

The Theoretical Physics of Biology Laboratory uses physical descriptions like those shown in this image to make sense of biological systems.

Our lab studies how physics applies to biology. This means we use the law of physics and the approach of theoretical physics to understand the behavior of cells and tissues.

We use physics to describe how the behavior of biological systems emerge from the large number of components they are made of. We can then create a mathematical description of biological processes as they happen at the level of the cell or the whole tissue. Theoretical tools and computer programmes help us to compare our mathematical description to the reality of biological systems.

At the cellular level we look at how the internal skeleton of the cell interacts with other cell components to establish the cell shape or perform tasks such as cell division. At the tissue level we are interested in how the overall shape of an animal is formed during the development of an embryo. Here we can use physics to understand how cells move, divide, die or change their fate to create a whole organism.