Molecular Biophysics, Statistical Physics
In biological physics, we investigate the structure and dynamics of biological molecules and the laws according to which they can organize themselves into biological systems and fulfill functions. To achieve this, we develop new quantitative measurement methods and theoretical models suitable for describing complex systems and systems far from thermodynamic equilibrium. The research area works interdisciplinary at the interface of biology, biochemistry, and physics and investigates fundamental questions connected to biology, medical research, and its applications.
We want to understand the fundamental processes which drive the formation of biological building blocks at the origin of life by simulating artificial systems of molecular evolution in laboratory experiments. In single molecule measurements, we can observe how proteins are unfolded by mechanical forces and understand how protein changes communicate signals. We want to find out the physical mechanisms how genes in human cells fulfill their tasks and how they deal with precisely defined external disturbances. With methods of DNA nanotechnology we open new ways of precise control over molecular reactions and new high resolution imaging techniques. We investigate the principles of self-organization of macromolecules and collective phenomena in assemblages of self-moving cells. Which laws apply to structure formation and dynamics in multicellular systems? In theoretical models we use stochastic processes, methods of nonlinear dynamics, and computer simulations. The aim is to understand the fundamental role of the different mechanisms in biological systems.