Fundamentals of physical genetics
Living systems live and die based on the information encoded in genes and used in the networks that control their expression. In this major research activity, we focus on several distinct but coupled physical aspects of genetics, including stochasticity of transcription, circuit design of genetic networks, and the spatiotemporal layout of the genome. These projects take advantage of the unique capabilities of the CTBP, where expertise in different aspects of the task at hand can be brought together to make rapid progress.
Interacting active elements and biological functionality
Biological systems are built by the cooperative behavior of active, non-equilibrium entities. This paradigm relates to motors and polymers within cells as well as cells within tissues. We are still learning about how the interactions between these types of elements create higher-level functional behavior. And we strongly believe that lessons learned at one biological level can directly inform research at other level, both in terms of concepts and methods - we have seen this repeatedly in our CTBP history.
Integrated living systems
Biological systems are inherently hierarchical. Behavior at the multicellular scale depends the integrated activity of cells, and this coordination arises of course from the coordinated behavior of their molecular networks. In this section, we tackle this integration problem, in two main areas: tissues and biofilms. Also, we use ideas generated by CTBP research in this area to help understand what can go wrong with this organizational strategy, in the context of cancer.
Development of Core Methodology
There are a number of core methodologies under development at CTBP that will prove invaluable for our overall research agenda and which we share freely with the broader community. These include advanced molecular techniques, a computational model of cell motility mechanics and concomitant cell shape changes, and a landscape-based approach to complex genetic circuits. Research continues into extending these tools and in making them more accessible.