A theoretical physicist by training, I develop concepts and theories that capture key principles of collective cell behaviour in developing and adult organisms. Often, these theories reveal principles of self-organisation that crucially contribute to the system’s function and cannot be understood on the molecular level alone. My current research interests include
June 15, 2016 | Using a transgenic zebrafish line with massive DeltaD overexpression, we show that intercellular coupling alters the wave patterns of gene expression during vertebrate segmentation. The transgenic line named Damascus makes more, shorter body segments at an increased speed. We interpret this behavior in terms of a recently discovered Doppler effect that regulates the period of segmentation.Article in Nature Communications
February 13, 2016 | We show that autonomous genetic oscillations occur in cells dissociated from the zebrafish presomitic mesoderm. We quantify the temporal characteristics of the oscillations and describe their behavior by a theoretical model close to a Hopf bifurcation.Article in eLife
October 10, 2015 | We develop a cell-based 3D model of self-organized tissue segmentation based on local rules of cell mechanics, cell differentiation, morphogen dynamics, and oscillator dynamics.Movie on YouTube
September 24, 2015 | In two new studies published this month, we use theoretical models of coupled phase oscillators to quantitatively describe the complex dynamics in two very different systems: the developing vertebrate embryo and digital electronic clocking networks.Article in IEEE ICC 2015 Conf. Proc.
May 7, 2015 | In a new study, I show that finite inertia of individual oscillators enables nonlinear phase waves in spatially extended coupled systems, a generic feature of such systems which is independent of the details of the coupling function.Article in Chaos