Our mission is to address our fundamental question of “how cells form tissues”. At the current time we are particularly interested in the problem of emergence. How do the properties of tissues emerge from the interactions between individual cells and how do cells emerge from the interaction of molecules?

Molecular Machineries and Collectives

The MPI-CBG uses a multi-disciplinary approach to understand basic machineries responsible for cell division, cell adhesion, cell polarity, cell-cell interactions, organization of the cytoplasm, intracellular transport, membrane trafficking and how such processes are regulated and modified by signalling and metabolic pathways in the specific context of tissues.

Mechanics, Biophysics, and Modeling

How do the properties of cells emerge from the interactions between individual cells and how do cells emerge from the interaction of molecules? We believe that the questions of how resilience, robustness, and precision emerge from molecular interactions, and the appropriate physics and computational models to describe biological systems, are the central questions that will occupy biology for the next decades.

Because descriptions of emergent properties at cell and tissue scale have similar physical and mathematical principles, this provides a platform for a multiscale understanding of biological organization. We and others have termed this field “the physics of life”.

Fate, Shape, and Disease

In general, we investigate morphogenetic problems such as the regulation of size and shape at all scales using several model organisms. A recent expansion of this is to use organoids as a key model system to investigate the development of tissues from cells and organs from tissues as well as the underlying cell biology of these processes.

Organoids allow us the ability to work on human tissue biology and re-engineer tissue formation in vitro. The studies of tissues using organoids and the reconstitution of complex biochemical systems in vitro allow the creation of a framework of cell and tissue organization that allows us explore fate, morphogenesis, tissue shape and function, and the origin of disease.