Energetics of Biological Systems

The research in the Rodenfels group focuses on understanding how flows of energy and cellular metabolism shape the behaviour of out of equilibrium biological systems. We aim to quantify the overall energetics of living systems and understand how cells and organisms transform and partition their energy among the complex array of cellular processes that are necessary for life at any scale, from isolated biochemical networks to quiescent and highly proliferative cells to organismal growth and development.

Biological systems are metabolically active, open systems that constantly exchange matter and energy with their environment. They function out of thermodynamic equilibrium and continuously use metabolic pathways to obtain energy to fulfill the systems energetic requirements to stay alive, grow, and develop.

In the lab, we focus on understanding the energetic and metabolic principles that maintain and govern cellular states. For example: How much energy does a cell require to stay alive and maintain a non-equilibrium state? An organism? How much more energy does that a cell or an organism need to grow and develop? How does metabolism transform energy and how is energy allocated to various cellular processes in time and space? What are the energetic changes and constrains associated with different developmental, environmental and pathological conditions?

We are interested in studying these crucial aspects of biological systems by using a variety of experimental model systems (zebrafish, frog, egg extracts, tissue culture cells and in-vitro reconstituted systems) in combination with calorimetric, biochemical, biophysical and imaging approaches. Please see Projects for details.

As a lab, we value enthusiasm, respect, trust, honesty, freedom, rigor, humor and fun in doing science together as a team. If this sounds appealing and you are interested in: collaborating, an internship or applying for PhD/Postdoc positions, feel free to contact Jonathan.


Rodenfels lab movie