Future Colloquium

“Physics Meets Biology Webinar” 
Autocatalytic networks toward Darwinian evolution by Dr. Philippe NGHE from CNRS-ESPCI ParisTech, France

Invited by Prof. Massimiliano ESPOSITO, group leader of the Complex Systems and Statistical Mechanics within the Physics and Materials Science Department.

Date: Wednesday, 27th January at 4 pm 2020
Hour: 4:00 to 5:00 pm
Invitation:2021_01_27_Philippe Nghe_Physics meets Bio online colloquium

How did evolution emerge in physical-chemical systems during the origin of life? Reproduction requires autocatalysis, but evolution further requires a diversity of autocatalytic systems. In a first study, we found universal stoichiometric criteria to recognize autocatalysis in reaction networks. This analysis unifies our view of self-reproduction in already known systems and indicates that there may exist many others. In a second study, we experimentally measured the dynamics of thousands of autocatalytic RNA reaction networks. The resulting landscape reveals trade-offs between the Darwinian properties of variation and selection in self-reproducing systems. Finally, I will discuss how Darwinian evolution may ultimately be implemented in RNA recombination networks.

[1] Ameta, S., Arsène, S., Foulon, S., Saudemont, B., Clifton, B. E., Griffiths, A. D., & Nghe, P. (2021). Darwinian properties and their trade-offs in autocatalytic RNA reaction networks, Nature Communications (2021, in press)
[2] Blokhuis, A., Lacoste, D., & Nghe, P., Universal motifs and the diversity of autocatalytic systems. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117(41), 25230-25236 (2020)

Biography: Philippe Nghe did a PhD in soft matter fluids (ESPCI Paris) and a post-doc in Biophysics (AMOLF, ND). He is now associate professor at ESPCI Paris where his group works on single cell analysis, experimental evolution, and origin of life. He combines technological developments and theory to establish tools to measure and model biochemical reaction networks, with a particular emphasis on the mechanistic understanding of evolution.


Meeting link: Join this Webinar
Meeting number (access code): 175 194 9780
Password: tpE88ADH5yM


“Physics of Living Matter” Cross-disciplinary course

Master of Science in Physics – University of Luxembourg


Audience: Masters and PhD students coming from Physics, Life Sciences, Health and Environmental sciences/engineering

Lecturer: Associate Prof. SENGUPTA Anupam and GHOSHAL Arkajyoti



Cross Disciplinary course in Biological Physics targeted to Masters and PhD level students from PhyMS RU, LS RU, LCSB, RU ES, LIH, and LIST.

The cross-disciplinary field of biophysics has seen major expansion in the recent years, thanks to the advancements in physical, engineering and computational tools. Luxembourg is at the forefront of scientific activities in biological physics with its exciting landscape of experimental and theoretical research on biological questions that require a strong quantitative physical approach. The Physics and Materials Research Unit offers an introduction to this exciting interdisciplinary field, interfacing fluid mechanics, microbiology (of virus, bacteria, and algae), physical ecology, and materials physics. This course will explore how quantitative approaches in biological sciences could provide a mechanistic framework for the rich myriad of emergent phenomena observed in living systems.

Main Objectives
1. To be able to quantify biological processes at the level of individual cells, populations, and multi-species communities, and their relation to the environments they inhabit.
2. To have an overview of the main relevant experimental and statistical tools, and respective working principles, relevance, and limitations.
3. To understand cross-interactions between cellular behavior and physiology.
4. To understand how single cell dynamics lead to emergent functional properties at the scale of population and communities.

See more details and the course description