Life as a noise driven multiscale system with adaptive regulation

Principal Investigator: Prof. Alexander SKUPIN


A comprehensive approach to biological systems has to consider the multiscale character of life where the stochastic molecular interactions on the small spatiotemporal scales are regulated on the level of the cell in dependence of the environment to generate structured entities like organs and organisms embedded on the larger scales. The basics of this hierarchical organization to generate “order from disorder” is the interplay between energy and information processing. Thereby, energy is indispensably required to keep life away from the “dead equilibrium” and extracellular information has to be integrated for adaptation to the environment to ensure robustness.

To investigate the underlying principles of this “cellular nanoevolution”, we integrate cutting-edge experimental technologies including super-resolution microscopy and single cell RNA sequencing methods with advanced data analysis and mechanistic modelling approaches across the biological scales. A particular focus of our work is on the emerging cellular heterogeneity dynamics in relation to cellular energy homeostasis for which we investigate mitochondrial phenotypes, cellular (trans)differentiation and brain dynamics in health and disease conditions.

The overarching research strategy of our integrative research approach is thereby the development of new technologies based on molecular biology, bioinformatics and mechanistic modeling to enable new insights into the multiscale organization of life.


Connections to other local activities:

-Esposito: critical transitions in the transcriptome, thermodynamics of biological waves, metabolic network modeling, modelling mitochondria,

-Goncalves: seizure dynamics in zebrafish, network inference

-Del Sol: single cell RNAseq analysis

-Tkatchenko: machine learning approaches to high-dimensional biological data, protein dynamics (to come)

-Sengupta: dynamics in microbial communities

-Wilmes: ecological transitions


Connections to other international activities:

Critical Transitions: