Research in our group aims at elucidating the biochemical and biophysical principles that underlie the self-organization and scaling of subcellular organelles. In particular, we are interested in how the mitotic spindle and the nucleus control their defined size and shape.
One reason why this question is so hard to answer is that the size of an organelle is generally not simply set by a "ruler" but is an emergent property of molecular collectives. "Emergence" describes the way complex properties and patterns of a system arise by numerous elements, which interact by relatively simple rules.
Thus, the challenge is to dissect how geometry and material properties arise from molecular interactions. Physics can provide a framework for relating the microscopic properties of individual molecules to the macroscopic properties of the system, thus bridging the gap between individual molecules and their collective behaviour.
Therefore, my lab combines in vitro reconstitution, quantitative imaging, and theory to dissect the principles that underlay cellular scaling.