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Theory of Living Matter Group

 

Organiser team (in alphabetical order)

Sasha Eremina

PhD student

Department of Biochemistry, Sainsbury Laboratory

SLCU website
Email:

Research Interests

  • Stochasticity in gene expression
  • Evolutionary biology
  • Single cell microfluidics
  • Quantitative chronobiology

Sasha works on systems biology of circadian rhythms by studying circadian gene expression dynamics in response to various perturbations. She is curious to see the relationship between immediate and long-term responses to link stochastic gene expression to evolution of the clock network.


Pau Formosa-Jordan

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Sainsbury Laboratory

Personal website #1
Personal website #2
Email:

Research Interests

  • Pattern formation in plant and animal tissues
  • Dynamical systems in Biology
  • Noise in Biology
  • Cell division
  • Cell polarity

Pau is a physicist by training. In 2014 he came to Cambridge to start a postdoc at the Sainsbury Laboratory. In his current research, he is studying different aspects of signalling and patterning at the tissue, cellular and subcellular levels. To do so, he uses combined theoretical and experimental approaches involving mathematical modelling, time lapse microscopy of fluorescent markers in plant tissues and in cell cultures, and quantitative image analysis.


Adrien Hallou

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Department of Physics, Gurdon Institute and Stem Cell Institute

Email:

Research Interests

  • Stem cell dynamics in epithelial tissues
  • Cell fate decisions
  • Embryonic pattern formation
  • Mechanotransduction
  • Collective cell migration in development and cancer

Initially trained as a physicist and a chemist, Adrien developed his interest for quantitative approaches of biological systems during his MPhil and PhD in Biophysics at the University of Cambridge. He is now a postdoctoral research fellow in the group of Prof. Ben Simons, and combines theory, computer simulations and wet lab experiments to understand the role of cellular heterogeneity in cell fate decision, pattern formation and epithelial tissue function during homeostasis, regeneration and tumorogenesis.


Daniel Kunz

PhD student

Department of Physics, Gurdon Institute and Wellcome Sanger Institute

Email:

Research Interests

  • Mathematical modelling
  • Cell fate dynamics
  • Cell cycle regulation

Daniel is shared between the labs of Ben Simons and Sarah Teichmann. He is mostly using single cell RNA-seq data to understand cell fate dynamics.


Céline Labouesse

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Stem Cell Institute

Email:

Research Interests

  • Stem cell fate decisions
  • Mechanobiology, mechanotransduction
  • Cytoskeleton and cell mechanical properties
  • Nuclear mechanics

Céline has background in physics and cell biophysics. After working on mechanical properties of cytoskeletal structures during her PhD in EPFL, Switzerland, she joined the group of Kevin Chalut at the Stem Cell Institute in 2015 to study the mechanical control of embryonic stem cell fate. In particular, she looks at how external forces from the micro-environment are transduced to the cell and the nucleus and ultimately impact cell fate decisions.


Xiaoyan Ma

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Department of Biochemistry

Email:

Research Interests

  • Chromosome organisation
  • Transcription factor binding dynamics and spatial co-localisation
  • Computational biology
  • Stem cell differentiation

Xiaoyan has a background in biochemistry and computational biology. She did her PhD in Genetics investigating transcription factor binding dynamics and 3D co-localisation in mammalian genome, using a combination of biophysical modelling and chromatin contact map analysis. Xiaoyan joined Prof. E. D. Laue's group in Oct 2017 to further her research on chromosome organisation in single nucleus.


Alexander Nestor-Bergmann

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience

Email:

Research Interests

  • Tissue mechanics
  • Active mechanical properties of cells
  • Cell division

Mathematician by training and biologist by aspiration, Alex’s main interests lie in biomechanics. During his PhD, Alex developed mechanical models of tissues to study how external forces can influence cell division. In 2018, he joined Cambridge as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Benedicte Sanson’s group. His current research focuses on understanding how the active mechanical properties of cells can lead to coordinated and unintuitive tissue-level behaviour. A fundamental aspect of this work is extensive interaction between “wet” and “dry” biologists.


Berta Verd

Postdoctoral Fellow

Department of Genetics

Email:

Research Interests

  • Developmental dynamics
  • Evolution of development
  • Dynamical systems

I am a somewhat unusual breed of biologist. A mathematician by training, I spent a year studying a Masters degree in sociology of science before starting to work in biology during my second Masters degree in Systems and Synthetic Biology at Imperial College, London. There I combined experiments and stochastic models to address the mechanisms underlying bimodal activation in cell populations after induction by NFAT signaling. It soon became very clear to me that interdisciplinary approaches held huge potential to help us understand some of the most central problems in biology, and I was hooked. After my Masters I moved to the Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona to pursue a doctorate degree in evolutionary and developmental systems biology under the supervision of Dr. Johannes Jaeger. I used data-driven mathematical modeling to study pattern formation during segment determination in Drosophila and other species of flies. I developed mathematical tools to characterise gene expression dynamics, allowing us to compare these amongst different arthropod species. This has helped us understand how gene regulatory networks drive gene expression dynamics in developmental processes and shape their evolution. In October 2017 I joined the Steventon Lab as a Herchel-Smith Postdoctoral Fellow where I am combining experimental and dynamical modeling approaches to understand neuromesodermal progenitor competence and differentiation in zebrafish embryos.