We are a theory group, strongly collaborating with experimentalists, and aiming to uncover fundamental, physical principles of intra-cellular organization and origin of life by quantitative comparisons between theory and experimental data. Our group uses concepts from the field of phase transition kinetics, non-equilibrium thermodynamics, and non-linear dynamics.
We are interested in the physicochemcial principles underlying the spatio-temporal organization in cells. Specifically, we theoretically study how cells can create bio- logical function by controlling biochemical reactions through phase transitions, focussing on phase separation, gelation and polymerization.
Origin of Life
We would like to understand how life-like properties such as metabolism, replication and selection, could have emerged via phase transitions in a mixture composed of a very large number of different macromolecules. Our ultimate goal is to contribute to our understanding of how a simple proto-cell with a set of biological functions could have emerged at the origin of life.
Research of Prof. Dr. U. Eckern / Prof. Dr. K. Ziegler