Disordered and Biological Soft Matter

We are an interdisciplinary group of physicists and biologists studying processes in disordered and out-of-equilibrium systems, where our interests can be put into three categories.

Light transport in turbid media: On the one hand, we are studying fundamental processes connected with wave transport in multiple scattering media connected to Anderson localization. Furthermore, we are developing novel imaging techniques for in-vivo imaging in turbid environments, such as developing biological systems based on our understanding gained in the fundamental investigation of multiple scattering wave transport.

Developmental biology. Here, we are studying physical regulatory processes, such as the influence of mechanical stresses on growth and development. For this purpose, we are studying two biological problems: growth regulation of the wing imaginal disc in the fruit fly Drosophila and fin regeneration in Zebrafish. Both of these systems have been characterized extensively using genetic techniques and several molecular players are known, but cannot explain the biological regulation. For these projects we are mechanically stimulating the tissues and develop the necessary forcing apparatus for tissue scale properties. For these, we are closely collaborating with different Biology groups listed in the links section.

Dynamics of non-equilibrium systems. Here, we investigate the dynamics of granular gases under microgravity, as well as that of levitated three dimensional foams. The dynamics of foams is also interesting in the context of biological tissues, where two dimensional foams form structures akin to the epithelial tissues we study in Biology. As such, the investigation of biological tissues give us a starting point for the investigation of the elasticity of growing soft matter and the corresponding dynamics invoked by the out-of-equilibrium nature of these systems.

All of the above interests come together in the study of the structural colouration of animals and its development.

Some popular articles describing our work