The world is a complex and dynamic place. Earth takes part in an intricate dance with the moon, surrounding planets, our sun, other stars and entire galaxies. All interact with one another determining our position in the universe. On a much smaller scale, humans consist of trillions of cells that work together to let us walk, run, and think. Each such single living cell is driven by the interaction of about a trillion non-living molecules. Life at all scales is complex, dynamic, and difficult to understand. All these examples, however, have in common that they obey the basic laws of physics. Although we can apply those laws to understand a small part of each system, many interacting parts can behave wildly different and unpredictable. By combining theory and experiment, our lab aims at understanding such system dynamics, studying living (Dynamics in Biology) and non-living (Dynamics in Physics) systems.
Welcome ArnoOctober 2018
We’re happy to welcome Arno to our lab! Arno studied biosystems engineering and he will be designing and using microfluidic devices to study various aspects of the spatiotemporal regulation of the cell cycle.
Stefan and Alexandra show how excitability can lie at the heart of toxin excitations in bacteriaAugust 2018
Toxin-antitoxin (TA) systems in bacteria and archaea are small genetic elements consisting of the genes coding for an intracellular toxin and an antitoxin that can neutralize this toxin. In various cases, the toxins cleave the mRNA. Stefan and Alexandra have used deterministic and stochastic modeling to explain how toxin-induced cleavage of mRNA in TA systems can lead to excitability, allowing large transient spikes in toxin levels to be triggered. This work has been posted to bioRxiv.
Stefan publishes work on the dynamics of two interacting microbial species in the chemostatJune 2018
In the context of Stefan’s joint PhD at the ULB (with D. Gonze) and VUB (with J. Danckaert) in Brussels, he has theoretically studied the dynamics of two interacting microbial species in the chemostat. These species are competitors for a common resource, as well as mutualists due to cross-feeding. He demonstrated that this system has a rich repertoire of dynamical behavior, including bistability, and showed that the different steady state solutions can be well captured by an extended Lotka-Volterra model. This work was published in PLoS One.