Principal Investigator

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Lendert Gelens
Associate Professor

Lendert received a master’s degree in electrotechnical engineering, and in physics, both at the University of Brussels (VUB). During his PhD, he studied laser dynamics and pattern formation at the applied physics group of Prof. Jan Danckaert at VUB, the IFISC institute in Spain, and the group of Prof. Edgar Knobloch at UC Berkeley in the USA. Afterwards, as a postdoctoral researcher, he moved more towards the field of biology, where he worked with Prof. James E. Ferrell at the department of Chemical and Systems Biology of Stanford University, USA. Since 2015, he leads the research group “Dynamics in Biological Systems” at the department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at KU Leuven. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, soccer, squash, and experimenting with food and drinks.

Lendert @ Google Scholar



Daniel Ruiz-Reynés

Daniel studied physics at the University of the Balearic Islands (UIB) and obtained a Master’s degree in Physics of Complex Systems. During his PhD at the Institute for Cross-Disciplinary Physics and Complex Systems (IFISC), he worked on vegetation models of pattern formation and spent three months at UC Berkeley working with Prof. Edgar Knobloch studying vegetation fronts from a theoretical perspective. His research makes use of techniques from statistical physics and nonlinear dynamics to understand complex phenomena in biology. Since October 2020, he has been working as a postdoctoral researcher in the Gelens lab at KU Leuven investigating spatial self-organization of cellular structures in the cytoplasm and uncovering its role in the coordination of cell division. In his spare time, he likes hiking, climbing, and dancing Lindy Hop.

Daniel @ Google Scholar
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Nikita Frolov

Nikita graduated from the Faculty of Nonlinear Processes of Saratov State University (Russia) in 2012 and defended his Ph.D. in Physics and Mathematics in 2015. During his thesis, he focused on nonlinear dynamics, synchronization, and chaotic behavior of high-energy electron flows and their application in microwave devices under supervision of Prof. Alexander Hramov. Since then, Nikita became interested in graph theory and neuroscience, which prompted him to change his topic as he started working as a Senior Researcher at Saratov State Technical University and Innopolis University (Russia). During this time, he had an opportunity to work with Prof. Jürgen Kurths at Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, with Prof. Alexander Pisarchik the Technical University of Madrid, and with Prof. Dibakar Ghosh at the Indian Statistical Institute. Recently, Nikita has combined his research activities with the position of Assistant Professor at Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University, Russia, teaching a course on Applied Statistics and Machine Learning for bachelor students. In his free time he enjoys meeting with friends, cooking, playing table foosball and video games, and has started doing yoga.

Nikita @ Google Scholar

Graduate Students


Liliana Piñeros Leyton

Liliana studied Microbiology and Biomedical Engineering at the University of the Andes in Colombia. During her thesis, she worked in the group of mathematical and computational biology (BIOMAC). Afterwards, she obtained her Master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Namur in Belgium. During this program, she was interested in cell signaling in different processes. For her master thesis, she worked in cancer research at the Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biology (UNamur) and she did her professional internship in the Stem Cell Institute in Leuven (SCIL). Since August 2019, she started her PhD in the Gelens Lab at KU Leuven. Her interest is to elucidate the dynamics of the cell cycle from an interdisciplinary perspective, focusing on how self-organization of the biochemistry, the nucleus and the cytoskeleton helps to control cell cycle progression. Liliana likes hiking, trail running and like a dog lover, she loves canicross.

Liliana @ Google Scholar
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Bartosz Prokop

Bartosz started his academic journey at the Technical University of Darmstadt (Germany), where he obtained a bachelor´s degree in Mechanical Engineering. During this time, he spent one year abroad at the University of Warwick. For his master studies which he completed in Darmstadt, he especially focused on fluid dynamics and finished his studies in 2021 with a thesis on the connection of non-linear dynamics and urbanization. Moreover, he gathered experience in sientific research as part of the Insutitute of Fluid Dynamics (TU Darmstadt) and as part of R&D of a global dialysis company. Since November 2021, he is working on his PhD in the Gelens Lab at KU Leuven, where he can combine his interest in life sciences and data driven models. Here he will focus on the application of Machine Learning approaches to explore cell cycle dynamics. In his free time Bartosz enjoys watching soccer, playing the piano and expanding his general knowledge by playing pub quizzes and watching documentaries.

Bartosz@ Google Scholar
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Daniel Cebrián Lacasa
Joint PhD with Goryachev Lab (University of Edinburgh)

Daniel studied Physics at the University of Zaragoza (Spain) and during his year abroad at Gothenburg University (Sweden) he decided that he wanted to specialise in Complex Systems. Afterwards, he did that by completing his master studies in the University of Balearic Islands and the IFISC (Spain). During his master courses he studied applications of physics in many different biological systems, which led him to the decision of doing his PhD at Gelens lab in collaboration with Goryachev group. His research consists on modeling the main coordinators of cell division by studying the patterns and waves created by them. He likes any kind of sport, specially climbing, and he enjoys reading a good book or watching a good movie during his free time.

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Martina Boiardi
Joint PhD with Lammertyn lab
Martina graduated from University of Pavia, Italy, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Bioengineering in 2020 and from Politecnico of Milan, Italy, with a Master’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering in 2022. During her studies she became passionate about Microfluidics and Biosensors. She started her PhD in the Laboratory of Dynamics in Biological Systems at KU Leuven in 2023, where she wants to use Microfluidics and Biosensors as tools to study and control the cell cycle of Xenopus Laevis cell-free extracts. In her free time, she enjoys reading, climbing and trekking, and she recently started studying the art of beer brewing.

Nicole Goede
Joint PhD with Brendonck lab

Nicole began her studies at the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Biosciences in 2020. During her bachelor’s degree, she completed a semester abroad at UiT the Arctic University of Norway. She then studied Environmental Sciences, also in Frankfurt am Main, and graduated with a master’s degree in 2023. Her master’s thesis dealt with the effect of textile dyes on the aquatic model organisms D. rerio and D. magna.
In 2023, she started a joint PhD in the Gelens lab and the Brendonck lab at KU Leuven. The focus of her work is to investigate the mechanisms by which temperature influences the development of ectothermic aquatic animals. She uses the test organisms of African clawed frogs, zebrafish, and annual killifish. This gives her the opportunity to research the fundamental aspects of life and relate these to the possible effects of climate change.
Nicole enjoys spending her free time reading a good book, she also loves dancing, hiking, and traveling as well as hanging out with friends.

Master Students

Jimmy Billen

2023 – 2024
Data-driven model discovery of oscillatory systems

Quinten De Block

2023 – 2024
Time-delay oscillatory systems 

Robin Van den Bliek

2023 – 2024
Anomalous diffusion and control of biochemical waves in cell division