The actin cytoskeleton plays a crucial role in many aspects of cellular life such as cell motion and cell division. We are interested in the physical and engineering principles involved in the assembly of actin proteins into filaments and larger scale structures. Theoretical methods of statistical mechanics and soft matter physics are applied to actin protein assemblies to study the emergent collective properties. In order to address the complexity of biological systems and to formulate testable theoretical predictions our work is closely coupled to experiment. Depending on the biological question, the methods we use involve computational and analytical modeling and/or quantitative data analysis in collaboration with experimentalists.

Cell image showing actin concentrated at the leading edge of a motile fibroblast (image courtesy of Naoki Watanabe, Tohoku University).


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