The Laboratory for the Physics of Life at Princeton University studies the basic physical principles that govern the existence of multicellular life, from the collective behavior of soil-dwelling amoeba to the development of the human embryo after the moment of conception.
With a systems biophysics approach, a core focus of the lab is to understand embryonic development (in eggs of the common fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster) from the perspective of a physicist. We see development--the complex process through which an organism grows from a single cell into a differentiated, multicellular organism--as a self-assembly problem. As such, we should be able to formulate and experimentally validate quantitative models that describe how individual cells interact and organize in order to generate complex life forms. Our research is mainly experimental, but with a strong theoretical influence.