Chromosome Organization




If physics is the science that seeks to describe Nature using the language of mathematics then physical biology is that part of physics that concerns itself with the living world. Our explorations of the physical biology of the cell are focused on three distinct areas: regulation of gene expression, structure of chromosomes and their function, and dynamics of the cytoskeleton. We employ a combination of theory and experimentation on single molecules and single cells; while we do not have our own lab space, experiments by students in the group are carried out in life-sciences laboratories at Brandeis that we partner with, currently the Gelles, Haber, and Goode labs.

Quantitative theory has yet to find its rightful place as a tool for examining living systems. Mathematical modeling in biology is often employed to fit experimental data. This approach rarely leads to new insights and serves only to reinforce and possibly make more quantitative the already established interpretation of the data. On the other hand, theory as practiced in the physical sciences has lead to new insights and breakthroughs, often marching ahead of experiments; the atomic nature of matter and the relativity of time, are but two well known examples. Establishing theory and mathematical modeling as a tool for making biological discoveries is the ultimate goal of the research conducted in the Kondev group.