Our group seeks to understand fundamental principles that govern the behavior of biological systems, using a combination of experiment and theory. A single label cannot describe this research; rather, it involves the domains of biological physics, evolutionary biology, cell biology, fluid dynamics and applied mathematics.
Plant biophysics The exchange of water for CO2 to synthesize sugars in plant leaves is the most fundamental currency of terrestrial life. Many physical processes that influence this exchange, however, remain poorly understood. Our goal is to determine the fundamental physical limits to plant form and function, to elucidate evolutionary patterns, and to inspire geneticists seeking higher yields.
Biological fluid dynamics Water is essential to life. We are interested in the fluid dynamics of osmosis, the thermodynamic process by which cells acquire water from their surroundings. Our goal is to quantitatively describe intra- and intercellular transport processes, which are not currently understood.
Bioimaging Recent advances in imaging technology provide unique opportunities for quantification of transport processes in biological systems. We seek to develop new methods for studies of stimulus response in plant vascular transport networks, where major outstanding questions remain.
Biologically Inspired Engineering & Innovation In science and technology, ideas often come from studying Nature. We seek to use phenomena in biology (e.g. those discussed above) to stimulate development of clean and efficient energy technologies. We aim to develop a new type of bioreactor and methods for chemical separation inspired by processes in plant leaves.