Richard Morris' Research Projects
The Theory of Biological Systems
My (newly formed) group focusses on applying and developing concepts from statistical and theoretical soft-condensed matter physics, as well as applied mathematics, to describe biological systems. We are based in the Lowy Centre for Cancer Research, part of the School of Medicine.
The underlying premise is that, at its most fundamental, biology cannot be disentangled from thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, and hydrodynamics. Moreover, with the help of recent dramatic improvements in experimental techniques (both in microscopy and genetics) we aim to uncover the new physics of animate, living, matter.
The research program of the group is broad, and encompasses a diverse set of length- and time-scales. Examples range from sub-cellular molecular information processing to morphogenesis and collective migration in tissues. We even have some work concerning the collective behaviour of fish.
In this context, I will work with prospective students in order to find a project that has a good fit. Examples might include:
- Covariant membrane hydrodynamics and its effect on embedded proteins (interest in differential geometry required).
- Motility-Induced Phase Separation (MIPS) at the cell surface: how do cells form and use nano-clustering.
- Contractility-regulated modes of migration in expanding tissues; Levy flights and active jamming.
- Fail-safe and error correction in T-cell receptor signalling.
Typically, such projects involve a high level of theory/ mathematics, combined with either some simulation or data & image analysis.
I expect successful honours students to be offerred the opportuntiy to study for a PhD.