A soft matter approach to cell-free synthetic biology

Our lab combines soft-matter physics, materials science and biochemistry to assemble and study synthetic cell-free cellular 2D compartments as ‘artificial cells’. Recent focus has been on reconstructing autonomous synthesis of cellular machines, studying fuzzy decision-making gene circuits, observing synchrony in nonlinear genetic oscillators, and manipulating protein synthesis reactions by high-frequency electric field. Working with fluids in confined dimensions at the scale of the cell, also led us to discover collective many-body non-equilibrium phenomena in 2D droplet ensembles.