The investigation and manipulation of the internal workings of cells is known as cellular engineering. Our research combines microfluidics, soft matter physics, cell biology and imaging to investigate how structures assemble within cells and how cells respond to external cues. Another important tool in this area is metabolic engineering, which relies on the elucidation of the architecture and interactions of metabolic networks within cells. A major area of research at Princeton is the study of liquid-liquid phase transition phenomena within cells that are responsible for the formation of membrane-less organelles.
Tissue engineering focuses at the level of cell assemblies — how they form, what signals and patterns in space and time determine the structure of organs in healthy and diseased states, and how external mechanical forces influence cell functioning and assembly.
At the intersection of cellular and tissue engineering are studies of morphogenesis (development of organs) and embryogenesis (growth of embryos from a single fertilized cell). Our researchers study how cells cooperate and integrate to build complex tissue geometries, develop mathematical models for the quantitative analysis of development, and study how physical and chemical effects shape microbial communities and their collective functions.
Metabolic Engineering; Synthetic Biology; Structural Biology and Protein Engineering; Systems Biology; Protein Biochemistry and Biophysics
Patterning in Developing Embryos; Physical Properties and Function of RNA/Protein Bodies; Architecture and Dynamics of the Cytoskeleton
Host-pathogen Interactions; Bacterial Persistence
Soft Matter Physics and Engineering; Flow Through Porous Media; Interfacial Phenomena; Biophysics; Biological Polymers; Microfluidics
Theory and simulation of biomolecular self-assembly; Design and bioengineering of protein/RNA compartments; Multiscale computational models
Protein Engineering; Peptides; Natural Products; Antibiotics; Microbiology; Genomics; Supramolecular Chemistry
Mammalian Tissue Morphogenesis/Morphodynamics; Microfabrication/bioMEMS for Tissue Engineering; Cell Adhesion and Mechanics
Theory and simulation of soft/polymeric materials; computational materials design; multiscale simulation; machine-learning in molecular modeling
Bioengineering: biomaterials, biomechanics, swarm behavior
Small-molecule-mediated interactions, the human microbiome in health and disease, metagenomics and computational biology, drug metabolism
Molecular architecture and function of the microtubule cytoskeleton; X-ray crystallography and engineering; biophysical methods
Quantitative Analysis of Pattern Formation and Morphogenesis in Developing Tissues; Genetics, Genomics and Computation of Signaling Pathways
Fluid Dynamics and Transport Processes; Complex Fluids; Colloidal Hydrodynamics; Microfluidics; Cellular-scale Hydrodynamics; Biofilms
Cell Signaling Pathways; Cellular Optogenetics; High-resolution Microscopy; Biochemistry/Cell Biology; Systems Biology; Signal Processing