The Mathijssen lab is interested in exploring the physics of life: we combine experimental and theoretical techniques across the disciplines of physics and biology.
Our main goals are to unravel the physics of pathogens, to design biomedical materials, and understand the collective functionality of living systems (out of equilibrium). To solve these multi-scale problems we use methods from microbiology, fluid mechanics, omics, statistical physics, microscopy and information theory. Recent themes include ultra-fast biology and hydrodynamic communication (Nature 2019), pathogen clearance in the airways (Nature Physics 2020), tuning upstream swimming of microrobots (Physical Review Applied 2020), and bacterial contamination dynamics (Nature Communications 2019).
This research is both fundamental in nature (e.g. How can an intelligent system arise from the collective dynamics of its basic components?) and directly applied to our society (e.g. What is the probability of SARS-CoV-2 transmission within a food supply chain?). Our enthusiasm is driven by curiosity and the need for solutions that connect science with the challenges of the world we live in. Please get in touch if you would like to join our team!
Our group is part of the Centre for Soft and Living Matter at UPenn, an interdisciplinary center that brings together ~60 faculty from over 10 departments across the Penn campus.