Theoretical biophysics: Physical nonequilibrium as driving force for biochemical reactions
Project: In several area of biophysics it is currently of high interest how physical nonequlilbrium settings interplay with biochemical reactions. A fundamental question is to what extent simple gradients, for instance in temperature or ion concentration, can drive the reactions among simple molecular components into regimes with novel behavior. One important motivation for this question is that such phenomena must have occurred on the early Earth and may have enabled the spontaneous emergence of an evolutionary replication cycle in a purely chemical world. Today, such phenomena can be studied under well-defined laboratory conditions.
The PhD project in the group of Prof. Ulrich Gerland will deal with the theoretical description and exploration of the interplay between non-equilibrium physics and stochastic chemical reactions. The project will be carried out in collaboration with the experimental Lab of Prof. Dieter Braun. The approaches will range from simplified analytical treatments to full finite element simulations of detailed models. Using various modeling levels, you will explore basic strategies to couple physical non-equilibria to biochemical reactions, in a way to support the spontaneous emergence of replication processes.
Requirements: Applicants should ideally have a broad physics background and research experience in statistical physics or nonlinear dynamics.
Group: Prof. Ulrich Gerland, Theoretical Biophysics, Physics Department, TU Munich
Prof. Gerland's website