In Dresden, we develop novel theoretical concepts, tools and techniques to study biomolecular condensates. To do this, we take a multidisciplinary approach that involves collaborations between biologists, physicists, chemists, mathematicians, engineers, and computer scientists.
Condensates are higher-order assemblies with variable stoichiometry, which are used by cells to organise their biochemistry into compartments. They can form by the process of liquid-liquid phase separation inside cells, which results in two coexisting but separate liquid phases, akin to the separation of water and oil. The dynamic properties of liquid condensates allows them to form and dissolve rapidly, and the constituents components of condensates can change in response to signals and environmental cues. Aberrant phase transitions of condensates have also been linked to diseases such as neurodegeneration and cancer, providing a new view of human diseases and new avenues for therapeutic interventions.