Making Sense of Biological Designs

We are curious about how biological systems are built. We want to understand the engineering principles and molecular mechanisms of how things are built and how things function. In the lab, we study multiple scales of biological organisation, from small protein circuits, signaling pathways, developmental programs, to organisms. We enjoy using various tools, such as paper-and-pencil mathematical modeling, computer simulation, biochemistry, single-cell imaging, histology, molecular biology, experiments in frog embryos, and lately, some cutting and grinding experiments in jellies.

Check out our Systems Biology Program at Caltech!



May 9, 2017

Caltech released a story on Chris’ paper: Cells calculate ratios to control gene expression.  Thanks to Lori Dajose, who put in a lot of effort to write about our work in a way that non-experts can understand!

March 20, 2017

Congratulation, Chris!  Chris’ paper came out today.  Chris showed in the paper that Smad signal in the Tgfbeta pathway is sensed in a relative manner.  Clare Yarka and Harry Nunns contributed too.  Check out the paper, it’s open access in PNAS.

September 8, 2016

Check out an invited blurb we wrote for Cell Systems on Noah’s paper:  How do cells compute logarithm?

July 13, 2016

And hooray!!!  Noah’s work just came out in PNAS.  Read the paper: Allosteric Proteins as Logarithmic Sensors.

June 13, 2016

And it’s summer time again.  We welcome Laura Ratliff, a rising senior from Flintridge Prep, returning to the lab this time to learn to clone and make movies of cells.  We also welcome a new technician in the lab, Andrew Liu, who graduated from Cal and joined the lab to tackle the b-catenin project with Kibeom.  We have great hopes for him.

January 5, 2016

Happy New Year!  Check out Noah’s new website at