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!



October 6, 2017

Check out our recent paper in collaboration with the Sternberg and Gradinaru labs, on the discovery that jellyfish show a sleep-like state.  Props to the first authors Michael Abrams, Ravi Nath, and Claire Bedbrook!  As well as Ty Basinger who helped with setting up the experiments, Justin Bois who gave critical help with developing the computational methods, and David Prober who gave important insights and discussion on the experiments.

September 5, 2017

Our Big Picture Science interview is featured in NSF Science360 Radio.  Check it out!

July 28, 2017

The beta-catenin paper is officially online! Congratulations Kibeom, Jay, Tom, Andrew, and Harry for the excellent work. Also an author is Bryan Ryba, who helped us with the project a couple of summers as SURF and Amgen fellow. Check out the paper, where we describe a novel cis-regulatory element in the Wnt pathway and a novel role for beta-catenin acting as a signal and a feedforward sensor: Two-Element Transcriptional Regulation in the Canonical Wnt Pathway.

We dedicate the paper to the late Eric Davidson, who had many suggestions for the project, and whose presence we deeply miss.

July 21, 2017

Andrew leaves the lab to join the biology graduate program at Northwestern. Good luck Andrew, it was so much fun having you in the lab, visit us when you come home.

July 20, 2017

And we have more new people in the lab! Welcome Angel Galvez Merchan and Ashley Chen. Angel is a rotation student from the Biology program. He is setting experiments to tackle important aspects of fold-change detection in the Wnt pathway. Ashley is a rising junior at South High School, Torrance. She is building a movie set to tape jellyfish swimming.

June 28, 2017

Lea gets a chance this week to breathe a little from a whirlwind year of writing papers, writing grants, and going on trips to give talks (… including the cherished ones down the memory lane to Princeton and Woods Hole).