IFOM Statistical physics of cells and genomes

Statistical physics of cells and genomes


Contemporary biology is characterized by a massive flux of data, and by new high-precision techniques. These technological changes open new scientific perspectives, which in turn lead us to challenge the classic paradigms. In this context, quantitative approaches are essential, and modeling methods based on statistical physics find new avenues for application.

We are a theoretical group applying tools and concepts from statistical and soft condensed-matter physics to fundamental questions in biology, such as cell functioning and genome organization. We are characterized by (i) a quantitative approach, (ii) interdisciplinary work in direct contact with experimentalists, and (iii) a full integration of data analysis and theoretical modeling. We work jointly between IFOM and the Physics Department of the University of Milan.


Ongoing research projects

Ongoing projects include:

  1. Quantitative single-cell physiology, and in particular the determinants and homeostatic effectors of cell growth, cell-cycle progression and the control of cell division.
  2. Chromosome folding and dynamics.
  3. Role of molecular crowding in chromosome organization and cell physiology.
  4. Statistical invariants and functional profiling in evolutionary genomics and microbiome composition.
  5. The evolutionary dynamics of major genome rearrangements, such as large-scale duplications, aneuploidy and changes in the replication program.




The group engages in a fairly large number of collaborations with experimental groups in biology and quantitative biophysics, as well as with other theoreticians. Some of these collaborations concern the core themes described above, and are fully "symbiotic", with experimental and theoretical work being planned concertedly. Some other collaborations are configured as more accessory projects where our quantitative and modeling expertise is useful. Our Partners include: University of Cambridge, Ecole Normale Superieure Paris Sud, University of Minneapolis, Curie Institute (Paris), College de France (Paris), NCBS Bangalore, IRCAM (Nice), University of Milan, University of Padova, Santa Fe Institute, IFOM, LCQB Paris.


10.02.2020 rev.02