My laboratory is interested in problems at the interface of physics and biology. The main thrust of our research is the design of new experimental approaches and the performance of high-precision physics-style measurements in living animals, such that our data allows for direct validation of mathematical models. This program is aimed at the generation of theories describing biological phenomena which are derived from general principles in the physics tradition. Currently our main interests lie in the collective behaviors of eukaryotic cells all the way from microbes to embryonic tissue, and in how the control of gene expression in early fly embryos leads to the formation of an animal body plan. We are making experimental and theoretical progress on the biological questions in each of these areas, the long-term goal, however, is to find theories inspired by experimental data that go beyond the specifics of the biological systems with the hope of finding in the living world some new physics, which has been hidden and cannot necessarily be revealed in the inanimate world.
Research in the lab is highly interdisciplinary. The interests and expertise of the lab's members range from physics to biology to computer science to engineering; we use a combination of computational and experimental approaches. We build microscopes and microfluidic devices to measure the concentrations dynamics of proteins and signaling molecules; we develop imaging techniques to count single molecules in large scattering tissues; we use tools from molecular biology and genetics to manipulate the organisms we study; and we use image analysis and modeling to analyze our data. Researchers are encouraged to move freely between the different disciplines and to learn a variety of techniques according to their specific needs and interests. We primarily address questions concerning the development of fruit fly embryos and emergent collective behavior via cell signaling in social amoeba populations, but we are open to new ideas and collaborations addressing questions in other model systems.
- Abouchar L, Petkova MD, Steinhardt CR, Gregor T (2013). Precision and reproducibility of macroscopic developmental patterns. arXiv.org:1309.6273 [q-bio.TO].
- Garcia HG, Tikhonov M, Lin A, Gregor T (2013). Quantitative imaging of transcription in living Drosophila embryos links polymerase activity to patterning. Current Biology 23: 2114–2119.
- Little SC, Tikhonov M, Gregor T (2013). Precise developmental gene expression arises from globally stochastic transcriptional activity. Cell 154: 789–800.
- Liu F, Morrison AH, Gregor T (2013). Dynamic interpretation of maternal inputs by the Drosophila segmentation gene network. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 110: 6724–6729.
- Dubuis JO, Samanta R, Gregor T (2013). Accurate measurements of dynamics and reproducibility in small genetic networks. Molecular Systems Biology 9: 639.
- Little SC, Tkacik G, Kneeland T, Wieschaus EF, Gregor T (2011). The formation of the Bicoid morphogen gradient requires protein movement from anteriorily localized mRNA. PLoS Biology 9(3), e1000596.
- Gregor T, Fujimoto K, Masaki N, Sawai S (2010). The onset of collective behavior in social amoebae. Science 328: 1021–1026.