Physics of Active Droplets
Phase separation provides a general mechanism for the spatial organization of cellular structures and for the compartmentalization of chemical processes. Using theoretical approaches, we develop concepts and general aspects of the dynamics of liquid-like phases and study droplets in cells and of chemically active artificial droplet systems. Such concepts shed light on the structure and organization of membraneless compartments such as centrosomes and germ granules in cells and on how chemical reaction can control the assembly, the size and the position of such systems.
A particularly interesting example of active droplet physics is the spontaneous divisions of droplets driven by chemical processes which could provide a minimal model for prebiotic protocells that are able to undergo cycles of growth and division.