Phase Transitions and Scale Invariance in Biology

A Complex Systems Dynamics (CoSyDy) Meeting at Imperial College London

Venue: Lecture Theatre 2.28 in the Royal School of Mines, Department of Bioengineering, Imperial College London, South Kensington Campus, London

Time and date: 1-5pm, Monday, September 28, 2015

Organisers: Chiu Fan Lee (Bioengineering) & Gunnar Pruessner (Mathematics)

Biologists have recently discovered that a cell may be using the physical mechanism of phase separation to organise its membrane, cytoplasm, and nucleoplasm. The phenomenon of phase separation is based on equilibrium thermodynamics while living organisms operate in the far from equilibrium regime. How do we put an equilibrium phenomenon in an nonequilibrium context? This meeting aims to bring researchers from both physical and life sciences together to further our understanding of phase transitions observed in biology.


Andrew Baldwin (University of Oxford)

Aurelia Honerkamp-Smith (University of Cambridge)

Richard Sears (University of Surrey)

Graduate student speakers

Peter Hufton (University of Manchester)
Diana Khoromskaia (Warwick University)
Jean David Wurtz (Imperial College London)


12:30 – 13:25  Buffet lunch in Room 3.24 in the Royal School of Mines
13:25  Welcome
13:30 – 14:10  Aurelia Honerkamp-Smith (University of Cambridge)
 Critical composition fluctuations in artificial and cell-derived lipid membranes
14:10 – 14:30  Jean David Wurtz (Imperial College London)
 ATP-triggered stress granule formation via phase separation
14:30 – 14:50  Andrew Baldwin (University of Oxford)
 Properties of blobs: phase separation as a regulated strategy for compartmentalisation in cells
14:50 – 15:40  Coffee break
15:40 – 16:00  Diana Khoromskaia (Warwick University)
 Motility of active fluid drops on surfaces
16:00 – 16:20  Peter Hufton (University of Manchester)
 Intrinsic noise in systems with switching environments
16:20 – 17:00  Richard Sear (University of Surrey)
 Out-of-equilibrium liquid droplets in living cells
17:00  Wine and snacks in Room 3.24 in the Royal School of Mines

Attendance is free and open to everyone. However, for catering purposes and due to space limitation, please register early by email to Registration deadline is September 20.