The group Theoretical Physics of Life Processes, led by Helmut Schiessel, focuses on the DNA molecule, the molecule that lies at the heart of many fundamental life processes ranging from gene expression to cell division. Physicists succeed nowadays in studying single DNA molecules via micromanipulation experiments while biologists start to unravel the intricate machinery of protein complexes that interact with DNA inside the cell nucleus.
We try to bring these two areas closer together. On one hand we develop new theoretical methods to describe the statistical physics of DNA, on the other hand we try to describe quantitatively the dense DNA-protein complex (called chromatin) that fills the nuclei of plants and animal cells.
New textbook: H. Schiessel: Biophysics for Beginners: A Journey through the Cell Nucleus