Matthias Merkel (CPT)
Self-organization and collective effects in living systems
February 2019 - present | CENTURI group leader
2015 - 2018 | Postdoctoral fellow, Syracuse University (USA)
2010 - 2015 | Ph.D. in physics and Postdoctoral fellow, Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, and Technical University of Dresden (Dresden, Germany)
2003 - 2009 | Diploma in physics, Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems (Dresden, Germany)
2017 | Postdoctoral Speaker Award from the GSNP section of the American Physical Society
2016 | Otto Hahn Medal from the Max Planck Society for his Ph.D. thesis
Luminy campus, Marseille (France)
About his research
Self-organized deformation of biological tissues
During animal development and regeneration, tissues and organs grow and deform in a self-organized manner. We want to focus on oriented deformation processes, for which many examples exist throughout development. How can self-organized, oriented tissue deformation be robust? This is far from obvious, because many existing physical theories predict instabilities of such oriented actively deforming materials. We want to understand how the occurrence of such instabilities can be prevented (or even harnessed) during developmental processes and establish quantitative criteria for that.
Mechanical properties of disordered systems
How do large-scale properties of disordered systems arise from the complex interplay of their microscopic constituents? This question is important to understand a large class of materials both living and non-living. In a recent publication we have already shown that one can make surprisingly general analytical predictions about the elastic macroscopic properties of the broad class of athermal, under-constrained materials. This is relevant to understand systems as diverse as semiflexible polymer networks like collagen and cell-based models for biological tissue. We want to extend these ideas in several directions, e.g to over-constrained materials, to include finite temperatures, and to include reversible cross-linkers. This will allow us to more accurately predict the macroscopic properties of many disordered materials and directly link them to their microscopic structure.
PhD position - Currently no open position
Postdoc position - Postdoctoral position in physics of multicellular systems
I am looking for a strong and motivated scientist to work on the collective organization of cells into biological tissues using a combination of both cell-based models (e.g. 3D vertex model) and analytical approaches (e.g. continuum descriptions). The successful candidate will work on theoretical questions while at the same time closely collaborating with experimental groups (e.g. at the Institut de Biologie du Développement de Marseille).
To apply for the position, please send cover letter, cv, and email addresses of two references to email@example.com. Applications will be considered continuously until the position is filled. Please do not hesitate to contact me for any informal inquiry regarding this offer.