Phase separation in complex systems
Biological processes are extremely efficient. Our research is inspired by separation processes used in the cell. The cellular fluid is highly organised. This organisation occurs via aqueous liquid-liquid phase separation of molecules and can be mimicked by polyion condensation. These dense phases can very selectively take up molecules. This concept can be used for separation processes in industry, beter understanding of protein accumulation in biological condensates and the accumulation of functional molecules in relation to the Origin of Life.
Vision: the cellular fluids use polyelectrolyte complexes for spatiotemporal organisation of molecules. Understanding how this spatiotemporal organisation works will allow us to:
- Understand sequestering of molecules by biological polyelectrolyte complexes
- Design systems to extract, separate or upcycle molecules
- Investigate relevance of polyelectrolyte complexes in the context of the Origin of Life
Ambition: Creating a safe and inclusive research environment for high quality research on polyelectrolyte complexation.
In this movie I explain the link between the primordial soup and waste water: