Imaging-based Systems Biology Laboratory


The central dogma of biology states that the genome is the blueprint of life, and the source from which information flows to define the final phenotype. However, in multicellular organisms all cells contain identical copies of the genome, yet exhibit drastically variable phenotypes. Key to understanding complex diseases is the realization that in living systems new properties emerge that cannot be explained by the sum of their building blocks yet can causally impact their behavior. For example, studying cells in isolation cannot give us an idea about an individual’s immune response, or why some cancers resist therapy.

We are interested in understanding and deriving basic “systems properties” such as relationship between cells, interconnectivity, causality, and response to perturbation. With this regard, we believe that breakthroughs in biomedical research can only happen if scientists are empowered with tools that allow them to “see” life. Microscopy-based techniques and quantitative methods based on advanced computer vision and data-driven modelling will be the primary approach to systematically map the spatial localization, temporal dynamics and activity profiles of proteins and nucleic acids within and across thousands of single cells.

Our focus lies primarily in paediatric diseases and the interplay between the body’s immune system and its ability to fight cancer (Immuno-oncology). We are also interested in immune disorders that can clinically manifest in the form of increased susceptibility to infections, malignant diseases, or an immune dysregulation.