Theoretical Cell Biophysics

Theoretical and Computational Biological Physics


The group employs physics-based models to understand and predict the generic behaviour of life's main building blocks on the micrometre scale: biological cells. Focusing on two main research areas that complement each other, we aim to characterize the sensing of external stimuli and internal information processing by self-organization. On the one hand, we study the interaction of cell membranes with nano- and microstructured materials. Currently, we focus on the wrapping of particles at membranes, ranging from hard nanoparticles to soft polymeric particles and vesicles. In addition to the membrane elastic properties, we also consider further aspects of biological systems, such as receptor-ligand interactions and osmotic concentrations. On the other hand, we study active matter systems. Metabolic processes and force generation by the individual components are abundant and essential for living systems. Their structure formation and dynamics observed for active systems can be much more complex compared with passive systems. Because of the lack of theoretical concepts to study complex active systems, such as the Helmholtz free energy for passive systems, we develop simulation models and use high-performance computing. An example for combining active matter and membranes is active vesicles, active particles confined in vesicles that resemble experimentally observed behaviour of biological cells.

Research Topics

  • Membranes
  • Active matter
  • Method and code development
  • Contact

    Dr. Thorsten Auth


    Building 04.16 / Room 2012

    +49 2461/61-1735



    Selected Publications

    Ten most recent publications

    Vutukuri, H. R., Hoore, M., Abaurrea-Velasco, C., van Buren, L., Dutto, A., Auth, T., Fedosov, D. A., Gompper, G., and Vermant, J. (2020). Active particles induce large shape deformations in giant lipid vesicles. Nature586(7827), 52-56.

    Yu, Q., Dasgupta, S., Auth, T., and Gompper, G. (2020). Osmotic concentration-controlled particle uptake and wrapping-induced lysis of cells and vesicles. Nano letters20(3), 1662-1668.

    Abaurrea-Velasco, C., Auth, T., and Gompper, G. (2019). Vesicles with internal active filaments: self-organized propulsion controls shape, motility, and dynamical response. New journal of physics21(12), 123024.

    Ravichandran, A., Duman, Ö., Hoore, M., Saggiorato, G., Vliegenthart, G. A., Auth, T., and Gompper, G. (2019). Chronology of motor-mediated microtubule streaming. Elife8, e39694.

    Abaurrea-Velasco, C. A., Abkenar, M., Gompper, G., and Auth, T. (2018). Collective behavior of self-propelled rods with quorum sensing. Physical Review E98(2), 022605.


    Last Modified: 18.11.2022