Physical Biology centres on the development and adaptation of physical methods and concepts for elucidating the complexity and dynamics of biological structures.  We apply such an approach to studying transport phenomena in living systems. We are particularly interested in the mesoscopic nature of transport how the entire organism physiology is the result of a hierarchy of molecular recognition events, macromolecular phoresis, and cellular and tissual taxis. From molecules to nanoscale assemblies to cells, to tissue to the whole organism we thus study the following processes: multivalent and multiplexed interactions; protein/nanomaterial interaction; diffuso- and osmo- phoresis; endocytosis, trafficking and membrane-bound interactions; and tissue percolation and size-exclusion effects. 





Endocytosis is a fundamental process in which eukaryotic cells internalise molecules and macromolecules via deformation of the membrane and generation of membrane-bound carriers. Its primary role is to regulate the uptake of nutrients, however, endocytosis also plays a primary role in evolutionarily conserved processes such as the regulation of plasma membrane protein activity (i.e. signal-transducing receptors, small molecule transporters and ion channels), cell motility and mitosis [Canton et al Chem. Soc. Rev. 2012 and   Akinc et al  CSH Perp. Biol. 2013.]. The macromolecular nature of the material transported by endocytosis makes this route one of the most important targets for nanomedicine. Indeed, many nanoparticles have been customised to enter cells through endocytosis and deliver their cargo within the cell. We have studied this process for several years and applying new methodologies to understand its implications in drug delivery. We are studying how size, shape and surface topology affects the way cell membrane deform and consequently internalise the material. We correlate these with intracellular trafficking and cellular signalling[Massignani et al Small 2009 and Lo Presti et al ACS Nano 2011]. We apply both fast live imaging and mathematical modelling to understand these interactions[62].