A microfluidic device for in vitro characterision of biomolecular liquid-liquid phase separation: from soft matter physics to biomedical research via solution biophysics

Project: Other projectOther internal award

Project Details


Cellular processes are often regulated by compartmentalising molecules into specialised entities called organelles. Typically these organelles are protected by a membrane, which acts as a barrier that controls entry and exit. Recently, considerable interest has grown around membrane-less organelles, which are caused when biological polymers associate and phase separate. Like traditional organelles, these biological phase separations also control cellular biochemical processes. The formation and function of cellular phase separations is directly related to the physiochemical properties of the proteins and nucleic acid polymers that form them. Critical cellular processes occur in phase separations, particularly those controlling the production of proteins. Moreover, a number of fatal neurodegenerative diseases are associated with mutations that cause a functional phase separation to become a pathological protein aggregate. Here, we propose to employ new experimental tools to study the formation and properties of biomolecular phase separations implicated in gene regulation in humans and Leishmania parasites.
Effective start/end date1/03/2030/11/20