Exploring biological systems from molecules to ecosystems
Photo credit: Mark Stone // Cabernard lab (UW Biology)
Examples of broad areas complementary to our department are:
- Evolution and Dynamics of Biological Networks
Research combining theoretical, experimental, observational, and data analysis research to understand or engineer biological networks operating at diverse spatial and temporal scales (e.g., from gene regulatory systems, to intercellular communication networks, to ecological communities). In particular, research that focuses on the dynamics and evolution of these networks, and the processes and mechanisms underlying network connections.
- Evolutionary and Developmental Biology
Research that includes evolutionary changes in developmental processes and their genetic underpinnings using interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches in a wide range of organisms. Investigations of shared developmental processes and their genetic basis across organisms, particularly those that contribute to diversity (phenotypic variation within a species and/or between species). For example, studies of the evolution of key innovations or the modification of gene networks to generate different phenotypic outcomes.
- Evolutionary and Ecological Responses to Novel Environments, Interactions and Organisms
Research that examines biotic responses to environmental shifts, from paleontological to modern eras, and from cells to biomes. Examples include changing species composition due to extinctions, biological invasions, urbanization, and climate change, and the evolution and ecology of infectious diseases. Of particular interest are novel, quantitative, and integrative approaches that elucidate the mechanisms and consequences of change, and those that generate predictions of future patterns of biological diversity and ecosystem dynamics.
- Integrative Physiology
Research on how organisms sense and adapt to their environments and other organisms. Modern biological tools such as -omic data offer unprecedented opportunities to link genotypes, phenotypes, and function and their responses to environments. Organismal (either plant or animal) physiologists who employ mechanistic approaches to integrate across organizational levels (within and among organisms) or across time (by investigating evolutionary responses).
Example topics within integrative physiology include:
Evolution of Information Processing: Research on the evolution of environmental-sensing systems. Particularly individuals incorporating a variety of experimental and mathematical methods to understand biological computations at the level of the molecule, single cell and cell circuit level, and identifying the selective pressures that drive adaptation.
Molecular Basis for Metabolic Adaptation: Research investigating the underlying principles driving emergence and remodeling of distinct behaviors in metabolic pathways. Research into the regulation of metabolism offers a link between parts (e.g., organelles, cells, tissues, organisms, group of organisms) and their emerging behaviors.
- Subcellular, Cellular, and Tissue Dynamics
Research that fills the intellectual gap between the cellular parts list and the dynamic behaviors of organelles, single or groups of cells and tissues, in established systems or emerging non-model organisms. Potential questions of interest are how cells integrate chemical and physical stimuli to assemble and disassemble subcellular structures in time and space, achieve cell type specific phenotypes, regulate transitions between states and/or build, maintain and remodel tissues and organs. Researchers who build bridges to chemistry, engineering, biophysics, physics and/or mathematics to be at the forefront of equipment and tool development, particularly in areas of microscopy, genomic editing, molecular visualization and big data science are encouraged to apply.
- Synthetic Biology, Chemical Biology, & Protein Engineering
Research inspired by the potential for engineering with biological molecules to understand fundamental properties of the natural world and build novel interventions/devices. Research areas of highest interest would be those that bridge one or more of the following areas: protein or small molecule engineering, biochemistry and quantitative analysis of dynamic signaling circuits.