We study how cells make decisions. Gathering and processing information is fundamental to all life, and in cells this ability is conferred by biochemical networks, collections of genes and proteins that interact with each other and the extracellular environment. Information is detected by proteins at the cell membrane, processed by biochemical networks in the cytosol and nucleus, and then used to decide an appropriate cellular response. Such cellular decision-making is at the core of systems biology and its failure causes disease: whether it is a hijacking of the signalling network by a viral invader, the uncontrolled growth of cancer, or mistimings in the contractions of individual heart cells.
The life of a single cell of budding yeast caught between two pillars of ALCATRAS and filmed by Matt Crane (time shown at top left in hours).