The sub-cellular biological world is full of phenomena that challenge physical intuition: single-molecule machines, self-assembling architectures and spontaneous information processing. These phenomena derive from the physical character of biological macromolecules, which have passed through the evolutionary design process and acquired the character of a technology.
Biological science has provided a qualitative understanding of many macromolecular technological wonders, at least in their biological context, but we are far from having the sort of profound understanding that would enable us to rationally design similar macromolecular devices or interactions, with or without biological relevance. In many cases, even an empirical basis for quantitative, predictive modeling is lacking. Elucidation of the physical principles that define and constrain macromolecular technology abstracted from biological systems is the underlying theme of research in Fygenson Lab.