Physics of Living Systems

Physics of Living Systems

eLife publishes research in which approaches from the physical sciences are used to provide insights into the properties of biological systems and processes. Learn more about what we publish and sign up for the latest research.
Illustration by Davide Bonazzi

Latest articles

    1. Medicine
    2. Physics of Living Systems

    Synchronization in renal microcirculation unveiled with high-resolution blood flow imaging

    Dmitry Postnov et al.
    High-resolution blood flow imaging confirms the presence of large, long-living synchronous clusters in renal microcirculation and reveals how vasoactive drugs affect synchronization properties.
    1. Cell Biology
    2. Physics of Living Systems

    Zebrafish airinemes optimize their shape between ballistic and diffusive search

    Sohyeon Park et al.
    Mathematical characterization of the shape of cellular protrusions that form cell–cell contacts in tissues reveals the parameters required for optimizing biological functional objectives, like maximizing cell–cell contact and communicating directional information.
    1. Cell Biology
    2. Physics of Living Systems

    A mechano-osmotic feedback couples cell volume to the rate of cell deformation

    Larisa Venkova et al.
    Whether deforming cells behave as elastic balls (deforming at constant volume) or as sponges (loosing volume as they deform) depends on how fast they change their shape, because the cell volume depends on the tension of the plasma membrane.
    1. Computational and Systems Biology
    2. Physics of Living Systems

    Conformist social learning leads to self-organised prevention against adverse bias in risky decision making

    Wataru Toyokawa, Wolfgang Gaissmaier
    Mathematical modelling and large-scale online experiments revealed that learning from others can induce 'smarter' decisions even when most individuals are biased towards adverse risk aversion.
    1. Cell Biology
    2. Physics of Living Systems

    Single-cell monitoring of dry mass and dry mass density reveals exocytosis of cellular dry contents in mitosis

    Teemu P Miettinen et al.
    A high-resolution approach for monitoring dry mass and the density of that dry mass on a single-cell level is developed and used to reveal that mammalian cells can lose components in mitosis due to lysosomal exocytosis.
    1. Microbiology and Infectious Disease
    2. Physics of Living Systems

    Coordination of two opposite flagella allows high-speed swimming and active turning of individual zoospores

    Quang D Tran et al.
    Coordinated actions of two opposite flagella control speed and change direction of plant pathogen Phytophthora zoospores, in which the anterior flagellum is the main motor to generate thrust and spontaneously switch from reciprocal beating to breaststrokes to reorient its body.
    1. Developmental Biology
    2. Physics of Living Systems

    Characterization of convergent thickening, a major convergence force producing morphogenic movement in amphibians

    David R Shook et al.
    Xenopus embryos use tissue surface tension to generate hoop-stress around the blastopore to help close it during gastrulation.
    1. Cell Biology
    2. Physics of Living Systems

    Leading edge maintenance in migrating cells is an emergent property of branched actin network growth

    Rikki M Garner, Julie A Theriot
    Computational simulations of actin network growth at the cell leading edge, combined with careful high-speed video microscopy measurements of leading edge shape fluctuations, suggest that Arp2/3 branching of the actin network occurs at an optimal angle to minimize fluctuations.
    1. Neuroscience
    2. Physics of Living Systems

    Unsupervised Bayesian Ising Approximation for decoding neural activity and other biological dictionaries

    Damián G Hernández et al.
    The proposed method deciphers which low-level patterns (such as spikes) control high-level features (behavior) in relative small biological datasets, taking into account the statistical dependencies between such patterns.

Senior editors

  1. Naama Barkai
    Naama Barkai
    Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel
  2. Aleksandra Walczak
    Ecole Normale Superieure, France
  3. See more editors