Welcome to Yilin Wu Lab at the Chinese University of Hong Kong
Life is a unique far-from-equilibrium state of matter. It is one of the greatest mysteries of the observable universe. The origin, organization and evolution of living matter, when viewed together with the physical environment and in the context of the evolution of Planet Earth, are more than biological questions; answering these questions have become an essential and well-grounded component of physical sciences. Our research is focused on the physics of living matter, with emphasis on the motion and spatiotemporal self-organization of living matter consisting of or derived from microbes. As key players of life-Earth co-evolution, microbes represent the simplest form of life one can investigate and manipulate. Our quest follows two paths: on the one hand, we study the motion and self-organization of broadly-defined living matter in the context of non-equilibrium physics, active matter physics and materials engineering; on the other hand, we aim to achieve mechanistic and quantitative understanding on specific life phenomena with direct biological relevance, such as single-celled behavior (e.g. motility and physiology) and multicellular dynamics (e.g. swarming / collective motion, pattern formation, and colony development). Despite the subtle difference, the two paths are often intertwined and mutually reinforcing, and both heading towards the same goal, i.e. understanding life as a far-from-equilibrium state of matter. We also hope knowledge learned from our research will fuel the development of non-equilibrium physics and guide the engineering of novel materials that self-assemble, self-renew and are stimulus-responsive.
Specifically, we are currently studying the following topics:
- Collective motion and self-organization of living active matter;
- Growth dynamics of general living matter;
- Bacterial motility in complex environments;
- Population dynamics, pattern formation and cell-environment interactions in natural and synthetic multicellular systems;
More descriptions of our current research projects can be found in Research.