Program Leadership

Christopher Chen, M.D./Ph.D., Prof. of BME, Director of Biological Design Center. Dr. Chen’s research is focused on understanding how coordinated assembly of cells can lead to functional tissue structures. The Chen lab is using synthetic biology approaches to study and control transcription and signaling pathways as a means to gain insights into these mechanisms.

Pankaj Mehta, Ph.D., Assoc. Prof. of Physics. Dr. Mehta is interested in understanding how large-scale, collective behaviors observed in biological systems emerge from the interaction of many individual molecular elements, and how these interactions allow cells to perform complex computations in response to environmental cues. Dr. Mehta is leveraging his expertise at the interface of theoretical physics and biology to help design and understand synthetic biological systems.

Zeba Wunderlich, Ph.D., Assoc. Prof. of Biology. The Wunderlich lab is interested in understanding how a gene regulatory network’s tasks influence its architecture, robustness, and evolvability. To probe these questions, the lab uses two model systems: the Drosophila early embryonic patterning system and the Drosophila innate immune response. In both systems, we pair imaging-based and genomic measurements of gene expression with statistical and physically based computational models to explore questions of gene regulatory network function. We exploit naturally occurring sequence variation between individuals and species as a tool to measure how changes in regulatory DNA affect transcriptional regulation.