Shrinivas Lab

Chemical & Biological Engineering , Northwestern University

Adapted from original art of David Goodsell


The lab’s vision is to understand, and subsequently engineer, how biomolecules self-organize in cells to enable the diverse functions of life. At the intersection of biology, physics, and engineering, we will work to elucidate fundamental scientific mechanisms while also pursuing translational applications to impact human health and bioengineering. Towards and beyond the science, the lab will foster a diverse and inclusive environment that supports the well-being and success of all members.

Research Interests

Cells comprise billions of biomolecules that self-organize into dozens of microscopic assemblies called biomolecular condensates. Condensates are found across the tree of life, play key roles in healthy cells, and are misregulated or aberrant in several diseased states. Recent work, including ours, show that phase transitions are increasingly linked to assembling condensates in living cells. Our initial research aims to advance this emerging paradigm by developing quantitative frameworks to model and engineer biomolecular condensates as functional multiphase materials and dynamic biological assemblies. We will adopt an interdisciplinary approach, weaving together pen-and-paper theory, computation and simulation aided by machine-learning, and close integration with experimental data. We highly value collaborative research and are fortunate to work closely with many talented experimentalists across the country.

Our initial projects are broadly organized into two themes:

Basic science

  • Physics of highly multicomponent, multiphasic, and non-equilibrium materials
    see A or B for examples

  • Mechanisms of genome regulation and organization by condensates
    see C, D, or E for examples

Translational avenues

  • Towards reversing misregulated condensates in disease states
    see F for example

  • Leveraging biomolecular assemblies for synthetic biology and materials design, particularly to inform molecular/physical computation

If you are interested in learning more, check out our papers, open positions, or contact me