• contractile network
  • Spindel split
  • Image credit: NASA
  • E_coli
  • Betsiboka Estuary, Madagasgar
  • Cumberland Mountains, West Virginia
  • Leishmania braziliensis

Quantitative Biology at Harvard

We want to answer the most fundamental question in biology: What is life? We will consider this question answered when we can explain how the behavior of non-living matter – atoms and molecules – come together to build cells which in turn build tissues, organisms, and communities. 

The Quantitative Biology Initiative approaches the daunting problem of understanding life by merging three disciplines - biology, mathematics, and engineering - into one coherent community. By doing so, we will bring to together biology, novel measurement techniques to interrogate biological systems, statistics and mathematics  to develop causal, predictive mathematical models which reflect the underlying behavior of living matter across scales, and engineering to test our understanding through synthetic biology.

Collectively, we will reveal the laws, rules.  codes and strategies that govern life. By advancing our fundamental understanding of living things, our work has bearing on all aspects of biology and medicine, from drug development to bioengineering and personalized medicine to epidemiology and public health.