Together with his group, David investigates the physical principles behind the organization of biological matter at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization (MPI-DS) and the Göttingen Campus Institute for Dynamics of Biological Networks (CIDBN). He is one of 313 researchers in Europe passing the last round of the competitive grant selection process across all scientific disciplines to tackle big scientific questions.
Since David joined the MPI-DS in 2017, he focuses on the theory of biological fluids: whereas classical human-built machines are often rigid and stationary, biological organisms are composed of fluid-like material. Yet, they constitute a robust system and fulfill precise functions in biological organisms. In his research, David develops models to uncover the physical principles behind the organization of such complex processes. “We aim for better understanding of the interplay within a multitude of molecules which ensure the smooth course of biological mechanisms” David Zwicker explains his research.
This goal also convinced the ERC committee, which selected his projects along with roughly 300 other proposals from life sciences, engineering and humanities as “a testament to the impressive excellence of European research,” as stated in an ERC press release. The total funding volume of 632 million euros will support mid-career researchers helping them to consolidate their teams and to conduct pioneering research within their scientific field, also offering job opportunities for many hundreds of researchers across Europe. The ERC was established by the European Union in 2007 and constitutes the premier European funding organization for excellent frontier research.
“It is great to know that research to reveal the principles of physical organization underlaying biological processes was acknowledged by the ERC with such a prestigious grant,” Ramin Golestanian, managing director of MPI-DS, comments. “With David Zwicker, the committee has chosen an excellent researcher who is driving forward this subject at our institute by integrating tools from theoretical physics, fluid dynamics and information theory,” he continues.
Currently, David focuses on how droplet formation can control intracellular structures and how biological droplets are affected by chemical reactions taking place in organic systems. “These questions require a close collaboration with scientists from other disciplines, such as chemistry and biology,” he says. “Understanding the fundamental principles of life requires people with diverse backgrounds closely working together, such as it is common practice at the Göttingen Campus.”