Individuality describes the unique properties of a single cell, an organism or a whole system, a focus that increasingly moved centre stage in biology. Within each individual, change and adaptation occurs over the lifetime and in response to the environment, but the extent of change differs tremendously. In addition, while individual entities are often self-sufficient, they also interact and even cooperate at higher functional levels such as a tissue, a population or an ecosystem. We investigate both individual differences as well as the regulation of interacting systems.
Sustainability and resource efficiency are of vital and global importance in our changing society and are crucial bench marks. Whether healthy food, intact ecosystems, changing commodities or clean, renewable energy: we try to learn from the highly resource-efficient strategies of nature by describing these strategies, modelling them and finally by implementing them in technical solutions.
Molecular, cellular and organismic networks with their emergent properties are a hallmark of the complexity of biological systems. We investigate which types of interactions characterise networks, how networks change over time and how they react to changes in the environment. This also results in tackling the question which common underlying features exist and which differences in the decision mechanisms arise across different types of networks.