Using rapid, iterative feedback between theory and experiments, Srividya Iyer-Biswas works to discover the basic physical laws that govern the probabilistic behavior of single cells, and that transcend details of specific biological systems. Her research uses a top-down physics approach, rather than more traditional approaches that focus on the cartography of genetic networks and on molecular details.
Iyer-Biswas and her team have reported predicative scaling laws governing the stochastic growth and division of cells, and have developed a theory that reveals the emergence of a scalable, cellular unit of time. Her current work involves extending these results to thermodynamics of organismal computation, time-dependent phenomena involving cellular decision-making, and laws that dictate complex biological and social phenomena.
Iyer-Biswas began her career as a theoretical physicist, then transitioned to experimental biophysics as a post-doc at Princeton University and the University of Chicago. Through her interdisciplinary work – combining theory and application, and spanning physics and biology – her goal is to ultimately advance the fundamental physics of living systems. Iyer-Biswas was named a 2017 Scialog Fellow for Molecules Come to Life and has lectured at the University of Chicago and the q-bio Summer School in Colorado.