Back to the "people" page

Hyun Youk

Assistant Professor   

  cv (.pdf)   


I'm an assistant professor of physics and quantitative biology at the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft). I'm also the Principal Investigator (PI) of our lab, which is part of the Bionanoscience Department of TU Delft's Kavli Institute of Nanoscience in the Netherlands. My position and our lab officially began in January 2015. As a nascent PI, I'm experiencing a new country, new university, new department, and new responsibilites. Among my responsibilities, one that particularly excites me is learning from and mentoring young students as they embark on their research careers. Together with the members of our lab, I am interested in a number of broad questions about life. My main passion is seeking core mathematical/physical principles that govern dynamics of biological systems, such as genetic circuits and multicellular entities. Just as the central dogma of molecular biology ties together the fantastically wide range of organisms, I believe that there may be a core set of quantitative principles that unify seemingly disparate living systems and their behaviours. Such principles may yield deep insights into what it actually means for a network of molecules be "living". As a physicist, I believe that we should ultimately be able to discover and use mathematical rules and principles to explain any behaviour of any living system. Why shouldn't we be able to do so? After all, we have succeeded in comprehending so many non-living systems such as galaxies and solid-state systems. Yet physicists' progress in quantitatively understanding living systems has lagged centuries behind their progress in comprehending non-living systems. A deep conceptual roadblock is that many different types of interactions occur inside living cells. This is unlike solid-state systems such as magnets and metals which contain many interactions but of just a few types. I'm tackling this and other conceptual challenges with our lab through a combination of experiments, models, and theories.

 "Self introduction" in Kavli-Delft Newsletter, October 2014 (Pg. 9)