Physics in Biology
(at cellular and sub-cellular levels)


Please note that the “Physics in Biology” pages are currently under development, with all content not yet added or fully structured. (Status 2024.04.23)

About us

Research group studying the physics of polymers and biological systems using theoretical and computational techniques headed by Kristian Müller-Nedebock.

We work on polymer and filament networks, active systems and physics of biological structures at cellular and sub-cellular length-scales. This work is mainly theoretical but done in connection with wonderful partners in experimental fields and other theorists.

The group functions within the theoretical physics environment Department of Physics at Stellenbosch University, located in Stellenbosch, South Africa. We have close connections and research collaborations with other groups  at Stellenbosch including the Stellenbosch Photonics Institute, the Department of Chemistry and Polymer Science and the Department of Physiological Sciences.

Our research activities are generously supported through grants, participation and scholarships from various organisations.  Students, research associates, and research projects have been funded by the National Research Foundation, but, amongst others, also by the Organisation for Women in Science for the Developing World, the National Institute for Theoretical and Computational Sciences, the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, the Deutsche Akademischer Austauschdienst, the Harry Crossley Foundation, the Claude Leon Foundation, and the Newton programme.  We are greatly appreciative of the support by all of these organisations.

If you wish to contact Kristian, you are welcome to use this contact form.

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Cartoon of myosin motor head on actin filament

Current members

Kristian Müller-Nedebock

Kristian is professor of physics at Stellenbosch University. He works theoretically on the physics of polymer and biopolymer networks, properties of the cytoskeleton, and the physics of organelles in cells. Kristian completed his PhD in Physics in the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge, and worked as a post-doctotral research associated at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany.

Nadine du Toit

Nadine du Toit is currently PhD student, having previously completed her MSc in Physics at Stellenbosch University.

Cornelius de Villiers

Cornel is currently doing his MSc research working primarily computationally on tethered semiflexible filaments.

Former members

  • Henry Amuasi
  • Somiéalo Azote
  • Arash Azari
  • Leandro Boonzaaier
  • Christo Gouws
  • Sthembiso Gumede
  • Mohau Mateyisi
  • Stanard Mebwe Pachong
  • Janusz Meylahn
  • Karl Möller
  • Carel Pretorius
  • Christian Rohwer
  • Olivia Saffer
  • Wendy Vandoolaeghe


Prof. Benjamin Loos (Stellenbosch University)

Prof. Loos has a long-standing interest in the molecular mechanisms that control cell death susceptibility. His research centres around protein degradative mechanisms and their dynamics, transport and function of mitochondria along tubulin networks and their role in neuronal degeneration and migration.  His research group utilizes in vitro models for neuronal protein aggregation storage disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, to unravel and to direct the complex molecular interplay towards an environment that favours cellular function and survival. He has an equally long-standing interest in high resolution fluorescence-based microscopy techniques, and has managed the Cell Imaging Unit for many years. Integral part of his research in physiological sciences is the application of powerful microscopy techniques such as SR-SIM.

Dr Buddhapriya Chakrabarti (University of Sheffield)

Dr Chakrabarti works on equilibriuma and nonequilibrium statistical physics.

Prof. Tanniemola Liverpool (University of Bristol)

Prof. Liverpool is an expert in complex fluids and biological soft matter in the School of Mathematics at the University of Bristol.

Dr Verena Kriechbaumer (Oxford Brookes University)

Dr Kriechbaumer is a plant cell biologist and microscopist at OXford Brookes University.

Prof. Giuseppe Pellicane (University of Messina)

Prof. Pellicane is a stastical physicist with extensive work in computer simulations, based at the University of Messina.

Dr Rhoda Hawkins (AIMS Ghana and University of Sheffield)

Dr Hawkins is a biological physics theorists at the University of Sheffield and AIMS Ghana.

Prof. Stanley Botchway (Rutherford Appleton Laboratory)

Prof. Botchway is at the Central Lasers Facility of the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.