### Applying and developing concepts from statistical and theoretical soft-condensed matter physics, as well as applied mathematics, to describe biological systems.

Biology, at its most fundamental, cannot reasonably be disentangled from that of physics. That is, thermodynamics, hydrodynamics, statistical mechanics and soft-condensed matter physics, far from being subjects distinct from biology, are in fact, the building blocks of all living matter. As Goldenfeld and Woese [1] rightly pointed out a decade ago, even evolution--- the conductor that has orchestrated life as we know it-is an emergent phenomena of classical physics itself.

But, biology is very hard. Especially when seen through the eyes of a physicist. Systems are very far from equilibrium and typically involve enormous numbers of coupled degrees-of-freedom. All of which is compounded by the fact that Occam's Razor-that the simplest description is the right description-rarely works, because evolution ensures that systems operate in a way that reflects their history as well as their current function.

We are therefore led to ask: can science develop adequate, quantitative theories of living systems, such that experiment and theory work 'hand in glove' like much of modern fundamental physics? This is the question that concerns the *Morris Group*, which applies and develops concepts from statistical and theoretical soft-condensed matter physics, as well as applied mathematics, in order to describe living matter.

The focus spans a range of length-scales, from molecular signaling on a sub-cellular scale, to emergent phenomena at the tissue scale and beyond. We work closely with experimental partners, typically studying systems in which an interplay between mechanics, geometry and information processing is important.

[1] N. Goldenfeld & C. Woese, Annu. Rev. Condens. Matter Phys. 2:375–99 (2011)