Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG)
Phone: +49 351 210-2466
Karl Hoffmann is a PhD student at the MOSAIC Group since January 2016. He is a German citizen, born in 1991 in Chemnitz, Germany.
In his school days, Karl participated in the Mathematics Olympics and was awarded a third price (2006) as well as two honorable mentions (2007, 2009) in the Germany-wide competitions.
Karl studied Mathematics at the Technische Universität Dresden, partially funded by a Deutschlandstipendium scholarship. He received a B.Sc. in 2012 and graduated with an M.Sc. in early 2015. He was awarded the Ehrenfried-Walter-von-Tschirnhaus Award of the Technische Universität Dresden for ranking among the top 2% of all graduates in Mathematics and Natural Sciences. Karl’s master thesis extended the Heisenberg model of magnetization for dynamic cell replacement and applied it to planar cell polarity re-organization in biological tissues. It was jointly supervised by Jun.-Prof. Kathrin Padberg-Gehle (Mathematics) and Dr. Lutz Brusch (Computer Science).
Karl continued investigating this model until December 2015 at the Department for Innovative Methods of Computing (IMC), which is part of the Center for Information Services and High Performance Computing (ZiH) at the Technische Universität Dresden.
In the MOSAIC group, Karl develops novel Particle Methods to numerically investigate mechano-chemical processes in morphogenesis. His work aims at an understanding of intra-cellular properties are linked to cell behavior and cell-cell interactions on the tissue level, and how these are orchestrated during development on the level of physical principles. In particular, he studies the process of dorsal closure in fly embryo development and the process of epiboly in fish embryo development, where he uses computer simulations to understand diffusive signaling in complex geometries and its link to active tissue flows.
A Word from Karl...
For multi-cellular organisms to live and to develop, signalling is indispensable. A seemingly simple way of signalling is by diffusion. But what is the impact of cell membranes that form barriers to diffusing molecules? I am developing new methods for diffusion simulation in time-varying complex shaped spaces, where the actual geometry is inferred from microscopy images. Overlaying concentration patterns from microscopy data with simulation results in a 3D virtual reality environment (CAVE) I gain insight into the role of spatial restrictions and time for diffusive signaling in zebrafish embryo development.