The Institute for Biodynamics and Biocomplexity (IBB) studies the regulation and evolution of the complex interaction networks characterizing living systems.

Examples are the interactions between proteins within a cell, or the connections between neurons in a brain. The complex interactions in these networks somehow lead to the behavior at the next level of organization, e.g., interacting molecules lead to cell migration, firing neurons to intelligence, and dividing cells develop into intricate tissues.

Since this behavior at the higher level emerges at a rather unintuitive manner, the evolutionary forces that have selected for these essential behaviors are difficult to study and understand.   Novel technologies for imaging molecules in cells, migrating cells in tissies, and generating molecular data by automated high throughput experiments have caused a revolution in biology, calling for much more technical approaches like bioinformatic data management and quantitative modeling.

The IBB focuses on cell biology, genetics, developmental biology (and cancer), immunology, microbiology (and vaccines), and evolution. We study a number of model organisms and have high-end laboratories, computer clusters, and imaging facilities, enabling us to perform cutting-edge research. We aim at a quantitative approach to biology by intensive collaborations between experimental and theoretical research groups within the IBB, at the UU campus, and word wide.

Cell Biology

Cell Biology gains insight into basic cellular processes and in this way to provide mechanistic basis for devising therapies for cancer, metabolic and neurological diseases. Find out more about Cell Biology.

Developmental Biology

Developmental Biology studies cellular processes in the context of living, developing multicellular organisms. Understanding at the organismal level is key to manipulating pathways to combat disease. Read more about Developmental Biology


Microbiology focuses on understanding the mechanisms involved in secretion of proteins and the role of secreted proteins in bacterial membrane biogenesis and fungal growth and development. Find out more about Microbiology.

Theoretical Biology and Bioinformatics

With a theoretical approach comprised of mathematical modeling, computer simulation and bioinformatics analysis we aim to understand the evolution and the functioning of complex living systems. Instead of a wet laboratory the group houses a powerful cluster of high-performance computers. The research focus is on immunology, development, evolution, and bioinformatics. Read more about Theoretical Biology and Bioinformatics.