Dr. Xing seeks to uncover simple, physics-based principles behind complex biological systems.
Traditionally, biologists and physicists have very different approaches to modern day science. Biologists critically observe the universe, hoping to uncover all of its complexities in an unbiased manner, while physicists look for a simple answer, or equation, to describe it all. With training in physical and theoretical sciences, Dr. Xing sees value in both approaches and attempts to merge them in his research program. For one of his largest current projects, he seeks to understand cell differentiation in terms of phenotype, and what components of gene expression are responsible for the differences driving a cell's type as skin, heart, liver, or different cancer cells. He hopes that eventually one may accelerate or slow down these processes for different purposes. He is also interested in how development of statistical physics approaches may uncover simple rules governing the global dynamics of complex cellular systems.