Measuring and Modeling Soft Living Matter

Welcome to Pierre Ronceray's research group web page. We study living matter, from proteins to cells to tissues, and aim at unfolding simple physical laws governing the assembly, mechanical and dynamical properties of these complex materials. We use a dual theoretical approach for this: on the one hand, we invent and study simple models to explain experimental results and predict new mechanisms. On the other, we design novel inference methods to measure the dynamical properties of these materials, such as force, stress and diffusivity fields, from experimental data.

We are part of the Turing Centre for Living Systems (CENTURI), a vibrant community of biologists, biological physicists and mathematicians. We are located in the Physics and Engineering for Living Systems department of the Centre Interdisciplinaire de Nanosciences de Marseille (CINAM), in Marseille, France, in the beautiful campus of Luminy.


Stochastic inference: learning physical models from dynamical data

The dynamics of biological systems, from proteins to cells to organisms, is complex and stochastic. To decipher their physical laws, we need tools to bridge between experimental observations and theoretical modeling. Our main research goal is to design, develop and improve such inference algorithms that can learn physically interpretable models with high precision from limited experimental trajectories. By collaborating with experimental groups, we then make use of these methods to discover new physics in a variety of biological and soft matter systems.

This research project is funded by a 2023 ERC Starting Grant titled "SuperStoc - Super-resolved stochastic inference: learning the dynamics of soft biological matter", starting Oct 2023.  We have open positions for postdocs and PhD students - inquiries welcome!

Other research directions, past and present, include...

Fiber networks mechanics

How do biopolymer networks deform under stress and transmit forces?

Frustrated self-assembly

How do complex, low-symmetry objects such as proteins generically self-assemble?

Biomolecular condensates

Intracellular phase separation leads to the formation of liquid protein droplets. Like oil in water?


Pierre Ronceray

Principal Investigator. CV

Andonis Gerardos

PhD student

Arthur Coët

PhD student

Co-supervised with Mar Benavides, MIO

João Valeriano

PhD student


Ludivine Chaix, Master student 2021
Yirui Zhang, Postdoc 2021-2023


Stochastic Force Inference: a method to infer the force and diffusion fields from noisy trajectories of overdamped systems, developed with Anna Frishman. Check out the 2020 Physical Review X paper and the GitHub package (in Python). 

Underdamped Langevin Inference: a similar inverse method for the underdamped case, developed with David Brückner and Chase Broedersz. Check out the 2020 Physical Review Letters paper and the Github package in Python

Where to find us

Office G4.23
CINaM, Bâtiment TPR1
163 Avenue de Luminy
13009 Marseille France