Research interests:

In my postdoc, I study ecological interactions and evolutionary dynamics and their combined effects on the assembly and dynamic of ecological systems. By employing analytic and computational tools, I could find that spatially extended ecological systems of many competing species follow a general self-organization process that leads to characteristic spatio-temporal patterns and interesting consequences for the stability and evolvability of complex ecosytems. Through microbial evolution experiments I seek to better understand the driving forces of evolutionary diversification and, in particular, the interplay between diversification and ecological interactions.


  • 2019: Postdoc with Oskar Hallatschek, University of California, Berkeley, USA
  • 2013-2018: PhD in physics at LMU Munich, Germany
  • 2013: Master’s degree in physics at LMU Munich, Germany

Selected publications:

Self-consistent migration puts tight constraints on the spatio-temporal organization of species-rich metacommunities
Jonas Denk, Oskar Hallatschek
bioRxiv (2021)

Chaos may lurk under a cloak of neutrality
Jonas Denk, Stephen Martis, Oskar Hallatschek
PNAS 117 (28), 16104-16106 (2020)

Pattern-induced local symmetry breaking in active matter systems
Jonas Denk, Erwin Frey
PNAS 202010302 (2020), [arXiv:2005.12791]

MinE conformational switching confers robustness on self-organized Min protein patterns
Jonas Denk*, Simon Kretschmer*, Jacob Halatek*, Caroline Hartl, Petra Schwille, Erwin Frey
PNAS 115 (18), 4553-4558 (2018). [F1000Prime recommended]

Ecological suicide in microbes
Christoph Ratzke*, Jonas Denk*, Jeff Gore
Nature Ecology & Evolution 2, 867-872 (2018). [bioRxiv], [New York Times], [TheScienceBreaker]

Active Curved Polymers form Vortex Patterns on Membranes
Jonas Denk, Lorenz Huber, Emanuel Reithmann, Erwin Frey
Phys. Rev. Lett 116 (17), 178301 (2016). [arXiv:1602.08976]