Welcome to the Topologically Active Polymers (TAP) Lab!


Group mission:

In spite of their extreme length and confinement, our genomes are surprisingly well organised, functional and knot-free. This is achieved via sophisticated proteins that exert exquisite topological and mechanical control over the genome's material properties.
Inspired by this, we aim to discover new DNA-based topological soft materials and complex fluids that can change properties in time.
The group's expertise is rooted in polymer and statistical physics, and employ both simulations and experiments to answer our questions.
We believe boundaries between disciplines were made to be broken, and we do our best to shatter them every day.

Creativity is our only weapon against entropy -- Dean Cavanagh


09/2021 New preprint! We ask what's the most efficient way for Topo2 to find and resolve knots along DNA -- Jump around!!
Dynamic and Facilitated Binding of Topoisomerase Accelerates Topological Relaxation

08/2021 New preprint! By mixing entangled solutions of DNA with restriction enzymes we discover that we can obtain both thinning and thickening! Find out more at
Universal and Programmable Rheology of Topologically-Active DNA Fluids

05/2021 Finally out - Topological tuning of DNA mobility in entangled solutions of supercoiled plasmids in Science Advances!
sciadv sciadv

05/2021 Maria and Yair join the lab! Maria will be the expert on living polymer simulations while Yair will model DNA hydrogels and origami in their finest details!
maria yair

05/2021 Giorgia looks so well after her DNA hydrogels that they sometimes show their affection back .. dnahh

04/2021 Jenny joins the lab, she will be working on rheology of DNA origami! jenny

04/2021 An exceptionally talented MPhys student Liam Bradbury (Link to fb) made this beutiful public summary on his MPhys project, a must watch and so catchy!

03/2021 What can soft matter do for biology (and viceversa)?
Mattia Marenda (IGMM) and Davide try to convince molecular biologist that soft matter is cool!

03/2021 Fun (or embarassingly unprepared) Higgs chat w Davide.
The associated Higgs talk was far better prepared (but ran long) on topological glasses, magnetic polymer models for chromatin and Progressive DBSCAN clustering (= a random bunch!).

03/2021 Talk on HIV integration, topological regulation of the genome and TAPs at GEOTOP-A

03/2021 Giorgia joins the lab, a chemist by training, she will be working on DNA hydrogels! giorgia

02/2021 New paper from Yair and Davide Non Equilibrium Supercoiling and Action at a Distance now out in PNAS!

02/2021 Davide receives the Early Career Award in Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics from Royal Society of Chemistry!

02/2021 New paper from the group! Andrea Bonato and Davide collaborate with Cees Dekker lab to explain phase separation of yeast cohesin in vitro. See Bridging-induced phase separation induced by cohesin SMC protein complexes in Science Advances!

01/2021 Cleis, Ed and Simon join the lab! Cleis will be working on models of genome organisation, HIV integration and transposable elements, Ed on material properties of genomes, kinetoplast and the sorts while Simon will bring in some proper experimental (micro)rheology expertise.
cleis ed ed

11/2020 Davide receives the Chancellor's Rising Star Award from the Univeristy of Edinburgh!

10/2020 Non-Equilibrium Living Polymers. A fun exercise in scaling calculations! Open access in Entropy (invited by A Maritan and A Giometto) Link erc

09/2020 Finally I can say it (embargo lifted): ERC StG grant awarded! Hurray! Link See Team&Vacancies for openings in the lab erc

08/2020 Another grant awarded (can't say which yet)! Keep an eye out for more available positions in the lab!

06/2020 I am very honoured to have been awarded a Royal Society University Research Fellowship! This adventure including experiments on DNA topology and microrheology will start in Jan 2021. A PhD position will be soon advertised (drop me a line if interested!). rs

05/2020 Very happy to have been nominated "Outstanding Reviewer" by RSC Soft Matter!! href="https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2020/sm/d0sm90069a#!divAbstract">Link

05/2020 Threading induced dynamical transition in Chimeric Polymers out in ACS MacroLetters. Great collaboration with Angelo Rosa, Jan Smrek and Matthew Turner also part of the EUTOPIA COST action.

04/2020 Beautiful representation of the action of SMC and Topoisomerase on knotted strings! Courtesy of Elias Melas
see also PNAS article.

03/2020 In May I will start a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at UoE on "Topologically Active Polymers" (TAPs)! I will do (try) theory and experiments so need lots of help. Drop me an email if interested to work on this!

02/2020 Great collaboration with Alex Bousios and Hans-Wilhelm Nuetzmann on the interplay between Transposable Elements and 3D genome organisation now out on Mobile DNA

05/12/2019 Welcome Gaia!

09/2019 Non Equilibrium Theory of Epigenomic Microphase Separation in the Cell Nucleus
out in PRL and companion PRE gif

08/2019 Looking forward to Physics Meets Biology 2019 in Oxford in September! Link

08/2019    Very proud to have been awarded a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship which will start in May 2020 at the University of Edinburgh

08/2019    Excited to start my new position as Research Fellow in the Dept. of Mathematical Sciences in Bath!

05/2019    Meeting on 4D genome organisation in Venice (3-5 October 2019): More informations and details HERE and yes, the venue of the conference is the one in the picture! :)

05/2019    Very productive meeting with Hans Neutzmann and Alex Bousios on the topology and topography of transposable elements! Many thanks to the Physics of Life Network for funding!

04/2019    New review on the role of RNA on chromatin organisation

04/2019    Interdisciplinary Challenges in Non-Equilibrium Physics going at full steam!

03/2019    "Synergistic Topological Simplification of the Genome" now in PNAS

01/2019    "Physical Principles of Retroviral Integration" now in Nature Communications

11/2018    With the support of the Higgs Centre, the Physics of Life and the Emergence and Physics Far From Equilibrium Networks George Constable (Bath), Gianmaria Falasco (Luxembourg), Elsen Tjhung (Cambridge) and I will be hosting an "Interdisciplinary Challenges in Non-Equilibrium Physics" Workshop in Edinburgh (10-13 April 2019, LINK).

05/2018    Congratulations to Luca Tubiana and Raffaello Potestio for organising and winning a COST action on Topology. EUTOPIA will connect people working on a range of topics, from liquid crystals to chromatin! A great chance for new collaborations and projects!!

01/2018    The first workshop on the Physics of Epigenetic and Chromatin Dynamics will be held in Edinburgh 16-17 April 2018. The registration is free but only a limited number of places are available. For poster abstract submission please email davide.michieletto@ed.ac.uk.

01/2018    Our recent paper on Epigenetic Memory and Genomic Bookmarking has been published in Nucleic Acids Research!

11/2017    Paper in collaboration with Angelo Rosa on the glassy dynamics of ring polymers under random pinning has been published in PRL

09/2017    Congratulations to Chris for his paper on Non-Equilibrium Chromosome Looping. An alternative view to loop extrusion "without a motor"! Made the cover of the Sept. issue of PRL!!

20/05/2017    Welcome Dante!

12/2016    Our paper on a Recolourable Polymer model to describe chromatin folding with an underlying dynamic epigenome has been published in PRX, followed up by an APS Focus story on How Cells Remember Who They Are signed by science writer Philip Ball

12/2016    My paper on the Tree-Like Structure of Rings has been published in Soft Matter!

05/2016    Last paper of my PhD: A Topologically-Driven Glass in Ring Polymers has been published in PNAS with a News&Views in Nature Physics!

10/2015    Paper on the Topological Patterns of DNA Knots accepted in PNAS!!

09/2015    Very honored to receive the IOP Ian Macmillan Ward Prize for best PhD student publication in Polymer Physics

05/2015    My model for the Kinetoplast DNA a genomic "medieval chainmail" has been published in Physical Biology

12/2014    A Taste for Anelloni has been featured in the IOP magazine Physics World followed up by a new entry in the Wiktionary!