Hilfinger, Andreas

Ph.D. | Assistant Professor | PhysicsTheoretical Biophysics

Contact Information

905 569 4582
905 828 5425
Mailing Address: 
3359 Mississauga Road
Postal Code: 
L5L 1C6

Research Areas:

Theoretical Biophysics

Research Profile:

hilfinger researchOne of the key challenges of understanding biological cells is trying to make rigorous and quantitative statements in the face of enormous model uncertainty: While we typically know some things about a cellular process we never know everything, which leaves mathematical models hugely under-determined and makes common modeling approaches unreliable.

The focus of our research is thus to study complex systems such as cellular processes, not by ignoring or guessing unknown details, but by deriving testable predictions that are provably independent of them. For example, specifying some features of a system while leaving everything else unspecified allows us to establish physical performance bounds for classes of intracellular processes such as feedback control. 

Additionally, we develop theoretical tools to exploit naturally occurring cell-to-cell variability to test specific hypotheses within large reaction networks. For example, the network invariants we derived showed that mRNA-protein fluctuation data in E. coli contradict the majority of published models of stochastic gene expression. 

Courses Taught:




  1. Exploiting Natural Fluctuations to Identify Kinetic Mechanisms in Sparsely Characterized Systems. A. Hilfinger, T.M. Norman, and J. Paulsson. Cell Systems 2 (4), 251-259, 2016.
  2. Constraints on fluctuations in sparsely characterized biological systems. A. Hilfinger, T. M. Norman, G. Vinnicombe, and J. Paulsson. Physical Review Letters 116 (5), 058101, 2016.

  3. Separating intrinsic from extrinsic fluctuations in dynamic biological systems. A. Hilfinger and J. Paulsson. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108 (29), 12167-12172, 2011.

  4. The chirality of ciliary beats. A. Hilfinger and F. Jülicher. Physical Biology 5 (1), 016003, 2008.

  5. How molecular motors shape the flagellar beat. I.H. Riedelā€Kruse, A. Hilfinger, J. Howard, and F. Jülicher. HFSP Journal 1 (3), 192-208, 2007.