Prof. Dr. Karen Alim



Academic Career and Research Areas

Prof. Alim (*1981) investigates in the field of biological physics how form and structure arise in life. The aim of her research is to identify the physical principles underlying the development and function of organisms.

Prof. Alim studied physics at the University of Karlsruhe, at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and at the University of Manchester. For her doctorate she performed research at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics of the University of California in Santa Barbara and at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, where she received her doctorate in 2010. From 2010-2015 she worked at Harvard University as a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer before joining the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Göttingen in 2015 as a Max Planck Research Group Leader. In 2019 Prof. Alim was appointed to the Physics Department of the TUM.


  • ERC Starting Grant (2020)
  • Fellow Elisabeth Schiemann Kolleg (2013-2018)
  • Fellowship Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher (2011-2014)
  • John Birks Award, University of Manchester (2004)

Mirna Kramar & Karen Alim: “Encoding memory in tube diameter hierarchy of living flow network”. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2021; 118(10): e2007815118.


Julien J-D, Alim K: “Oscillatory fluid flow drives scaling of contraction wave with system size”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A. 2018; 115: 10612-10617.


Alim K, Parsa S, Weitz DA, Brenner, MP “Local pore size correlations determine flow distributions in porous media”. Physical Review Letters. 2017; 119: 144501.


Alim K, Amselem G, Peaudecerf  F, Brenner MP, Pringle A “Random network peristalsis in Physarum polycephalum organizes fluid flows across an individual”. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A. 2013; 110: 13306-13311.


Uyttewaal M, Burian A, Alim K, Landrein B, Borowska-Wysket D, Dedieu A, Ludynia M, Traas J, Boudaoud A, Kwiatkowska D, Hamant O “Mechanical stress acts via katanin to amplify differences in growth rate between adjacent cells in Arabidopsis”. Cell. 2012; 149: 439-451.