Guenter Albrecht-Buehler, Ph.D.
Fellow, European Academy of Sciences, Brussels
Fellow, Institute for Advanced Studies, Berlin
Robert Laughlin Rea Professor Emeritus of Cell Biology
Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago



Nobody in his right mind would believe that the contractile protein molecules in a person's throat speak English. Clearly,  the molecules follow orders issued ultimately by the person's brain. This is not a matter of the size of the organism. The contractile proteins in the muscle cells of a small nematode are not gliding or swimming, either. They, too, receive orders from the nervous system of the worm. In short, the interactions between the molecules of  any organism generally do not create the functions of the organism, but it is the other way around: The functions of the organism initiate and control the interactions between its molecules. The necessity for such control is obvious. Using the example of contractile proteins, the molecules can only polymerize, depolymerize or slide along each other, but they would not know when and with what force and when to stop. A signal-integrating mechanism is required.
Why should the situation be different for single cells? After all protozoa are in effect small, but quite universal organism and the above conclusion should apply to them as much as to a fly, a frog or the author of this website. Yet, the vast majority of today's biologists devote their efforts to prove the opposite, namely that specific molecular interactions create the cellular functions such as  cell division, directed locomotion, differentiation, design of the extracellular matrix, adhesion to materials and other cells and so forth.
My research for the past 30 years or so was devoted to examine whether cells have such signal integration and control center(s).     The results suggest that mammalian cells, indeed, posess intelligence. The experimental basis for this conclusion is presented in the following web pages.
The most significant experimental results are:
1. The motile machinery of cells contains subdomains ('microplasts') that can be isolated from the cell and then are capable of autonomous movements. Yet, inside the cell they do not exercise their ability. The situation is comparable to a person's muscles that are capable of contraction outside a person's body, but do not contract at will once they are part of the person, suggesting that they are subject to a control center.
2. The cell as a whole is capable of immensely complex migration patterns for which their genome cannot contain a detailed program as they are responses to unforseeable encounters ( Cell movement is not random.. ).
3. Cells can 'see', i.e. they can map the directions of  near-infrared light sources in their environment and direct their movements toward them. No such 'vision' is possible without a very sophisticated signal processing system ('cell brain') that is linked to the movement control of the cell.  (The larger their light scattering, the larger the distance from which aggregating cells came together. )
In addition there is the supporting theoretical consideration that the hiterto completely unexplained complex structure of centrioles is predicted in every detail if one asks what structure a cellular 'eye' should have. ( The structure of a pair of centrioles suggests their function as cellular eyes.)



Depending on the direction in which one reads the next sentence, intelligence is a fractal property or/and an emergent property: ...Intelligent ecologies contain intelligent populations,which contain intelligent organisms, which contain intelligent cells, which contain intelligent compartments, which contain...and so forth.


A. Cells control the movement of every part of their body.
Cell movement is not random.. The cortex consists of autonomous domains ('microplasts') whose movement is controlled by a control center (centrosome). Microtubules mediate between the control center and the autonomous domains.

B. The control center detects objects and other cells by fluctuating near-infrared signals.
Cell have 'eyes' in the form of centrioles.. They are able to detect near infrared signals and steer the cell movements towards their source.


For the past 2 decades I have applied essentially two lines of reasoning to examine whether cells are intelligent. They can be summarized in the following statements:

A. If cells can measure space and time, they must be able to derive abstract data from physical signals.
Space and time are not physical objects with which cells could interact, but they are the pre-condition of all physical objects. If cells can measure space and time variables such as angles, distances, curvatures or durations, they must have derived these abstract quantities from the physical objects of their environment. Chapter 2 will use the apparent symmetry and identity between the branches of the phagokinetic tracks of dividing cells (an example is shown below) to argue that cells are programmed to measure angles and time durations.

(The illustration is animated.Click here for a minimal strip of frames.)

B. If cells have eyes, they must be able to order and integrate countless signals.
Images are the ordered set of a huge number of individual data. If cells are capable of generating an image of their environment and react to it, they must be able to order a large number of signals and integrate them into a response action. Chapter 3 will present the evidence that cells use centrioles to 'see' all objects around them that emit or scatter near infrared light. The figure below shows one of the examples of this amazing ability of cells.

(The illustration is animated.Click here for a minimal strip of frames.)


To the best of my knowledge, the term CELL INTELLIGENCE was coined by Nels Quevli in the year 1916 in his book entitled "Cell intelligence: The cause of growth, heredity and instinctive actions, illustrating that the cell is a conscious, intelligent being, and, by reason thereof, plans and builds all plants and animals in the same manner that man constructs houses, railroads and other structures." (The Colwell Press, Minneapolis, MN). The basic tenet of the book is that the actions and properties of cells are too amazing to be explained by anything but their intelligence. (Similar sentiments are repeated today, 90 years later, by the followers of the so-called "Intelligent Design" movement, to which I do not subscribe.) With my apologies to the father of the concept of CELL INTELLIGENCE, I disagree with his approach. What scientists find "amazing" or "inexplicable" has always been and will always remain a matter of the date. My work over the past 30+ years is not based on any philosophical positions but is entirely experimental. As summarized in this web site, it presents novel assays demonstrating that cells coordinate their bodies during movement and respond to physical and topological parameters which are too weak to have caused the observed reaction by force. These responses are then analyzed and used to identify the nature and location of a cellular data-integration system that may be responsible for these actions.