Our research focuses on soft matter formed by weakly interacting organic molecules. The emphasis is on systems with orientational order, known as liquid crystals, and their composites, such as dispersions of colloidal particles in liquid crystals, water dispersions of self-organizing chromonic aggregates, living liquid crystals. Sensitivity of liquid crystals to weak electric fields led to revolutionary changes in the way we present information nowadays, through LCDs. This sensitivity of structural and dynamic behavior (often out-of-equilibrium) of liquid crystals in response to weak physical and chemical cues poses research problems or fundamental importance in soft matter physics, chemistry, materials science, and mathematical modelling. The study of soft matter offers a path of thinking about processes in biological systems and opens new technological horizons. Our studies are enabled by a strong infrastructure of the Liquid Crystal Institute, state-of-the-art facilities, and by a broad range of collaborative projects with colleagues representing disciplines from chemical synthesis to applied mathematics.