Professor of Physics
A primary area of interest is macromolecules of rod-like virus particles. These particles form liquid crystals as well as other phases. Because of the simplicity of interparticle interactions a microscopic theory of the phase behavior and bulk properties can be undertaken. We have genetically engineered viruses to produce molecules of new shapes and have calculated how these modifications should lead to the spontaneous formation of structured materials. This is an example of nanobiotechnolgy using a bottoms-up approach of self-assembly. A second area of interest, of direct biological relevance, is exploring the phenomena of "Macromolecular Crowding". Macromolecules occupy 30% of the volume of the cell, strongly influencing inter-molecular interactions. This crowding of molecules causes like species to phase separate into different regions of the cell, leading to macromolecular compartmentalization without the need for any intracellular membrane. A third area of interest is protein crystallization. We are following two approaches. One is the "rational approach" of applying statistical mechanics and thermodynamics to understand the phase behavior of protein solutions using the theory of multicomponent fluids. The second approach is to use microfluidics to develop devices for high throughput screening of crystallization conditions. And finally, we are working on integrating the thermodynamic and high throughput screening approaches.
Brandeis University, Ph.D.
University of California, Berkeley, B.A.
Awards and Honors
Innovation Prize of the International Organization of Biological Crystallization (2008)
National Science Foundation Fellowship (1987 - 1989)
|PHYS||39a||Advanced Physics Laboratory|
|PHYS||113a||First-Year Tutorial I|
|PHYS||304a||Condensed Matter Seminar I|
|PHYS||304b||Condensed Matter Seminar II|