Martin A. Fisher School of Physics

Condensed Matter and Biophysics Theory

The entire theory group are members of the Brandeis Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, in which interdisciplinary teams elucidate the role that material properties play in the structure and function of cells and exploit this knowledge to create new categories of materials.

Group Members

Professor Aparna Baskaran’s research interests include understanding out-of-equilibrium properties of soft materials and physics of biological systems.

Visit the Baskaran Group Website

Professor Bulbul Chakraborty is interested in systems far from equilibrium. Her recent research has been focused on:

  • Analyzing the origin of glassy dynamics in supercooled liquids with a specific focus on the question of an underlying critical point

  • Exploring the origin of force chains in granular media and their effect on the jamming of granular flows

  • The nature of the jamming transition

  • Modelling the dynamical instability in microtubules

A sampling of recent publications and short descriptions of her research topics can be found at the group’s website.

Visit the Chakraborty Group Website

Professor Michael Hagan and his lab endeavor to understand how fundamental physical principles lead to the forces that control assembly and dynamic pattern formation in biological and biomimetic systems. Because assembling structures can be orders of magnitude larger than the individual components, his lab develops and applies computational and theoretical methods that bridge disparate length and time scales.

Applications of these methods include understanding assembly mechanisms for viral capsids and other large protein complexes, and learning to direct the rational design of novel materials with biomimetic function.

Visit the Hagan Group website

Professor Jane Kondev is a theoretical physicist who works on problems in molecular and cell biology. His group develops simple mathematical models, which are based on coarse grained descriptions of living systems, to address problems such as: 

  • How does a cell decide which genes to express and in what amount in response to a chemical or mechanical stimulus?

  • How do cells self-assemble internal structures such as organelles to a size that is well suited to the size of the cell?

  • How are genomes spatially organized in cells and what are the functional consequence of this organization?  

  • How do biochemical networks in cells, such as the ones that regulate gene expression, evolve? 

The goal of our mathematics is to provide a quantitative framework for biological phenomena, which can be used to make experimentally testable predictions. Therefore, research in the Kondev group is highly collaborative and done in partnership with biology and biophysics labs at Brandeis, Harvard, Boston University, Caltech, Berkeley, Stanford, UCSF, McGill, etc., where our models are tested.