Teaching is a learning and discovering process, both for me and my students. While introductory classes motivate me to develop better ways of explaining elementary concepts and clear misconceptions, upper-level classes stimulate my thinking of the subject material and sometimes challenge me beyond my expectations. The project-based curriculum at WPI also allows me to explore new and exciting areas in computational and biological physics with my students. These projects prepare our students better for life beyond college by putting them in the driver's seat, but also help me broaden my horizons with the fresh ideas they bring.
My research interests focus on the field of soft-matter physics, which is an interdisciplinary field of research dealing with problems relevant to biology, materials science, and chemical engineering. More specifically, the two thematic areas that my group focuses on include the following: physical principles of self-organization, growth, and transport in cells; and coarse-grained modeling of flow and transport for microfluidic applications. Our group develops novel coarse-grained simulation techniques--methods that attempt to “average out” irrelevant microscopic details to achieve computational efficiency while maintaining the essential physics--to study these systems.
As a group focusing on theory and simulations in these rapidly evolving areas of science, close interaction with experimentalists is essential for the success of our research program. To this end, we have a number of successful collaborations in these areas with researchers in the department of Biology and Biotechnology and the Bioengineering Institute at WPI. We also collaborate with a number of groups at other institutions, including the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Harvard Medical School, and Penn State University.