Graduate Students

sourav_1Sourav Bhabesh
Faculty Advisor:  Mark Bowick

I am interested in studying the statistical mechanics of a teetered graphene membrane. To study this I am working on a molecular dynamics code which I am writing in CUDA C to simulate a graphene membrane fixed in one side and placed in a temperature controlled bath. Further I will also look into the effect of slits and cuts made using graphene Kirigami techniques.

Czajkowsk_smalliMichael Czajkowski
Faculty Advisors:  Cristina Marchetti & Lisa Manning

I work to understand the dynamic properties of epithelial tissues. We utilize a vertex model of cells to illuminate the mechanical cellular properties which may be associated with collective motion. This model allows us to explore the influence of open boundaries in scenarios such as wound healing. Additionally, we are attempting to extend this model to the hydrodynamic scale to probe the influence of mechanical cell properties on tissue patterning. This may aid us in understanding such phenomena as embryonic development, organ formation, and cancer metastasis.


Arthur Hernandez
Faculty Advisor: Joey Paulsen

My current research focuses on periodically sheared non-Brownian colloidal suspension. Under continual driving, this system exhibits a non-equilibrium phase transition between active states (where some ratio of the total particles are always actively colliding/diffusing) and absorbing states (where particles follow trajectories which avoid collisions). I am constructing an experiment to explore this phase transition under varying local and global shear environments, and different colloidal particle geometries, and in situations with sedimentation under gravity.

Liu, Kuang_small

Kuang Liu
Faculty Advisor:  Jennifer Schwarz

I’m interested in percolation theory. Recently I’m doing some simulation work about square lattice site percolation and triangular lattice site percolation.


Prashant Mishra
Faculty Advisors: Mark Bowick & Cristina Marchetti

My research focuses on understanding pattern formation and defect dynamics in active nematic suspension. In my previous work with Luca Giomi, Mark Bowick and Cristina Marchetti, I studied the role of topological defects as a source of motion in these active liquid crystals. Later, I focused on understanding different length scales in active nematics. Currently I am working with Oksana Manyuhina on modeling the dynamics of these nematics in confined boundary.

Recent work: (1)  Lifshitz point and defect ordering in compressible active nematics, Accepted in Softmatter, Pragya Srivastava, Prashant Mishra, M. Cristina Marchetti
(2) Correlation lengths in two hydrodynamic models of active nematics, Accepted in Softmatter,  Ewan J. Hemingway, Prashant Mishra, M. Cristina Marchetti, Suzanne M. Fielding

Recent poster: Negative stiffness and modulated states in compressible active nematics [pdf]


Giuseppe Passucci
Faculty Advisor: Lisa Manning

I am primarily interested in condensed matter physics specifically at the interface of physics and biology. I’m currently working with Professor Manning and Professor Henderson to construct a physical model of cells moving on shape memory polymers, developed by the Henderson lab. Through a combination of theory and computation reinforced by experimental data he hopes to contribute a thorough model regarding the collective behavior of cells on these substrates.


Adam Patch
Faculty Advisor:  Cristina Marchetti

I am interested in understanding active, many-body systems that generate large-scale structure while interacting only over short distances. Currently, I collaborate with the Welch Lab at SU and the Shaevitz Lab at Princeton University to study the role of mechanical interactions in the collective behavior of M. xanthus, a fascinating soil-dwelling bacterium.


Monica Ripp
Faculty Advisor:  Joey Paulsen

My research interests concern the geometric and elastic properties of thin films, specifically the possible biological applications of these properties.


preeti sahu

Preeti Sahu
Faculty Advisors: Cristina Marchetti, Lisa Manning & Jennifer Schwarz 

I work on Self Propelled Voronoi model to simulate the properties of cancerous tissues. Currently I am trying to simulate a binary mixture of two different kinds of cells to see if they segregate


serafinFrancesco Serafin
Faculty Advisor: Mark Bowick

My current research interest is the statistical field theory of fluctuating two-dimensional membranes, in particular graphene sheets and liquid crystal vesicles. The goal is to characterise their phase diagram, find their equilibrium shape configurations, and compute their elastic properties, which arise from a rich interplay between topology and geometry. Recently, with Mark Bowick and Oksana Manyuhina, we have studied the ground-state shapes of vesicles coated with 3-fold symmetric liquid crystals. With Mark Bowick, Suraj Shankar and Michael Moshe, we are now exploring the role of grain boundaries in the transition between flat, buckled and crumpled phases of thin graphene sheets. 

More generally, I’m interested in the role of topology in (quantum) field theories on curved manifolds, and the connections between gravity and condensed matter systems.

Recent Publication: “Shapes and singularities in triatic liquid crystal vesicles”  by Mark J. Bowick, Oksana V. Manyuhina, Francesco Serafin.  Published in Europhysics Letters


Suraj Shankar
Faculty Advisor: Mark Bowick

I am broadly interested in soft condensed matter systems at the level of continuum descriptions usually involving broken symmetries, elasticity and field theories (both in and out of equilibrium). Two of my primary research directions as of now are active nematics (with Cristina Marchetti) and the mechanics of thin sheets, such as graphene (with Mark Bowick and Michael Moshe). Of particular interest is understanding the importance and relevance of topological defects and the density field in two dimensional active nematic systems, in the presence of non-linearities and fluctuations. On the other hand, with regard to graphene, we are trying to understand the effect of holes and slits (Kirigami) on both zero temperature mechanics and finite temperature statistical mechanics of buckling and crumpling in thin elastic sheets.

Recent publication: Probing the shear viscosity of an active nematic 

Recent invited talk: Controlling Defect Dynamics in a 2d Active Nematic, TIFR – TCIS Hyderabad, India, Aug 9, 2016

Recent Poster:  Confined Nematic Defects As Active Particles [PDF]

StaniferEthan Stanifer
Faculty Advisor: Lisa Manning

I’m primarily interested in the vibrational properties of glasses. Sound propagation through fluids and crystals is well understood, but I’d like to understand how the disorder of glasses affects this. Currently, I’m working with random matrices built from random networks to see what properties of the eigenvalue and eigenvector spectra are universal to this class of random matrices.


Kazage Utuje
Faculty Advisor: Cristina Marchetti

I am interested in cell mechanics and hydrodynamics of active fluids and gels. My current research focuses on building continuum models for a spreading  and a confined cell monolayer  coupling elastic deformations and cell polarization to myosin based cell activity.

Recent publications: Cellular Contraction and Polarization Drive Collective Cellular Motion Propagating Stress Waves During Epithelial Expansion

Recent poster:  Mechanical Coordination in Epithelial Monolayers

Wang_Jikai_smallJikai Wang
Faculty Advisors: Joey Paulsen & Jennifer Schwarz

I’m interested in a phenomenon called hyperuniformity which characterizes the order in disorder. I use computer to simulate suspension systems to see how they will behave with repeated shearing. Also, I’m currently looking into the system with sedimentation which might show hyperuniformity under some condition.


Sven Wijtmans
Faculty Advisor: Lisa Manning

I am interested in the deformation of disordered materials and the identification of flow defects in such materials.

Recent poster: Identifying Defects in Disordered and Ordered Solids [pdf]
Recent publication:  Disentangling defects and sound modes in disordered solids