Tyler Engstrom
229D Physics Building

Research interests: Theoretical description of the creasing instability, and its role in brain folding

Recent Publication:  Surface creasing of soft elastic continua as a Kosterlitz-Thouless transition

Marco Leoni
229C Physics Building

Research Interests: The research themes I developed in these years investigate soft systems comprising many interacting particles, biological flows, self-organization and collective phenomena, like synchronization, and cell motility. Physical phenomena such as dissipation and irreversibility in non-equilibrium systems on the one hand; and the mathematical structures needed for their description, on the other hand, are a source of inspiration – the main driving force which fascinates me and sustains my interest in research. My aim is to understand how coherent collective behaviors, that take place for instance at microscopic scale in living systems or in collections of synthetic active particles, can emerge from physical interactions. My approach to study these problems combines analytical techniques from dynamical systems theory and fluid dynamics as well as numerical methods.

Research Interests: Soft Active MatterLow Reynolds number Flows and SynchronisationCell Motility

Recent Publications: (1)  Polarization of cells and soft objects driven by mechanical interactions: Consequences for migration and chemotaxis, (2) Synchronization and Liquid Crystalline Order in Soft Active Fluids, (3) Swimmers in Thin Films: From Swarming to Hydrodynamic Instabilities


Matthias Merkel
229E Physics Building

Research Interests:  Jamming and glass transitions in biological tissues.  Continuum and cellular models for the mechanics and planar polarity of biological tissues

Recent Publications: (1)  Triangles bridge the scales: Quantifying cellular contributions to tissue deformation (2) Quantitative methods to study epithelial morphogenesis and polarity (3) Using cell deformation and motion to predict forces and collective behavior in morphogenesis  (4) Interplay of cell dynamics and epithelial tension during morphogenesis of the Drosophila pupal wing

petermorsewebsitephotoPeter Morse
229E Physics Building

Research Interests:  Jamming and the glass transition, random matrices, cellular models of jamming

Recent Publications:  (1) Geometric Signatures of Jamming in the Mechanical Vacuum  (2) Geometric order parameters derived from the Voronoi tessellation show signatures of the jamming transition  (3) Hidden symmetries in jammed systems

Moshe_smallMichael Moshe
229D Physics Building



Matteo Paoluzzi
229D Physics Building

Research Interests: Active Matter, Statistical Mechanics and Physics of the Glassy State.

Recent publications: (1) Self-Sustained Density Oscillations of Swimming Bacteria Confined in Microchambers (2) Run-and-tumble particles in speckle fields (3) Generalized Energy Equipartition in Harmonic Oscillators Driven by Active Baths (4) Thermodynamic first order transition and inverse freezing in a 3D spin glass

dms_spoonsDaniel Sussman
229F Physics Building

Research Interests: Glass and rigidity transitions in active and biological systems


Gonca Erdemci-Tandogan
229F Physics Building

Research Interests:  Collective cell behavior in biological tissues, statistical mechanics of biological cells.

Recent publications:
(1)  J. Ning**, G. Erdemci-Tandogan**, E. L. Yufenyuy**, J. Wagner, B. A. Himes, G. Zhao, C. Aiken, R. Zandi and P. Zhang, “In vitro Protease Cleavage and Computer Simulations Reveal the HIV-1 Capsid Maturation Pathway”, Nature Communications 7, 13689, (2016). **These authors contributed equally to this work.  (2)  Erdemci-Tandogan, J. Wagner, P. van der Schoot, R. Podgornik, and R. Zandi, “Effects of RNA branching on the electrostatic stabilization of viruses”, Phys. Rev. E94, 022408, (Editors’ Suggestion) (2016).  (3)  V. Sivanandam, D. Mathews, R. Garmann, G. Erdemci-Tandogan, R. Zandi and A.L.N. Rao, “Functional analysis of the N-terminal basic motif of a eukaryotic satellite RNA virus capsid protein in replication and packaging”, Scientific Reports 6, 26328, (2016).


Yousra Timounay
229F Physics Building

Research interests: particulate soap films, gas marbles, stress localization in ultrathin sheets

David Yllanes
Distinguished Soft Matter Program Fellow
229C Physics Building

Research interests: I am interested in statistical and computational physics in general, with applications to soft matter and glassy physics. Within the Soft Matter Group I am working on flocking models with disorder (with M. Cristina Marchetti) and on the crumpling of thin sheets (with Mark Bowick), while maintaining previous collaborations on spin-glass physics.

Achievements: a) Development of the Tethered Monte Carlo formalism b) Detailed equilibrium and off-equilibrium study of the low-temperature phase of the Edwards-Anderson spin glass, in particular describing its non-coarsening dynamics and establishing a statics-dynamics relationship c) Establishing the presence of a thermodynamic glass transition for a spin glass in a field below the upper critical dimension.

Recent Publications: (1) Minimal model of active colloids highlights the role of mechanical interactions in controlling the emergent behavior of active matter (2) Probing the spin-glass phase with non-equilibrium measurements: statics-dynamics equivalence through the fluctuation-dissipation ratio  (3) Temperature chaos is a non-local effect