The Aldo DeBenedictis Distinguished Professor of Chemistry
office: 207 Gilman Hall
phone: (510) 642-8716
fax: (510) 643-5623
lab: Pitzer Center
lab phone: (510) 643-1018
student/post doc office: 16 Gilman Hall
The image depicts examples of structures observed in experiments (upper panels of b and d) and predicted by a reduced model of nanocrystal self-assembly.
Our research concerns the microscopic behavior of complex biological and material systems. Using the tools and concepts of statistical mechanics, we develop theories and simplified models for chemical phenomena in condensed phases, for biomolecular structure and dynamics, and for the role of fluctuations in nanoscale materials. We also use and devise techniques of modern computer simulation to investigate such systems on molecular length scales. We interact closely with experimental research groups both to inspire and to be inspired by state-of-the-art studies of real physical systems. Among our current interests is the elasticity of disordered networks of semiflexible polymers. Specifically, we are constructing models for the polymeric framework of living cells, which can exhibit dramatic dynamical restructuring. Explaining the microscopic origins of this sensitive response is an essential step in understanding mechanical aspects of cell signaling. A second interest is the dynamics of nanometer-sized solutes in a liquid undergoing phase change. We aim to determine how nonequilibrium fluctuations in such a system can be exploited to guide the spontaneous formation of useful patterned assemblies.
B.A. Cornell University (1996); Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley (2000); NSF Predoctoral Fellow; Berkeley Fellow; Postdoctoral Fellow, U. C. Berkeley (2000) Berkeley; Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University (2001-2002); M.I.T. Science Fellow (2002-2003); Packard Fellowship (2005-present); Sloan Fellowship (2006-present); Department of Chemistry Teaching Award (2005-2006); Hellman Family Faculty Fund Award (2006-present); UC Berkeley Distinguished Teaching Award (2011).