Material Science & Molecular Simulation

Using a combination of cutting-edge computer simulations and analytical theory, my research revolves around developing novel techniques to manipulate, direct, and self-assemble matter at the micro-scale.

Both as a postdoctoral researcher and Ph.D student, I have been particularly interested in understanding how colloidal active matter can be used as a tool to engineer the microscopic. This rapidly growing field focuses on characterizing the behavior of synthetic self-propelled particles and micro-swimmers, which are colloquially referred to as active particles. An active particle’s ability to autonomously navigate complex microscopic environments conjures up a host of appealing applications, which include targeted drug delivery to specific cells, the clean-up and neutralization of environmental pollutants, self-propelled micro-tools, and the massive parallel assembly of microscopic structures. These potential applications are built around the unique self-driven nature of active particles and their ability to manipulate, sense, and transport material at the micro-scale.

All of these applications and many more can be realized in the near future, but first we must continue to systematically quantify the true individual and collective dynamics of colloidal active particles in a multitude of complex microscopic environments. A significant thrust in my research is developing advanced computational methods that provide a consistent and faithful description of colloidal systems with the highest level of computational efficiency.

As an Arnold O. Beckman Postdoctoral Fellow at Caltech, my current work uses these computational tools to explore several open questions concerning the role of hydrodynamics and lubrication forces in colloidal active matter.