I am a postdoc at the Harvard School of Public Health in the lab of Jeff Fredberg. My research interests are in the physics and mechanics of materials which are far from equilibrium. In the realm of biology, tissues live in a state far from equilibrium. They exhibit autonomous and collective dynamics, active responses to mechanical and chemical perturbations, and unique material properties. As such, I work to bridge our understanding of the physical sciences of active matter and biological tissues.
During my PhD in soft-condensed matter physics, I developed and characterized an active nematic liquid crystal with my adviser, Zvonimir Dogic. The active nematic is a biologically based active material composed of reconstituted cytoskeletal proteins. Using Kinesin motor proteins which consume the chemical fuel ATP, the microtubule nematic is driven far from equilibrium. The activity drives spontaneous binding and unbinding of nematic defects in a steady-state which lasts for days.
Active microtubule bundles spontaneously assemble and form cilia-like beating oscillations.