Research Interests:

The long term research goal of our group is to gain fundamental insight into the mechanics and dynamics of biological and bioinspired systems at multiple-length scales, and reflect knowledge gained from our studies to the development of bioinspired design principles. Our investigations begin typically at the nano-scale, where key chemical information is encoded in the basic building blocks and interfaces of materials, giving rise to emergent features observable at the macro-scale. The main focus of our work is on characterizing these building blocks, such as proteins, polymers, biomimetic macromolecules, and their interaction with the ambient environment, for instance, solvents, ions and surfaces. We use a broad set of tools ranging from theoretical mechanics and computational methods (classical and reactive molecular dynamics, advanced sampling methods, coarse-grained formulations) to tackle challenges pertaining to modeling molecular interactions at multiple length and time scales.

Our investigations thus far have helped to enable progress towards rapid discovery and design of bioinspired suprabiomolecular materials by establishing a knowledge base of their physical behavior relevant to applications beyond the biological milieu. Additionally, discovery of the fundamental molecular mechanisms underpinning multifunctionality arising from stimuli-responsive mechanical behavior of organic polymers (heat, moisture, and surface/interfacial stress fields) is another area of active research.

Other topics of interest include modeling and simulation of bioinspired transport phenomena and mechanics of self-assembling material systems, with a particular focus on understanding how size and geometric effects influence the behavior of solids and fluids at the nano-scale. Discovery of size-dependent phenomena that may facilitate advancements in the design of functional nanostructures, structural/infrastructural materials, and nanotechnology products is central to our long-term research objective.

More information about active projects can be found under Research.