Computational Materials Design
Biological systems are far more complex than any synthetic materials. Imagine a cracked phone screen that would heal on its own, or a pen that could synthesize its ink so it never ran out. Replicating the complexity of living matter in synthetic systems would revolutionize modern materials. Several of my research projects work to identify properties of biological materials that serve as building blocks for complex functionality, and develop methods to design self-assembled materials with these properties.
Experimental Data Analysis Tools
Advances in fundamental physics inform the design of new experiments. However, these advances don't always make it into the tools used to analyze these experiments. I work closely experimentalists in soft matter physics to develop tools that incorporate the physics of the system into the analysis itself. We developed a tracking algorithm for particles with highly correlated motion and are currently working to infer interaction potentials from data.
Rigidity in Self-Assembly
Complete control over self-assembly would open an amazing array of doors - from designing materials with custom proeprties to understanding how to construct biological systems in the lab. The first step towards controlling self-assembly is to understand it. In the past, I've worked to understand the assembly properties of diamondoids in order to tease out the role of molecular rigidity in self-assembly, a project that will hopefully have materials engineering applications looking forward.