I work in the field of soft-matter physics and material properties. I have developed theoretical models to determine the thermodynamics, statistics, and dynamics of molecules in complex environments. My group has analyzed segregation and self-organization in multicomponent systems, in chemically heterogeneous macromolecules, and in molecular electrolytes, including synthetic and biological polyelectrolytes. We have shown that electrostatics plays an important role in biological processes since it is responsible for chirality in nanofibers and for breaking other important symmetries including the icosahedral symmetry of viral capsids. This new understanding of the electrostatics of biomolecules and proteins is leading to exciting opportunities to develop novel materials for gene therapy, nano-structured gels that have applications for drug delivery and micro-actuators, and methods of controlling structures.

Awards and Achievements

  • National Academy of Science