Gopinathan Group Home Page
A major research theme in our group is understanding transport in both biological and physical systems.
At some level, one can argue that Life IS Motion - whether it is molecules shuttling around cells or flocks of birds in the skies. We study transport- at levels ranging from the molecular to ecosystem with the appropriate theoretical and computational tools at each level of organization.
While our research spans a diverse range of systems, the questions we ask are general and cut across scales. Transport in biological systems is achieved against tremendous odds in complex, dynamic and noisy environments but with incredibly high fidelity. We are interested in figuring out how the laws of Physics are exploited to allow this.
How does the structure and dynamics of the environment and interactions among cargo themselves give rise to emergent transport phenomena at higher levels of organization? How does reliability and robustness of transport arise in these contexts with high molecular noise?
Can we use our insights into these questions to control or optimize transport or even mimic it artificially?
Addressing these questions requires integrating information across different scales of biological organization and we use theoretical and computational techniques from a variety of areas in soft matter and statistical mechanics. Specific techniques we use include all-atom molecular dynamics simulations; coarse grained Brownian dynamics; Monte Carlo simulations; agent based models as well as analytical theory based on polymer physics and elasticity.
Specific problems we address include molecular motor-based intracellular transport and associated cytoskeletal structure and dynamics, disordered proteins and biopolymers, bacterial division and growth and anomalous transport and non-equilibrium dynamics in a variety of biological and physical systems.
David Ando defends his thesis! (July 2015)
NSF grant on "Infant Vocalizations as Foraging" is funded (July 2015)
Aspen TV interview on "The Physics of Flocking and Swarming"
David Quint's paper on topologically induced swarming phase transitions appears in Physical Biology (June 2015)
David Ando's paper on cooperative proto-filament switching in multiple-kinesin transport appears in Scientific Reports (December 2014)
Nori's paper on optimal cooperative foraging appears in the Journal of Theoretical Biology (August 2014)
Ajay Gopinathan has been named a Scialog Fellow by the Research Corporation and Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation (July 2014)
Our paper on the copolymer brush structure and function of the nuclear pore appears in Biophysical Journal (May 2014)
David Quint accepts a postdoctoral position offer from Stanford University and the Carnegie Institute (April 2014)
David Ando wins a Graduate Dean's Dissertation Year Award (April 2014)! Congrats David!
Robby Puccinelli wins the SNS Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award and the UCM Research Week Best Poster Award (March 2014)!! Congrats Robby
David Quint gives an invited talk at Symposium on " Collective Motion Across Scales" at the American Physical Society March meeting in Denver.
We are organizing an invited session on "Collective motion across scales: From Proteins to Animals" atAPS March Meeting 2014 in Denver
David Ando's paper on the "physical bioinformatics" of disordered nucleoporin sequences published in PLoS ONE
Former postdoc Nickolay Korabel started a new postdoctoral position at the University of Manchester (Sep.2013)
Former postdoc Konstantinos Tsekouras started a visiting faculty position at Indiana/Purdue University (August 2013)
Kostas Tsekouras's paper on designing nanocarriers for high specificity cancer therapeutics published in PLoS ONE
We are organizing a workshop at the Aspen Center for Physics on - "Functional Biological Assemblies" - May 27-June 30, 2013
Grad student Katie Copenhagen joins the group. Welcome Katie!
Work on the mechanism of FtsZ ring force generation is published in PNAS
Amanda Miguel is going to Stanford Bioengineering for grad school! Congrats Amanda!
Alan Blatt is going to UC Irvine Physics for grad school on a Chancellor's Felloship. Congrats Alan!
We win an NSF-Advancing Theory in Biology grant Igor obtains his Ph.D!