Prizes & Awards

2023 Early Career Award for Biological Physics

Dr. Sujit Datta
Princeton University


“For creative experiments and insightful analyses of bacterial dynamics and organization, and for inspiring the community to engage with these complex systems."


Dr. Sujit Datta is an Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Princeton University. He earned a BA in Mathematics and Physics and an MS in Physics in 2008 from the University of Pennsylvania, and then a PhD in Physics in 2013 from Harvard, where he studied fluid dynamics and instabilities in soft and disordered media. Datta then entered the world of biological physics as a postdoc at Caltech, where he studied the influence of polymers in the gut. He then joined Princeton in 2017, where his lab studies the fascinating behaviors manifested by soft ("squishy") and living systems in complex environments, with a growing focus on microbial communities. His work uses experimental tools to precisely define and directly visualize microbial communities in 3D media, combined with theory and simulation, with the ultimate goal of establishing biophysical principles underlying how microbes—and other forms of "active" matter—spread, grow, and spatially organize themselves in complex environments. Datta also actively leads outreach efforts in STEM to bring together diverse perspectives and provide access to researchers from traditionally under-represented groups in studies of soft and living systems. Altogether, this work has been recognized by awards from a broad range of different communities, reflecting its multidisciplinary nature, including through the NSF CAREER Award, Pew Biomedical Scholar Award, AIChE 35 Under 35 Award, ACS Unilever Award, Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, APS Andreas Acrivos Award in Fluid Dynamics, and the APS Apker Award.