Executive Committee

Executive Committee Biographies

Douglas Durian

Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Pennsylvania
Durian uses novel experimental probes of mesoscale structure and dynamics, coupled with theory and simulation, to elucidate rheology and time evolution in far-from-equilibrium particulate systems such as foams, colloids, granular media, and suspensions.

Zvonimir Dogic

Department of Physics, UCSB
Dogic’s research interests are primarily experimental and span both equilibrium and non-equilibrium phenomena. Together with his group, he uses various biological architectures to create novel soft materials that exhibit physics that is not easily accessible by using purely synthetic methods. He actively collaborates with numerous theorists as well as experimentalists from different disciplines both within and outside of physics.

Karen Daniels

Department of Physics, NC State
Daniels’ group investigates a number of problems in the deformation and failure of soft materials: most recently granular materials, liquid metals, networks, and gels. When not in the lab, she likes to spend time in the outdoors, which has led her to contemplate the implications of her research for geological and ecological systems.

Erik Luijten

Departments of Materials Science & Engineering [chair] and Applied Mathematics, Northwestern University
Luijten's research interests encompass a wide range of topics, with an emphasis on collective behavior in complex fluids and soft condensed-matter systems. His recent work focuses on colloidal self-assembly, nanoparticles for gene delivery purposes, bacterial self-organization, dielectric properties, and charge transport in polyelectrolyte systems. These topics are generally studied via large-scale computer simulations and novel algorithms.

Daniel Blair

Dept. of Physics, ISMSM, Georgetown University
Blair’s research interests are primarily experimental and are generally focused on nonlinear rheology and structural characterization of colloids, gels, emulsions, active fluids, and biopolymer networks with a focus on developing new experimental measurement techniques based in quantitative microscopy methods. He has numerous collaborations with other experimental groups as well as theorists/simulators, engineers and biologists from academic institutions, national laboratories and industrial labs.

Gregory Grason

Polymer Science and Engineering, UMass Amherst
Grason focuses on the theory of self-assembled of soft matter, and in particular, the role played geometry in shaping the assembly process. This research applies a range of techniques—statistical mechanics, continuum elasticity, different geometry and computer simulation—to understand the behavior of diverse materials, from polymers and liquid crystals to particles and biomolecular assemblies. Problems of current interest include geometrically-frustrated assemblies, filamentous matter, mesochiral order in block copolymers and surface-confined assemblies.

Pedro Reis

Reis's research and educational interests are centered in the field of the physics and mechanics of solids and structures, with an emphasis on the structural stability and geometric nonlinearities. Guided primarily through precision model experiments and novel computational approaches, he seeks to harvest mechanical instabilities towards understanding and exploiting novel functionalities in slender structures over a wide range of length scales.

Eleni Katifori

Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Pennsylvania
Katifori’s resarch interests are in the subjects of topology, function and development of biological distribution networks, elasticity and mechanics of thin cells, pattern formation.

Frederick MacKintosh

Depts. of Chem and Biomol. Eng., Chemistry, Phys. and Astro., Rice University
Since 2016, he has been the Abercrombie Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Rice University, as well as a member of the Center for Theoretical Biological Physics, with additional appointments in the Departments of Chemistry and Physics and Astronomy. His primary research interests include rheology of soft matter, the physics of biopolymers and their networks, cell mechanics and non-equilibrium aspects of active soft matter.

Emanuela Del Gado

Department of Physics, ISMSM, Georgetown University
Del Gado is a theoretical physicist working on engineering motivated, interdisciplinary problems. An important thrust of her research is in rheology of gel networks and dense suspensions, in collaboration with other experimental /theoretical physicists and engineers. She uses statistical mechanics and computational physics to investigate soft materials from model amorphous solids, gels and glasses, to new green formulations of cement. She is also interested in self-assembly at liquid interfaces, biomimetic coatings and mechanics of tissues.

Elisabetta Matsumoto

Department of Physics, Georgia Institute of Technology
Matsumoto’s research focuses on the relationship between geometry and emergent properties of soft materials. She uses mathematical techniques to study self assembly, pattern formation and emergent elasticity in a variety of systems, ranging from liquid crystals to fiber reinforced hydrogels to woven and knitted textiles. She works closely with experimental groups and has a small lab of her own. She maintains active collaborations with groups all across the world in a variety of fields both inside and outside of physics, including materials science, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering and pure mathematics.

Daria Atkinson

Physics Department, UMass Amherst
Atkinson is a theorist who studies the geometry and topology of soft materials. Her graduate research focuses on the intersection of geometric incompatibility and non-linear elasticity in filamentous and liquid crystalline systems.