Soft Matter and Living Systems

You may have heard of soft materials, but what exactly are they? Examples include a wide range of materials from car tires to food, cream and foams. They are soft enough that their properties and structure are, curiously, determined by entropy — the thermodynamic law that dictates that disorder rules! Understanding these materials and their synthesis and governing principles has implications for technology development and for understanding the greatest mystery of soft matter — Life.

Living systems is the area of study in which materials meet life and biology, from the perspective of the physical scientist. Life consists of materials that are undergoing dynamic change driven by biochemical energy. How can the phenomena of life — replication, motility, robustness — be understood in a set of equations, or replicated in designed, engineered systems? The answer to these questions will establish new technologies for diagnostics, pharmaceuticals, and predictive therapies.

AFM Cell Mechanics

The ability to measure dynamic structural changes within a cell under applied load is essential...

Microtubule Mechanics

A beam element is constructed for microtubules based upon data reduction of the results from atomistic...


Recent Publications

Technological strategies to estimate and control diffusive passage times through the mucus barrier in mucosal drug delivery. Jay M.Newby, Ian Seim, Martin Lysy, Yun Ling, Justin Huckaby, Samuel K.Lai, M. GregoryForest. 'Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews, Volume 124, 2018, 64-81'.

Data-Driven Reduced-Order Model of Microtubule Mechanics. Yan Feng and Sorin Mitran. Cytoskeleton (Hoboken). 2018 Feb;75(2):45-60..

Vertical Light Sheet Enhanced Side-View Imaging for AFM Cell Mechanics Studies. Kellie Beicker, E. Timothy O’Brien III, Michael R. Falvo, and Richard Superfine. Scientific Reportsvolume 8, Article number: 1504 (2018).

Propulsion of a Two-Sphere Swimmer. Daphne Klotsa, Kyle A. Baldwin, Richard J. A. Hill, R. M. Bowley, and Michael R. Swift. Phys. Rev. Lett. 115, 248102.

A Blueprint for Robust Crosslinking of Mobile Species in Biogels with Weakly Adhesive Molecular Anchors. Jay Newby, Jennifer L. Schiller, Timothy Wessler, Jasmine Edelstein, M. Gregory Forest, & Samuel K. Lai. Nature Communications Volume 8, Article number: 833 (2017).