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Ajay Gopinathan

CCBM Co-Director, Professor of Physics Ajay Gopinathan
Professional Title: 
CCBM Co-Director & Co-PI, Graduate Lead, & Professor of Physics, Thrust 2, 3
Arts & Computational Sciences 252
  • Ph.D., 2003 - University of Chicago
  • M.S., 1998 - Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur
2010 - George E. Brown, Jr. Award, UC MEXUS2009 - 21st Century Science Initiative Award, James S. McDonnell Foundation
Research Interests: 

Professor Gopinathan's research focuses on a variety of problems in biophysics, soft condensed matter and the interface between the two fields. His group uses theoretical and computational techniques from different areas in soft matter and statistical mechanics including polymer physics, elasticity and anomalous transport.

The group's primary research area is Biological Transport which involves understanding how transport occurs in biological systems across different levels of organization and scale -  ranging from macromolecules and vesicles being transported within the cell and across membranes to cells to communities of cells and higher animals across geographical scales. In the cellular context, the environment is structurally complex and exhibits unique dynamical properties. This results in novel types of transport phenomena and effects that in vivo systems manage to remarkably exploit. Examples include polymer transport across membrane pores, macromolecular transport through nuclear pores and motor driven intracellular transport. At higher levels, problems studied include eukaryotic cell motility, bacterial community motility and foraging in higher animals.

In addition, his group is involved in a number of other projects including drug design, colloidal dynamics, self-organization at surfaces, the geometry and dynamics of elastic sheets, transport in disordered systems and fluctuation induced forces.

We have our own group computational cluster consisting of 5 machines – one compute machine with 9 i7 processors and 4 more GPU accelerated machines each with dual Xeon processors and NVIDIA GPUs capable of 1.35 peak Teraflops. This is located in the Science and Engineering Building server room. The PI and all students under his supervision have full access to the cluster and this will be used extensively for the project. The PI and current graduate students also have personal desktops and laptops bought with the PI’s start-up funds and prior federal and private funding. All these resources are available for use within the Center.