Biological & Soft Systems 925 Rutherford Building Cavendish Laboratory JJ Thomson Avenue Cambridge CB3 0HE Tel. +44 (0)1223 337003 Fax. +44 (0)1223 337000
Queens' College BB46; Tel: (01223) 331934
Physics of Medicine Research labs opened in 2008
A BBSRC Targeted PhD Studentship is available (see details of the programme or ask me directly).
The application must be made under Physics Department (see details here). The project title is:
Modelling mechanosensitivity of the 2nd kind: how cells feel and respond to stiffness of their environment. The is a theoretical work (mathematical modelling), in collaboration with clinical studies on neuron/glial cells and on smooth muscle cells. Cells have several known mechanisms to sense and respond to applied external forces. However, sensing the stiffness (elastic modulus or viscosity) requires very different physical processes, because to find the modulus a “detector” has to apply a force, and at the same time measure the displacement with respect to some reference – something hard to achieve in a cell (we call this the mechanosensitivity of the 2nd kind). In developing the theoretical model of this process, three aspects are needed: (a) understanding the individual sensor mechanism, (b) mapping the signalling feedback loop that leads to the cell phenotypical response, and (c) identifying mechanisms of sensor coupling, leading to clustering and “focal adhesions”.
|Representative research topics are formulated on the BSS Research interests list (but not updated very often). My (and all BSS) publications are accessible on the searchable (and downloadable) database BSS Publications database (which gets better and more comprehensive all the time). The Thomson-Reuters (Web of Knowledge) maintain my ResearcherID link -- button on the right.|
With Mark Warner, we have written a monograph "Liquid Crystal Elastomers". From the book's website you could download the first Chapter, called "The Bird's Eye View", which is an overview of the new physics arising in this field; the Appendices of the paperback edition are also downloadable there. With David Weitz we have put together a volume: The Oxford Handbook of Soft Condensed Matter (here, I am afraid, the OUP didn't let us upload a PDF).
I am involved in a number of research projects in a broad area of soft condensed matter and biological physics. The list is long, and changing all the time depending on the current fashion, unexpected discovery, external collaboration, funding, or just a chance. However, a few areas are big enough and with a sufficiently long half-life:
My other interests in physics of polymers and liquid crystals mainly lie in topological defects, kinetic theory, fluid dynamics of l.c. colloids or filled l.c. polymers, as well as various issues of phase ordering, interactions, kinetics of mixtures and emulsions with a symmetry-broken component. Experimentally, we are studying the rheology of complex fluid systems, in particular, the response during phase transformations when new structures and internal constraints emerge in the system.
Several possible PhD projects are available, in all of the above research
areas and in all three directions (theory, experiment and chemical synthesis),
for the start in October (check the Cavendish rules for
but contact me first for preliminary discussions). Remember, the official deadline
for PhD placements is in March, and it can only be bent in a limited way.
Part II - Soft Condensed Matter (active 2013)
Part II - Thermal and Statistical Physics (ended 2012)
Part II - Theoretical Physics (TP1) (ended 2007)
Part III Minor Option - Polymers and Colloids (ended 2005)
Just in case you are wondering - we still live at 18 Hurrell Road, Cambridge CB4 3RH
This is now a site of Arbury Osteopathic Clinic, run by Helen Terentjev