To learn more about each speaker, please click on their name.
- Naama Brenner, Israel Institute of Technology (Website)
- Jennifer Curtis, Georgia Tech (Website)
- Erwin Frey, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (Website)
- Polly Fordyce, Stanford University (Website)
- Hernan García, University of California, Berkeley (Website)
- David Hu, Georgia Tech (Website)
- KC Huang, Stanford University (Website)
- Eleni Katifori, University of Pennsylvania (Website)
- Herbert Levine, Rice University (Website)
- Diane Lidke, University of New Mexico (Website)
- Ben Machta, Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, Princeton University (Website)
- Lakshminarayanan Mahadevan, Harvard (Website)
- Dmitrii Makarov, University of Texas at Austin (Website)
- Josh Shaevitz, Princeton University (Website)
- Gurol Suel, University of California, San Diego (Website)
- Shenshen Wang, University of California, Los Angeles (Website)
- Lanying Zeng, Texas A&M University (Website)
About Naama Brenner
Naama Brenner did a PhD in Theoretical Physics and a post-doctoral training in Computational Neuroscience. She is now a member of the Dept. of Chemical Engineering and the Network Biology Research Lab at the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology. Her research is in theoretical biophysics, including phenotypic variability in cell populations, adaptation and learning in cellular networks, cooperative interactions between cells, and fluctuations in synaptic populations.
About Erwin Frey
Erwin Frey holds a Chair of Biological and Statistical Physics at the Arnold-Sommerfeld-Center for Theoretical Physics and the Center of Nanoscience (CeNS) at the LMU München. He studied Physics at the Technische Universität (TU) München, and obtained a Dr. rer. nat. in 1989 with theoretical work on the critical dynamics of magnetic materials. As a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, while still working on non-equilibrium dynamics, critical phenomena, and soft matter physics, he became interested in biological physics. After his Habilitation in Theoretical Physics in 1996 with a Thesis on topics in soft matter physics and critical phenomena, his research interests shifted towards biological physics and quantitative biology. His initial work focused on the physics of the cytoskeleton where he developed a theoretical description of the statistical mechanics and dynamics of cytoskeletal filaments and networks. His recent work covers three research areas: i) the interaction of molecular motors with cytoskeletal filaments, ii) evolutionary game theory, and iii) pattern formation in cellular systems. In all these topics he focuses on fundamental principles governing emergent phenomena. The greater vision of his research is to develop a conceptual theoretical framework for the physics of living systems.
About Polly Fordyce
Polly Fordyce is an Assistant Professor of Genetics and Bioengineering and Fellow of the ChEM-H Institute at Stanford, and is also an Investigator at the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub. Her laboratory focuses on developing and applying new microfluidic platforms for quantitative, high-throughput biophysics and biochemistry. She graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with undergraduate degrees in physics and biology before moving to Stanford University, where she earned a Ph.D. in physics for work with Professor Steve Block developing instrumentation and assays for single-molecule studies of kinesin motor proteins. For her postdoctoral research, she worked with Professor Joe DeRisi to develop a new microfluidic platform for understanding how transcription factors recognize and bind their DNA targets as well as a new technology for bead-based multiplexing. She is the recipient of a number of awards, including an NIH New Innovator Award, an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship, a McCormick and Gabilan Fellowship, an NIH Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00), and a Helen Hay Whitney Postdoctoral Fellowship, and was recently named a Chan Zuckerberg Biohub Investigator.
About Hernan Garcia
Hernan G. Garcia received his BS in Physics from the University of Buenos Aires and a PhD in Physics from the California Institute of Technology. As a graduate student, he worked with Rob Phillips on the theoretical and experimental dissection of gene regulatory circuits in the bacterium E. coli. As a Dicke Postdoctoral Fellow at Princeton University working with Thomas Gregor, he developed technology to visualize transcription in single cells within living embryos of the fruit fly D. melanogaster. In his lab at UC Berkeley, Hernan is combining theory, experiments, and new approaches for the visualization of the processes of the central dogma in development in order to uncover the quantitative rules that govern the formation of animal body plans. Hernan is also a co-author of the textbook "Physical Biology of the Cell".
About David Hu
Dr. David Hu is a mechanical engineer who studies the interactions of animals with water including how dogs shake dry, how insects walk on water, and how eyelashes protect the eyes from drying. Originally from Rockville, Maryland, he earned degrees in mathematics and mechanical engineering from M.I.T., and is now Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Biology and Adjunct Professor of Physics at Georgia Tech. He is a recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER award for young scientists, the Ig Nobel Prize in Physics, and the Pineapple Science Prize (the Ig Nobel of China). He serves on the editorial board of Nature Scientific Reports and The Journal of Experimental Biology. His work has been featured in The Economist, The New York Times, Saturday Night Live, and Highlights for Children.
About KC Huang
KC Huang was an undergraduate Physics and Mathematics major in Page House at Caltech, and spent a year as a Churchill Scholar at Cambridge University working with Dr. Guna Rajagopal on Quantum Monte Carlo simulations of water cluster formation. He received his PhD from MIT working with Prof. John Joannopoulos on electromagnetic flux localization in polaritonic photonic crystals and the control of melting at semiconductor surfaces using nanoscale coatings. During a short summer internship at NEC Research Labs, he became interested in self-organization in biological systems, and moved on to a postdoc with Prof. Ned Wingreen in the Department of Molecular Biology at Princeton working on the relationships among cell shape detection, determination, and maintenance in bacteria. His lab is currently situated in the departments of Bioengineering and Microbiology & Immunology at Stanford, and his current interests include cell division, membrane organization, cell wall biogenesis, and collective motility of bacterial communities.
About Lakshminarayanan Mahadevan
L Mahadevan is the Lola England de Valpine Professor of Applied Mathematics, Physics, and Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. His work aims to explain the collective patterns of shape and motion in inanimate matter, and the dynamics of sentient matter that can self-organize, perceive and act. He is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of London.
About Shenshen Wang
Shenshen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UCLA. She obtained PhD in physics from UCSD and was a postdoctoral fellow at MIT before joining UCLA in 2016. Shenshen uses physical theory and computation to understand a variety of emergent phenomena in living systems, ranging from non-equilibrium self-organization in the eukaryotic cytoskeleton, to collective response in the adaptive immune system in chasing a changing antigenic target.
About Lanying Zeng
Lanying obtained her Ph.D. in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics with a minor in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2007. She then switched to experimental biophysics/systems biology in Physics department during her postdoc. From 2012, she is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics and Center for Phage Technology at Texas A&M University. She continues the line of research where she uses single-cell and single-molecule assays combined with mathematical modeling to study cellular decision-making process.