Our lab uses theoretical and computational techniques to study a wide variety of soft condensed matter systems both in and out of equilibrium. How do we explain the way disordered solids maintain their rigidity, and also how they fail? What can simple models of active matter teach us about the collective behavior of cells in dense tissue, or about how birds flock? We focus on the role of topology and topological interactions in protecting system behaviors even in the presence of strong fluctuations – this allows us to make strong predictions about how a system responds to perturbations even when using extremely simplified, coarse-grained representations. We employ data-science-driven techniques, working closely with experiments, to formulate precisely tests that can discriminate between different theoretical approaches.

Lab art made for Science.Art.Wonder
Lexie Liu, 2020


June 2021: Public science in Decatur Square!

Fulfilling a childhood dream, I teamed up with Michael Czajkowski and Science for Georgia to do some science outreach, talking about the soft matter physics of ice cream.

May 2021: Toler Webb joins the group!

Graduate student Toler Webb joins the group – welcome, Toler!

March 2021: Paper published in PNAS!

Another paper at the intersection of experimental work and numerical modeling. Working with the Gardel lab, we find that cell shape is controlled by rigidity and active stresses within the tissue, and show that cell cycle dynamics are the source of active stress that drives epithelial remodeling. Work published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

February 2021: Collaborative work published in Phys Rev. X!

Together with an experimental team in Leipzig, we talk about connections between single-cell information and tissue-scale material properties in 3D cell cultures. Work published in Physical Review X

January 2021: Paper published in Soft Matter!

Models of dense biological tissue? Glassy behavior? Machine learning? Check out this collaboration with Tristan Sharp, Indrajit Tah, and Andrea Liu in Soft Matter

Oct. 2020: Sumedh Khanolkar joins the group!

Our first undergraduate researcher, Sumedh, has joined the group – welcome! Sumedh is a sophomore working with the SIRE program to his first look at what research is like. Looking forward to working together this year and, hopefully, beyond!

Sep. 2020: Haicen Yue joins the group!

We’re thrilled to welcome the group’s first postdoctoral scholar, and one of Emory’s TMLS postdoctoral fellows, Dr. Haicen Yue! Haicen’s Ph.D. was completed in the Rappel lab at UC San Diego, and she’s joining us after being a postdoc at the Courant Institute working with Alex Mogilner. The whole group is excited to have the chance to work with Haicen over the next few years!

June 2020: Paper published in Physical Review Research!

Daniel’s first Emory-based single-author-paper has been published! Check out the open-access article, and see this page for more details!

May 2020: First students join the group!

Welcome to the group, Charles and Tomi!

Dec. 2019: Paper on modeling nematic liquid crystals published!

A joint paper with Daniel Beller’s group at UC Merced has been published! Check out this page for more details!