Beller Living, Active, and Soft-Matter Theory (BLAST) Physics Group



Our group explores the basic physics underlying complex phenomena in ordered soft materials, biological matter, and living systems. We use theoretical approaches combining statistical physics, elasticity theory, and material geometry and topology, alongside computational approaches such as mesoscale relaxational methods, coarse-grained Brownian dynamics, and stochastic front propagation simulations. Spatial self-organization, complex geometries, and topological defects are recurring themes in our research. Much of our work is in close collaboration with experimentalists from Physics, Materials Science, and Chemical Engineering backgrounds.

Our current research is in the areas of:

  • Active matter with liquid crystalline order

    How do emergent collective motions depend on material geometry, topology, and non-equilibrium force generation?

  • Self-assembly in ordered soft materials

    How do material order, interfacial effects, and chirality determine spontaneous spatial patterning and structure formation in liquid crystals and soft solids?

  • Biological population genetics

    What can statistical physics teach us about a population’s changing spatial structure and its evolutionary consequences?

Group photo at Mirror Lake, Yosemite, 2021 Group photo at Johns Hopkins University, 2021

Here is a link to the open-Qmin project for nematic liquid crystals simulation.