Areas of Research: Molecular machines, self-organization, protein biophysics, electron transfer
I am a theorist interested in understanding how living systems accomplish tasks that are difficult to achieve in engineered systems. For example, I’m fascinated by a process known as electron bifurcation. Electron bifurcating proteins can push electrons “uphill” by hundreds of millivolts across their length (nanometer scale) in a process called electron bifurcation. Electron bifurcation remains to be accomplished by any synthetic system. To be alive, however, an organism must do more than simply catalyze reactions. For example, organisms must coordinate the activities of many proteins together to achieve sometimes extraordinary “bottom-up” pattern formation and self-organization. At these micron to millimeter length scales, I’m currently exploring the biophysics of pattern formation in reaction-diffusion systems and embryonic development. On another note, I am also interested in the long history of thinking about the role of quantum mechanics in biology.