Theoretical and computational biological physics

Photo Markus Deserno

I use both theoretical and computational techniques to study a variety
of fundamental biophysical questions that emerge on the (meso-)scale
of tens to hundreds of nanometers. For instance, I am curious about
the thermodynamic and elastic properties of lipid membranes, their
interactions with proteins and nanoparticles, and mechanical
properties of larger protein aggregates like viral capsids.  On the
mathematical front I use techniques such as continuum elasticity
theory, differential geometry, and field theory. On the computational
front I use mostly coarse-grained models, several developed in my
group, that describe the biophysical system at a lower level of
resolution while still capturing the essence of the physics in
question. In the past years my group has applied this set of
techniques to a wide range of problems, for instance: How can we
efficiently and accurately determine the elastic properties of
membranes? How do membranes trigger interactions between particles
bound to them?  Can we predict the elastic properties of viruses
capsids starting from atomistic simulations of their constituent
proteins? And how should we construct coarse-grained models that
describe the interaction of small disordered peptides with lipid


PhD 2000, Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research, Mainz, Germany

Postdoctoral Training

2000-2003, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, UCLA

Department of Physics

Carnegie Mellon University
500 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213



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