Welcome to my site. I am interested in the mechanics and assembly of soft living and non-living biomaterials. Outside of science, I enjoy fly fishing, hiking, and cooking.
PhD training: My formal training in material mechanics originated during my graduate work in Dan Blair’s lab at Georgetown University. I studied the assembly of silk protein into new materials, using rheology to study macroscopic mechanical behaviors while measuring protein-scale structural information in parallel. This work was done in the interdisciplinary Institute for Soft Matter Synthesis and Metrology, and I received my PhD in physics in 2017. (Best place to eat in DC: Rasika)
Postdoctoral work: To expand my knowledge of biomaterial mechanics, I joined Mike Murrell’s Laboratory of Living Matter at Yale University. I study the dynamic assembly of cytoskeletal proteins and the physical rules that govern the behavior of living cells. This work is done in the multidisciplinary Systems Biology Institute. (Best New Haven style pizza: DaLegna)
Why care about soft materials?: Soft materials are interesting because they often exhibit both liquid and solid-like characteristics depending on how you look at them – think toothpaste; toothpaste flows out of the tube like a liquid, but it stays perched on the bristles of a toothbrush like a solid.
Many biological materials fall into this category. I think of biology as a playground for generating new theories and discovering new material properties. Using biological materials, we can further our understanding of biology as well as define new design concepts for man-made materials.
Motivation to study biophysics: When learning about biology, I was always put off by the way people said things along the lines of, “cells do this so that they can do that” as if the cell consciously made a decision. But statements like these are necessary due to the complexity of the biological world. Consequently, what can we learn from biology? Can we use physics to quantify these “rules” of nature and to find out how living materials differ from our man-made materials?
Feel free to look around and see the kinds of projects that I am interested in; contact me at a.pasha.tabatabai(at)gmail(dot)com if you are interested or have any questions!