New job

I recently left Peter Olmsted’s group in Georgetown after a very enjoyable two years. We studied the phase separation kinetics of mixed lipid bilayers, specifically the effects of inter-leaflet coupling. The Institute for Soft Matter Synthesis and Metrology is a very pleasant and stimulating place to work, and I strongly recommend it.

In the past week I’ve moved to become a postdoc in the group of Guillaume Salbreux at London’s new Francis Crick Institute. The work will concern the mechanics of tissue development and homeostasis, in close collaboration with some excellent experimentalists. The move from a sort of “physical chemistry of lipid membranes” to a more explicitly biological “physics of living systems” seems a natural step to make, and I’m looking forward to the next few years of research.

In the meantime, check out the latest paper with Peter (a comment in PRL), and look out for an upcoming collaboration with Philip Fowler.


Research publication: Comment on Galimzyanov et al. (Phys. Rev. Lett. 2015)

In this week’s issue of Physical Review Letters, a Comment written by me and Peter Olmsted is published. It concerns the nature of inter-leaflet coupling in bilayers, and specifically a claim in the original article that line tensions alone act to favour registration (symmetry) of domains.

Research publication: Kinetics of symmetry and asymmetry in a phase-separating bilayer membrane

A new paper with Peter Olmsted has just appeared in Physical Review E. Like our recent Soft Matter article, it builds on our theoretical study of coupled lipid bilayer leaflets, investigating the underlying model via direct simulation. We also give a broader look at the use of “leaflet-leaflet” phase diagrams, introduced in previous theoretical works, which allow a more natural interpretation of symmetry and asymmetry in bilayers.

Open access: Nucleation of symmetric domains in the coupled leaflets of a bilayer

I was pleased to receive an email from the Soft Matter journal that our recent article has become eligible for open access. This seems to be due to a new agreement that I guess might be specific to certain universities and/or funding sources. Anyway, we aren’t complaining! Now or in the near future our article on lipid bilayer domains will be open access.

ACS Colloid and Surface Science Symposium 2015

Next week is the annual ACS Colloid and Surface Science Symposium — last year’s was very good and this one looks like it will be too. Hopefully there is as much good ramen in Pittsburgh as there was in Philadelphia. I’ll be giving two talks, both on the Tuesday. The first concerns methods for predicting and characterising the influence of polydispersity on a phase-separating fluid (with Mike Evans):

Talk 1

The second is about some more recent work on lipid bilayers, specifically how domain formation couples to asymmetry between the leaflets (with Peter Olmsted):

Talk 2

A few of us from Georgetown’s Institute for Soft Matter will be there, and I’m also looking forward to catching up with Ian Williams (he of the amazing colloidal corral). See you there!

Research publication: Registered/Antiregistered phase separation in bilayers

A couple of days ago, the April 21st 2015 issue of Biophysical Journal came out. My first paper with Peter Olmsted appears within and is featured on the cover! We studied the effects of inter-leaflet coupling in bilayers, and found fascinating kinetics driven by competing stable and metastable phase coexistences, involving registered (symmetric) and antiregistered lipid domains. I won’t go into more detail here, there is a blog post on the Biophysical Society Blog that tells you more.

Cover Image

Soft matter, biophysics, colloids, membranes and music