- CV
- Ph.D. in Physics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1998)
- Condensed Matter and Surface Science (CMSS)
- Nanoscale & Quantum Phenomena Institute (NQPI)
- Graduate courses taught: Statistical Mechanics, Condensed Matter Physics, Mathematical Methods in Physics.
- Undergraduate courses taught: Quantum Mechanics, Classical Mechanics, Honors Tutorials Physics (calculus based), General Physics (calculus based), Introduction to Physics (algebra based).
- "The Nature of Glass Remains Anything but Clear", The New York Times, July 2008
- "Facets of glass physics", Berthier and Ediger, Physics Today January 2016
- Eric Weeks' group, Emory University
- Doug Durian's group, UPenn
- David Weitz's group, Harvard University
- Luca Cipelletti, Université Montpellier de France
- Brief explanation of 2012 Nobel Prize for cell reprogramming
- Yamanaka 2012 Nobel Lecture: "The Winding Road to Pluripotency"
- Jacob Hanna
- Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte
- Rudolf Jaenisch
- Preprints in arXiv (always up to date)
- List of publications, with links to pdfs
- "Fluctuations in the relaxation of a 2D granular fluid", colloquium at OU Department of Chemical Engineering, November 2015 (printable version)
- "Fluctuations in the relaxation of glasses", invited talk, Konstanz, May 2012 (printable version)
- "Does Dynamical Heterogeneity Originate in Fluctuations of the Time Variable?", seminar at the workshop "The Physics of Glasses", KITP, Santa Barbara, July 2010 (video)
- Current graduate students: Sai Teja Pusuluri, Rajib Pandit.
- Former students: Karina Avila-Coronado (PhD 2013), Gcina Mavimbela (PhD 2012), Steven Rogers (Undergraduate Honors Tutorial thesis 2010), Azita Parsaeian (PhD 2009), Allen Dahili (MSc 2005).

Many condensed matter systems exhibit transitions in which they freeze into a disordered solid state. Glasses, plastics, and granular materials (such as sand or powders) are some examples of this kind of disordered solid. Despite their practical importance, many aspects of these transitions are still poorly understood. One such aspect is the presence of spatially extended fluctuations, called "dynamical heterogeneities", which have been qualitatively interpreted in terms of the presence of a local relaxation time that varies over space and time, thus defining fast and slow regions in the material.

Our group performs theoretical calculations and numerical simulations to study fluctuations in glasses and granular materials. We are interested both in equilibrium behavior, where the macroscopic state of the system stays constant over time, and on nonequilibrium (aging) behavior, where the system is evolving towards equilibrium. The analytical approaches that we use include the path-integral formulation of the Martin-Siggia-Rose formalism, sometimes combined with Renormalization Group techniques, to study the dynamics in systems under the presence of disorder and thermal fluctuations. The numerical techniques include classical Molecular Dynamics and dynamical Monte Carlo simulations. We are also interested in re-analyzing in novel ways the existing experimental data from our collaborators.

Biological and biomedical experiments are increasingly producing large datasets of excellent quality, spanning diverse phenomena such as evolution, cell differentiation, disease mechanisms, and many others. We are interested in applying Statistical Mechanics methods to understand some of those phenomena.

One problem we are particularly interested in is cell reprogramming. Recent experiments have shown that, by forcing the overexpression of a few genes, the usual direction of cell differentiation can be reversed. Differentiated cells can be "reprogrammed" to become induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, which are capable of reproducing and developing into any cell type in the body. This discovery has completely changed the standard view about cell specialisation, and it has wide potential implications, particularly in medicine. The reprogramming technology has been used to obtain blood samples from patients, generate iPS cells, and from them generate diseased heart or brain tissues with the exact same genome as the patient. Those tissues can then be used to study the disease, or to test drug candidates. Another potential application is in stem-cell therapy, for diseases like Parkinson's, macular degeneration, cardiac failure, spinal cord injury and platelet deficiency. Despite all of this potential for future progress, there is a lack of predictive theories that could help in the development of new techniques and approaches. Our group is working on statistical mechanical models of cell differentiation and cell reprogramming. Our goal is to help elucidate some of the mechanisms involved in the dynamics of cell differentiation and cell reprogramming, and to provide predictions that could aid in the planning of new experiments.