CCB: Biophysical Modeling

The biophysical modeling group focuses on the modeling and simulation of complex systems that arise in biology and soft condensed matter physics. This includes the dynamics of complex and active materials, and aspects of collective behavior and self-assembly in both natural systems (e.g., inside the cell) and synthetic ones. Our approach is based on mathematical modeling and analysis, the development and application of software tools for large-scale biophysical simulation, and close collaboration with experimentalists.

Sebastian Fürthauer

Sebastian Fürthauer, Ph.D.

Flatiron Research Fellow, Center for Computational Biology

Sebastian Fürthauer joined the Center for Computational Biology in June 2016. Fürthauer is interested in the physics of cellular scale processes, such as cell division and cell motility and their role in developmental biology. After earning his Ph.D. at the Max Planck Institute for Physics of Complex Systems and the Max Planck Institute for Cellular Biology and Genetics, in Dresden, Germany, he did research at the Tata Centre for Interdisciplinary Sciences in Hyderabad, India, the Courant Institute at New York University and Harvard University. His current work focuses on understanding the role of self-organized processes in the microtubule cytoskeleton of cells, which enable the segregation of chromosomes during cell division.

Ehssan Nazockdast

Ehssan Nazockdast, Ph.D.

Flatiron Research Fellow, Center for Computational Biology

Ehssan Nazockdast joined the foundation in 2016 as part of the biophysical modeling group, where he develops efficient simulation methodologies of the dynamics of microtubule and motor-protein assemblies in complex geometries. Nazockdast received both a B.S. and M.S. in polymer engineering from Amirkabir University of Technology in Tehran and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from City College of New York. He then became a postdoctoral researcher at the Applied Mathematics Laboratory, which is part of the Courant Institute at New York University.

Naomi Oppenheimer

Naomi Oppenheimer, Ph.D.

Flatiron Research Fellow, Center for Computational Biology

Naomi Oppenheimer joined the foundation in 2016 as a research fellow at the Center for Computational Biology in the biophysical modeling group. Her research interests are in fluid dynamics, elasticity and the interplay between them. Her work uses analytical and computational tools to solve biophysical problems related to membrane hydrodynamics, active particles, living cells and more. She did her Ph.D. at Tel-Aviv University under the supervision of Haim Diamant and went on to work as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Chicago with Thomas Witten and then at Princeton with Howard Stone.

Mike Shelley

Michael Shelley, Ph.D.

Group Leader for Biophysical Modeling, Center for Computational Biology

Michael Shelley joined the Simons Foundation in 2016 to work on the modeling and simulation of complex systems arising in physics and biology. He is an applied mathematician who co-founded and co-directs the Courant Institute’s Applied Mathematics Laboratory at New York University. Shelley joined the Courant Institute in 1992 and is the Lilian and George Lyttle Professor of Applied Mathematics. He holds a B.A. in mathematics from the University of Colorado and a Ph.D. in applied mathematics from the University of Arizona. He was a postdoctoral researcher at Princeton University and a member of the mathematics faculty at the University of Chicago before joining NYU. Shelley has received the François Frenkiel Award from the American Physical Society and the Julian Cole Lectureship from the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and he is a fellow of both societies.

Wen Yan

Wen Yan, Ph.D.

Research Fellow, Center for Computational Biology

Wen Yan joined the Simons Foundation in 2016 as part of CCB’s biophysical modeling group. His research focuses on the development and simulation of mathematical models pertaining to phenomena in biophysics and active materials and the development of simulations of suspensions of such active objects. Wen comes to the foundation from the California Institute of Technology where he earned his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering.