James Dama is an incoming postdoctoral scientist in the department of chemistry at Columbia University. He completed his Ph. D. at the University of Chicago, where he worked with Gregory Voth on multiscale physics methods for the study of biomolecules, with particular focuses on adaptive enhanced sampling methodology and the physics of many-body coarse-grained free energies. At the University of Chicago, he was supported by Windt family and Harper dissertation fellowships and received the Cao-Lan-Xian best thesis prize in Physical Chemistry. Prior to his work at the University of Chicago, Dama received a B.S. in chemical engineering from the California Institute of Technology, where he researched synthetic biology, electrophoretic separations and colloid physics.
As a postdoctoral researcher, Dama continues his interests in the statistical mechanics of soft matter, and in particular parsimonious and decomposable representations for the dynamics of many-particle classical chemical systems. At Columbia, he will join the laboratory of Professor David Reichman, where he plans to continue working on using universal physics and simplified representations to guide the study of biomolecular systems, but with a new focus on explaining nonequilibrium and time-dependent phenomena in persistently disordered matter.