Vader

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About me

I'm a 6th year graduate student in Dave Weitz's soft condensed matter lab, expecting to graduate next summer (june '09). I still need one class to fulfill my SEAS 12-class requirement, and figured that it wouldn't hurt to solidify and expand on the knowledge I've hopefully by now learned from my colleagues in the Weitz lab.

My research is focused on quantifying the forces and displacements generated by cells in a collagen matrix; both a cell and collagen gel fall under the category of soft matter, with an elastic modulus on the order of 1,000Pa and 100Pa respectively and some interesting viscoelastic properties. Studying biopolymers (collagen, fibrin, actin, microtubules, vimentin, etc...) in the Weitz lab is a blast, I enjoy it, and would recommend it to anyone searching for a doctoral research project. Throughout my PhD career, I have had the chance to play around with fun techniques such as: - particle and cell tracking; - confocal imaging of collagen fibers; - magnetic tweezers; - computer programming for image processing and data analysis; - cell culture; - rheology; - light scattering.

Beyond research, I am a proud father of two beautiful children: Milo (almost 4), who just started pre-school in September, and Sonia (almost 2), who copies just about everything her brother does - the good and the bad! My wife Bre is a professional mother, who has also started a small business a few months back, making kids' clothes and accessories and selling them online (http://www.coochooloo.etsy.com).

I play the piano and some guitar, I like to ride my bike and enjoy an occasional run - I just ran a half-marathon this past fall in the hills of Southern New Hampshire. I have lived on the shores of beautiful lake Geneva in Switzerland most of my life, and look forward to a yearly trip to Europe to visit my sisters, parents and family.

After I graduate, I look forward to applying the skills and techniques I've learned, to the initiation and development of creative and ground-breaking projects and products in the biomedical industry.

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Fun facts on soft matter

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Final Project

I haven't quite figured out what I want to write on, but it would most certainly have to be directly or indirectly related to solving a biological or physiological problem. This can be quite broad of course, as many basic scientific problems find awesome applications in our human lives. The ideas I have so far:

1) amazing properties of corn starch and how a material such as that could be used to protect our body.

2) physics of sickle cell: how a small mutation in hemoglobin can change its collective behavior and cause it to crystallize under certain conditions

3) ???


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