Chemical Engineering

Research Interests

My research is centered around soft matter systems relevant to industrial and consumer products, e.g. paint, personal hygiene products, preceramic materials, etc. Of particular interest are polymer-colloid systems; they are ubiquitous in soft matter. Developing an intuition and understanding of these systems using computer simulations is challenging for two reasons: (1) there are multiple spatiotemporal scales that span several orders of magnitude, and (2) there is a lack of reliable experimental data to parameterize computational models. To overcome the first problem, we are using a multiscale framework that couples particle and field-theoretic simulations – the latter being pioneered here at UCSB in the Fredrickson group. To tackle the second problem, we are using atomistic simulations that use existing classical force-fields – information on how atoms and molecules interact – to parameterize larger-scale field-theoretic simulations with a powerful coarse-graining framework developed in the Shell group at UCSB.

Mentoring Experiences

As an undergraduate, I couldn’t wait to start research. As eager and excited as I was, I quickly learned that I needed to rely on the graduate and post-doc mentors around me to be successful. Now I am that patient, encouraging mentor to an undergraduate researcher that I, not too long ago, looked to for help and guidance. The shoe is on the other foot, and it is my turn to pay-it-forward. I truly like working with and mentoring undergraduates. I think this is mainly because I like to get into the details with someone, and, as one can imagine, having undergraduates working with you presents many an opportunity for detail-oriented discussions. My reward is seeing the enjoyment they get in trying something for the first time. By the end of the quarter it is always very rewarding to see their research contributions, how much they have learned, and how they have challenged me to try new things. I see my task as a mentor to help nourish them as they begin to conduct research and set them up to be as successful in the short time they have as they can be!

What the Award Means to ​H​im

I see this award as an affirmation of the relationships I was able to cultivate with my undergraduate students and the amazing work they were able to achieve in a short time! This would not have been possible without the unquestioned support by my academic advisors, who always encouraged me and would help seek out good undergraduate student candidates. As they say, it takes a village to raise a child, which is no less true here: it takes a dedicated team to cultivate a future researcher!