Department of Physics @ Carnegie Mellon

Theoretical and Computational Biological Physics


Part of the Biological Physics Initiative
Carnegie Mellon University, Department of Physics
  budding simulation  

Welcome... the web pages of the group of Theoretical and Computational Biological Physics, established at the Department of Physics at Carnegie Mellon in Fall 2007!

Deserno Group

from left to right: Nick, Mert, Markus, Martina, Muhammed, Nishchay, Amirali

In our research we use theoretical and computational tools to understand the behavior of a variety of biological systems. We are particularly interested in biological membranes and proteins. Our main tools are coarse grained molecular simulations, continuum theory and statistical physics.

Feel free to browse our pages and have a look at the scientific things we're doing here!


Colleagues and friends with similar research interests (for sure incomplete!): Denis Andrienko, Michael Bachmann, Marcia Barbosa, Frank Brown, Cecilia Clementi, Roland Faller, Bill Gelbart, Jemal Guven, Christian Holm, Zoya Ignatova, Andreas Janshoff, Mikko Karttunen, Kurt Kremer, Martin Müller, Christine Peter, Manoj Puthenveedu, Helmut Schiessel, Ulrich Schwarz, Pierre Sens, Amadeu Sum, Emmanuel Trizac






News and Events...

5/31/17: Another Padawan turned Jedi knight: today Zach McDargh defended his Ph.D. thesis on the topic of "Geometry, Mechanics, and Biology: Applications for Membranes and Filaments". Congratulations, Dr. McDargh!

Zach McDargh, PhD

5/9/17: On this auspicious day Xin Wang successfully defended his thesis on the topic "Elasticity of Lipid Leaflets: Determining Pivotal Plane and Tilt Modulus in Computer Simulations". Congratulations, Dr. Wang!

Xin Wang, PhD

5/2/16: And one more graduate just within two months: Robert Haussman has successfully defended his PhD thesis on "Effective field theory of particle interactions mediated by fluid surfaces". Congratulations, Dr. Haussman!

Robert Haussman, PhD

3/23/16: Patrick Diggins IV has successfully defended his PhD thesis on "Investigation of Elastic Properties of Lipids and Proteins using Computer Simulations". Congratulations, Dr. Diggins!

Patrick Diggins, PhD

9/18/15: Our research on designing membrane-coated nanoparticles for drug delivery made it into ACS Nano. See also the press release CMU published about this!

4/17/15: Deserno receives a new NSF grant on "Predicting emergent continuum-elastic properties of lipid membranes from molecular-level simulations via consistent and model-free scale bridging". The award is co-funded between the CTMC section in the Chemistry directorate (CHE) and the CMMT section in the Division of Materials Research (DMR).

1/28/14: Our article "Determining the bending modulus of a lipid membrane by simulating buckling" made the list of the most downloaded articles in the Journal of Chemical Physics in 2014!

1/7/15: Graduate student Zach McDargh wins DeBenedetti Graduate Fellowship.

12/31/14: Markus Deserno wins grant on "Design Hierarchies for Nano-Based Micro-Energetic Macro-Actuators (MEMA)", sponsored jointly by the College of Science and the College of Engineering. The project is a joint effort between six investigators from both colleges. Besides Deserno, the other PIs are Shelly Anna, Mathias Lösche, Krzysztof Matyjaszevski, Bob Tilton, and Lynn Walker.

7/1/14: Markus Deserno joins the editorial board of the Biophysical Journal. [more]

1/9/14: Dr. Pablo Vázquez- Montejo joins the Deserno group as new a postdoctoral researcher on a prestigious CONACyT grant. Welcome!

12/16/13: It's Dr. Hu now! Mingyang defended his PhD thesis successfully. That's an occasion to celebrate! [more]

Cem's defense

9/25/13: Markus Deserno gives an interview to WRCT 88.3FM, discussing the hypothetical question what would happen if we'd drill a hole all the way through the earth and then jumped in. Listen to it here!

7/2/12: Cem Yolcu successfully defended his PhD thesis. Congratulations, Dr. Yolcu! [more]

Cem's defense

11/4/11: Deserno acts as opponent on Ph.D. defense of Erik G. Brandt, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden. Congratulations, Dr. Brandt!

10/17-21/11: Deserno, Hu, and Diggins present at CECAM conference "Coarse-Grained Biomolecular Modeling" in Lausanne, Switzerland.

9/21/11: Markus Deserno gives the Biophysics Colloquium at Cornell.

9/12/11: Robert S. Cantor (Dartmouth College) gives the Departmental Colloquium about "Synaptic Neurotransmission and Anesthesia: a Complex Response from a Simple Stimulus".

4/25/11: it's Dr. Tristan Bereau! Many congratulations!

3/14/11: Rob Phillips, Caltech, gives the Departmental Colloquium on "Transcriptional Regulation by the Numbers".

Profs. Lösche, Linstedt, and Deserno organize a workshop on the Biological and Biophysical Basis of Membrane Dynamics and Organization at the Mellon Institute, November 05/06. [more].


Prof. Deserno co-organizes a workshop on "Multiscale modeling of lipid bilayers under equilibrium and non-equilibrium conditions" in Lausanne, Switzerland, October 27–29, 2010. [more]


Profs. Lösche and Deserno co-organize a workshop on Self-Assembly in Biology and Materials Science in Huatulco, Mexico, June 8–12, 2010. [more]


Tristan Bereau wins the 2010 Astrid and Bruce McWilliams Graduate Fellowship. [more]

Bruce McWilliams and Tristan Bereau

Prof. Deserno teaches on the International Workshop on Coarse-Grained Biomolecular Modeling, to be held in Levi, Finland, March 7–12, 2010. [more]

Levi Workshop

Tristan Bereau wins a Student Travel Award to the 2010 annual meeting of the Biophysical Society in San Francisco.

Deserno received NSF CDI grant to cyber-engineer functional nanoparticles for targeted drug delivery. [more]


Tristan Bereau wins Guy C. Berry Research Award [more]

Tristan Bereau

Scherk's minimal surface

Looking for a postdoc, PhD position or under-graduate research project or similar? Have a look at our announcements!

twisted torus