People



Daniel S. Fisher

Daniel S. Fisher

My primary research focus in recent years has been the statistical dynamics of evolutionary processes. This includes theoretical work on general issues and models in evolutionary dynamics, especially quantitative aspects, collaborations with experimental groups on laboratory evolution of microbes and on field studies of microbial diversity, and now exploring the interplay of microbial evolution and ecology. For humans, active collaborations are on the repertoire and dynamics of the immune system, and on the evolution of cancers, and I am starting to actively pursue a long-standing interest in neuroscience.

My biological research also includes projects on the dynamics of cellular processes. Before diving into biology, I worked in various areas of condensed matter and statistical physics including ultralow temperature phases of helium, superconductivity, physics of disordered materials, fracture mechanics, and earthquakes.

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Michael Pearce

Michael Pearce

I am a physics PhD student studying models of evolution and ecology. I’m broadly interested in how the interplay of various factors–from mutation and recombination to epistasis and spatial structure–determine the pace of evolution and the diversity observable in sequencing data.

Some species are capable of both sexual and asexual reproduction and my work has focused on how the asexual evolutionary dynamics are altered by very low frequencies of sexual mating. In ecology, I am interested in how microbial interactions lead to high levels of coexistence and am exploring models with spatial structure and environmental feedback.

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Hidenori Tanaka

Hidenori Tanaka

I’m a postdoctoral fellow interested in combining theoretical physics and interpretable machine learning to better understand complex dynamical systems in biology. Now, I’m modeling the internal neural dynamics of the retina with a convolutional neural network and trying to build a minimalistic mathematical model out of it. Before, I completed my Ph.D. with Profs. David Nelson and Michael Brenner at Harvard University where I developed and applied methods of statistical physics to solve problems in soft matter physics, population genetics, and neuroscience.

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Alana Papula

Alana Papula

I am a PhD student in Applied Physics working on population dynamics in the context of cancer biology. How do mutations arise, propagate, and accumulate, and what are the most pragmatic methods for monitoring, early detection, and intervention? To begin to address these questions we consider mutations in the blood, as this provides a well-mixed population with accessible data. I have worked on a basic model of clonal dynamics which, excitingly, compares favorably to recent blood sequencing data. The model has been generalized to include aspects of biological richness.

I am also interested in the dynamics of ice sheets and glaciers, particularly the fast-flowing ice streams of West Antarctica. The physical mechanisms controlling the location and spatial extent of these ice streams are not well constrained, and the dynamics of these ice streams on timescales as short as decadal provide some of the greatest uncertainty in sea level rise predictions. I am attempting to theoretically model how conditions at the base of an ice stream impact its motion, understand feedback mechanisms between flowing ice and the underlying bed, and ultimately evaluate the stability or collapse of sheets in West Antarctica.

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Alumni



Atish Agarwala

Atish Agarwala

Former PhD student in Physics, AI resident at Google.

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Sam Ocko

Sam Ocko

Former postdoc, research scientist at Renaissance Technologies.

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Mikhail Tikhonov

Mikhail Tikhonov

Former postdoc, currently Assistant Professor of Physics at Washington University.

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Lily Blair

Lily Blair

Former PhD student in Biology, scientist at Karius.

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Jamie Blundell

Jamie Blundell

Former post-doc, currently group leader in Department of Oncology at University of Cambridge.

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Oguzhan Atay

Oguzhan Atay

Former PhD student in Biology, co-founder/CEO at Billion To One.

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Michael Rosen

Michael Rosen

Former PhD student in Applied Physics, scientist at Karius.

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Ben Callahan

Ben Callahan

Former postdoc, currently Assistant Professor of Microbiomes and Complex Microbial Communities at NC State University.

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Daniel Weissman

Daniel Weissman

Former PhD student in Physics, currently Assistant Professor of Physics at Emory.

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Josh Weinstein

Josh Weinstein

Former PhD student in Biophysics, currently a postdoc at the Broad Institute/MIT.

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Kendra Burbank

Kendra Burbank

Former PhD student in Physics (at Harvard), currently lecturer in the Department of Statistics at University of Chicago.

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Michael Desai

Michael Desai

Former PhD student in Physics (Harvard), currently Professor of Physics and Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard.

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