5 60 SCHOOL OF NANO SCIENCE IPM - School of Nano Science
Institute for Research in Fundamental Sciences

Invited Speakers:


Anže Božič works at the Department of Theoretical Physics at Jozef Stefan Institute in Ljubljana, Slovenia. His work on physical virology covers mainly electrostatic characteristics and interactions of viral capsids as well as the role of the structure of genomes of ssRNA viruses for non-specific capsid-RNA interactions. His other research interests include exploring the role of charge regulation in biological systems, classification of order transitions on the sphere using concepts derived from hyperuniformity, and studying the conservation of RNA structural elements and motifs.

Rudolf Podgornik is a physicist. His fields of research are: physics of soft matter, physics of coulomb fluids and macromolecular interactions, the Lifshitz theory of van der Waals dispersion interaction and the Casimir effect, physics of membranes, polymers and polyelectrolytes and especially the physics of DNA and viruses. Podgornik and coworkers discovered the line hexatic phase in the phase diagram of the concentrated long fragment DNA solutions and elaborated the osmotic equation of state of DNA in a wide regime of DNA densities. The line hexatic mesophase appears to be the preferred packing form of long DNA in bacteriophages. He has been active in the field of virus electrostatics for more than a decade and wrote several review papers on the subject.

Antonio Šiber works at the Institute of Physics in Zagreb, Croatia. His interests are wide and include physical virology, physics of cells and tissues, soft matter, extreme mechanics, and surface science. He has recently published a textbook on mechanics of cells and tissues with Primož Ziherl, 'Cellular Patterns'. He is currently working on the mechanical description of large deformations of pollen grains as they swell and desiccate.

Paul van der Schoot is a soft matter theorist in the research group Theory of Polymers and Soft Matter. He is working on the boundary between physics, chemistry, biology and nanoscience. His research includes the application of statistical mechanical theory to problems in soft biological matter and in nanoscience and technology, and the description and interpretation of experiments in these fields. Application areas are, among others, synthetic and natural supramolecular assemblies, liquid crystals, proteins, polymers and colloidal particles. Although predominantly focused on theory development, his research has led to three granted patents. Van der Schoot has been active in the field of theoretical virus physics for over ten years. He has, based on experimental data, developed formal models describing the design principles and self-assembly behaviour of virus proteins. He was one of the principal investigators of a large interacademic Dutch research project leading to the development of a synthetic virus for controlled drug delivery, and is part of a large EU-funded international research and training consortium Distruc.

Roya Zandi received her Ph.D. from the Department of Physics at the University of California, Los Angeles in December 2001. Prior to joining the faculty at UC Riverside, she did post-graduate research in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UC Los Angeles, and in the Department of Physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Zandi’s research is in the fields of statistical mechanics and soft condensed matter physics, which has given her the opportunity to work in broad interdisciplinary areas: she has conducted research in the statistical mechanics of both neutral and charged polymers, the dynamics of the passage of polymers through membrane pores, knot theory and Casimir forces. Her most recent research focuses on the physics of viruses, which has been continuously funded by National Science Fundation.


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