Why does shape change with size?
I try to span a truly interdisciplinary research interest. As a keyword search, my interested surround evolution, fluid mechanics, scaling laws, size, shape, and biomechanics. The fundamental question behind most of my research is: Why does shape change with size?
I am generally interested in the role of size and shape in biology (why things look the way they do). For many situations, differences in size and shape are almost entirely due how the physics of organisms changes with size. It is not necessary that physics itself is changing, but that the physics forces that act on and constrain an organisms shape change with size. These changes can be expressed in simple equations called "scaling laws." Since scaling laws can both be derived from theory (physics) and measures on organisms (biology), these laws offer the erfect bridging ground between the field of biology and physics. I see my role as a scientist to develop scaling laws which contain enough of the complexity of a physical equation to be meaningful, while containing enough simplicity to be generalizable across many organisms. Such a heuristic balancing act between biology and physics can keep one entertained for a lifetime.
In specific, I have analyzed the interplay between biology and physics in 3 systems so far: the gliding kinematics of flying snakes, the sinking dynamics of diatoms, and the reproductive energetics of algal spores. Although seemingly disparate, scaling laws and fluid dynamics links all of these topics together. In general, I am interested in any system in which I can ask the question: Why does shape change with size?
A light CV of sorts:
2006, B.A. Physics, University of Chicago
2012, Ph.D. in Biology, Stanford University
Ph.D Dissertation (2012). Physical Constraints on the Size and Shape of Microalgae.
Ph.D. Advisor- Mark Denny.
Skill sets and areas of expertise
I am a fluent programmer/user of: R, Illustrator, Google Analytics, Grep.
I am a competent programmer in: Matlab, Mathematica, Processing, Arduino, C++, Java, Shell script, Python, and ImageJ.
I have taken several courses and workshops in the area of Science Communication, and have won several "Best student presenter" awards over my PhD.
Through self-instruction and mentoring with experts, I am well-versed on a variety of statistical techniques, in particular Regressions, bootstraps, and Anovas. I commonly work with extremely messy data sets on new types of analysis have have no set protocols. I have learned the skills needed to choose the appropriate and implement the statistical analyses needed for such data.