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SLAAM seminars

The UC Merced Physics department and the CCBM are proud to bring to you a seminar series exclusively by postdocs from different institutions on Soft, Living, Active and Adaptive Matter (SLAAM).  The series aims to promote inclusion by providing a forum for a diverse set of stellar speakers early in their careers and opportunities for faculty and graduate students to interact with them.  Unless otherwise noted, SLAAM seminars will be held every other Monday, starting at 9:00 AM Pacific Time (11 am Central, 12 noon Eastern). 

Each talk will be about 40 minutes with plenty of time for questions and discussion. The talks will be recorded with the speaker's consent and recordings of past talks can be found below on this page.


Everyone is welcome to attend! 

Please sign up at this form to be included in the mailing list where talk announcements and zoom passcodes will be sent. Postdocs should indicate their interest in presenting through this form.

UC Merced Physics Department and CCBM members and affiliates will receive announcements by default.

Faculty and postdocs: Alex Tayar, Kinjal Dasbiswas, Daniel Beller, Suraj Shankar
Graduate students: Madhuvanthi Athani, Abhinav Kumar, Jane B. Garcia, Patrick Noerr

Spring & Summer 2024


Feb 12 Menachem "Nachi" Stern (UPenn)
Learning without neurons in physical systems
[flyer] [recording]
Mar 18 Carmen Lee (NC State)

Relating the microscale to the macroscale in granular materials
[flyer] [recording]

Apr 15
Shreyas Gokhale (MIT)
Excitable nonreciprocal solids
May 20

Linnea Lemma (Princeton)
Driven protein fluxes control the number, size, and position of an essential phase-separated organelle in algae


Fall 2023


Oct 9 Mengqi Xu (UPenn, Perelman School of Medicine)
Myosin-1 facilitates symmetry breaking and the growth of actin comet tails
Nov 13 Isabella Graf (Yale)

A bifurcation integrates information from many noisy ion channels and allows for milli-Kelvin thermal sensitivity in the snake pit organ


Spring & Summer 2023

Jan 30 Andriy Goychuk (MIT)
Folding patterns in heterogeneous active polymers
[flyer] [recording]
Feb 13

Yongtian Luo (Johns Hopkins)
Modeling the Hydrodynamic and Mechanical Effects of Fluid-Storing Biological Flow Network

Feb 27 Raphael Sarfati (University of Colorado Boulder)
Physics of thinking matter: birds, bugs, sheep, and plenty of fireflies
[flyer] [recording]
Mar 27

Miri Adler (Yale University)
Principles of cell circuits for tissue composition: Insights into the stability and vulnerability of our tissues

Apr 10

Mengfei He (Syracuse University)
Cross sections of doubly curved sheets as confined elastica

Apr 24

Fernando Caballero (UCSB)
Phase separation in active liquid crystal mixtures: bulk and interfacial dynamics

May 22 Pintu Patra (Heidelberg University)
The role of shape and mechanics in biological active matter
Jun 12

Patrick McCall (TU Dresden and Max Planck Institute)
Contrasting phases: insights into the physical properties of biomolecular condensates
flyer ]

Jul 10 Abigail Plummer (Princeton)
Fracture, instability, and phase transitions via constrained expansion
flyer ] [recording]
Aug 7 Biswarup Ash (Weizmann Institute)
Tunable three-dimensional architecture of nematic disclination lines
[ flyer ] [recording]


Fall 2022

Sep 12


Krishna Shrinivas (Harvard)
The Many Phases of a Cell
[flyer] [recording]
Sep 26


Guang Shi (UIUC)
Data-driven reconstruction of 3D genome from experimental data
[flyer] [recording]
Oct 10


Yimin Luo (UCSB)
Programming structural transitions in soft matter: physics and data driven approaches
[flyer] [recording]
Oct 24


Miguel Ruiz-García (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)
Bioinspired flow networks: Excitability, self-sustained oscillations and a fluidic memristor
Nov 7


Noah Mitchell (UCSB)
How biology uses physics to sculpt an inner organ
Nov 21


Yuqing Qiu (U Chicago)
Thermodynamic control of organization and self-assembly of cytoskeletal networks far away from equilibrium
Dec 5 Varda Hagh (U Chicago)
Systematic manipulation of disorder for extraordinary functionality in materials


Summer 2022

Jun 6


Ido Levin (University of Washington)
New prospects in shape morphing sheets: unexplored pathways, 4D printing, and autonomous actuation
[flyer] [recording]
Jun 20


Leroy Jia  (Flatiron Institute)
Membrane mechanics meet minimal manifolds
[flyer] [recording]
July 18


Peter Foster (Brandeis University)
Active mechanics of sea star oocytes
Aug 1


Chrisy Xiyu Du (Harvard University)
Magnetic Handshake Materials
[flyer] [recording]
Aug 15


Alexander Mietke (MIT) 
Odd dynamics of living chiral crystals
[flyer] [recording]
Aug 29


Kalpana Mandal (Terasaki Institute)
Oxygen-releasing microparticles improve cardiomyocyte contractility under hypoxia


Spring 2022

Jan 31


Mike Norton (Rochester Institute of Technology)
Towards model-based control of active matter: active nematics and oscillator networks
[flyer] [recording]
Feb 28


Caleb Wagner (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)
Exact coherent structures and transition to turbulence in a confined active nematic
[flyer] [recording]
Mar 7


Anna Lappala (Harvard University] 
4D Chromosome Organization: Combining Polymer Physics, Knot Theory and High Performance Computing
[flyer] [recording]
Mar 28


Eldad Afik (California Institute of Technology)
Intrinsic Rhythms in a Giant Single-Celled Organism and the Interplay with Time-Dependent Drive, Explored via Self-Organized Macroscopic Waves
[flyer] [recording]
Apr 4


Jonathan Michel (Rochester Institute of Technology)
Making a Mesh of Things: Using Network Models to Understand the Mechanics of Heterogeneous Tissues
[flyer] [recording]
Apr 11


Eduardo Vitral (University of Nevada, Reno)
Better energies for low-dimensional elastic systems under combined bending and stretching
[flyer] [recording]
Apr 25


Haicen Yue (Emory University)
Non-regular behavior during the coalescence of liquid-like cellular aggregates
[flyer] [recording]
May 9


Erin Teich (University of Pennsylvania)
Crystallinity characterization of white matter in the human brain
[flyer] [recording]
May 23
Vikrant Yadav (Yale University)
The Equation of State of a Tissue
[flyer] [recording]


Fall 2021

Aug 30 Zhihong You (UC Santa Barbara)
Theory of activity-powered interfaces
[flyer] [recording]
Sep 13 Ed Banigan (MIT)
How polymer-loop-extruding motors shape chromosomes
[flyer] [recording]
Sep 27 Severine Atis (University of Chicago)
Growing in flows: from evolutionary dynamics to microbial jets
[flyer] [recording]
Oct 11 Fabian Jan Schwarzendahl (Heinrich Heine University, Dusseldorf)
Mutation induced infection waves in diseases like COVID-19
[flyer] [recording]
Oct 25 Hannah Yevick (MIT)
Making connections: how epithelial tissues guarantee folding
[flyer] [recording]
Nov 8 Anton Peshkov (Rochester)
Metachronal waves in swarms of nematode Turbatrix aceti
[flyer] [recording]
Nov 22 Navish Wadhwa (Harvard)
Mechano-adaptation in a large protein complex
[flyer] [recording]
Dec 6 Weikang Wang (Pittsburgh)
Reconstruct cellular dynamics from single cell data
[flyer] [recording]



Summer 2021

May 24 Brian Chang (Clark University)
The life of a mucosalivary droplet: Lessons from synthetic breaths and sneezes 
[flyer] [recording]
Jun 7 Suraj Shankar (Harvard University)
Flocking through complex environments
[flyer] [recording]
Jun 21 Tapomoy Bhattacharjee (Princeton University)
3D Printing Cellular Communities: Mammalian Cells, Bacteria, And Beyond
[flyer] [recording]
Jul 19 Olga Shishkov (University of Colorado Boulder)
Internal structure of honey bee swarms for mechanical stability and division of labor
Aug 2 Sulimon Sattari (Hokkaido University)
Do leader cells drive collective behavior in Dictyostelium Discoideum amoeba colonies?
[flyer] [recording]
Aug 16 Mehdi Molaei (University of Chicago)
Flow singularities in soft materials: from thermal motion to active molecular stresses
[flyer] [recording]


Spring 2021

Feb 1 Katherine Copenhagen (Princeton University)
Topological defects promote layer formation in bacterial colonies
[flyer] [recording]
Feb 15 Salem Al Mosleh (Harvard University)
The finch beak: growth, form and function
[flyer] [recording]
Mar 1 Handuo Shi (Stanford University)
Chiral twisting in a bacterial cytoskeletal polymer affects filament size and orientation
[flyer] [recording]
Mar 29 Stewart Mallory (Caltech)
Phase Behavior and Self-Assembly of Active Colloids
[flyer] [recording]
Apr 12 Danilo B. Liarte (Cornell University)
Geometry, topology and soft matter: Emerging complex behavior of matter with disorder
[flyer] [recording]
Apr 26 Alexandra Tayar (UC Santa Barbara)
Liquid-liquid phase separation out of equilibrium
[flyer] [recording]
May 10 Ritu Raman (MIT)
Light-degradable hydrogels as dynamic triggers for implantable devices
[flyer] [recording]