Louis Group
MPhys projects
Positions available

    Louis group research interests: Soft and Biological Systems

Research in our group is interdisciplinary, on the border between theoretical physics and chemistry, applied mathematics and biology. We study how complex behaviour emerges from the interactions between many individual objects. Specific topics of interest include biological systems such as virus self-assembly, DNA nano-structure self-assembly or the evolution of gene networks, as well as the properties of complex fluids/soft matter systems such as colloids polymers, or proteins in solution. We primarily use the tools of statistical mechanics -- especially analytic theories and computer simulations -- to better understand the behaviour of these fascinating systems. "Coarse-graining", where a subset of the (microscopic) degrees of freedom are integrated out to yield a simpler and more tractable problem, is a common theme in these descriptions. Here at Oxford, we work closely with members of the Theory of Soft and Biological Matter group, with whom we share many research interests.

Research Projects in the Louis group

Here are some research projects that give a flavour of the work in our group. In practice, these projects always evolve, in part because research advances rapidly, and in part because we adapt the projects to the particular strengths and interests of the DPhil candidates or postdocs.

  • Self-Assembling DNA

    The ability to design nanostructures which accurately self-assemble from simple units is central to the goal of engineering objects and machines on the nanoscale. Without self-assembly, structures must be laboriously constructed in a step by step fashion. Double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) has the ideal properties for a nanoscale building block, and new DNA nanostructures are being published at an ever increasing rate. Here in the Clarendon the world-leading experimental group of Andrew Turberfield has created a number of intriguing nanostructures using physical self-assembly mechanisms. We have recently developed a new simplified theoretical model of DNA that appears to capture the dominant physics involved. In this project you would apply the model to study some simple nanostructures. You will mainly be using Monte Carlo simulations and statistical mechanical calculations to study these processes. A potential new direction for this project could also be to extend our new methods to study RNA nanostructures.

Louis Group Members Research Publications Mphys projects Positions available Teaching News