Bio

About Daniel Beller

I am a theoretical and computational physicist with research interests in soft matter and biological/biomaterial physics. The interplay of topological defects, active matter flows, nontrivial boundary geometries, and novel bulk material configurations is a common theme in much of my group’s work. We also study biological population genetics and its connections with problems in statistical physics.

I joined the Physics faculty at the University of California, Merced, as an assistant professor in July 2018.

From September 2017 to June 2018, I was a postdoctoral research associate at the Brown University School of Engineering. With Thomas Powers and Robert Pelcovits, I modeled defects and flow instabilities in active liquid crystal biomaterials, in collaboration with the lab of Prof. Zvonimir Dogic (UCSB).

I was previously a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard University from 2014 to 2017, first as the George F. Carrier Fellow in Applied Mathematics and then as a member of David Nelson‘s group in Physics. My research there included plastic deformations in colloidal crystals by motion of topological defects—with conceptual connections to botanical phyllotaxis and carbon nanotubes—as well as statistical physics approaches to spatial aspects of biological population genetics.

I obtained my Ph.D. in Physics at the University of Pennsylvania, advised by Randall Kamien. In my doctoral research, I studied defects in nematic, smectic, and cholesteric liquid crystals, and the relationship between nontrivial boundary geometry and elasticity-mediated self-organization of defects and colloidal inclusions. I obtained a B.S. in Physics and a B.A. in Mathematics at Brandeis University.