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Computational and Systems Biology

There is a dynamic and thriving group of researchers in CBE who are focusing wholly, or in part, on computational projects. Much of their work is done under the auspices of the College-wide Cornell Institute for Computational Science and Engineering (ICSE). These projects are in the following areas: 

  • Computational and Systems Biology: protein conformational studies, biological network fragility, and synthetic biology, protobiology on frozen aqueous and non-aqueous extra-terrestrial worlds.
  • Energy materials, energy transformations and energy systems engineering.
  • Complex fluid modeling of colloids and gels, nanoparticle flows, electrospinning fibers.
  • Electronic materials design and properties.

Research Foci of Faculty in Computational Analysis of Energy, Materials, and Biological Systems
Prof. Paulette Clancy's laboratory is one of the leading groups in the country studying atomic- and molecular-scale modeling of semiconductor materials. Her team focuses on prediction and insight regarding the link between materials design and properties, allowing them to suggest processing conditions and tailored materials to fulfill a desired set of constraints. Her primary current foci are novel materials for (1) photovoltaic applications for solar cells and (2) laser annealing of semiconductors and porous low-k materials. 

Prof. Fernando Escobedo's research group is at the forefront of contributors to novel methods for simulation of both thermodynamic data (like free-energies and microstructure) and kinetic information (like transition mechanisms and rate constants) from molecular-level models of complex materials. His current interests center on establishing structure-property relationships for polymeric and colloidal materials. The ultimate goal of generating such new fundamental knowledge is to improve the engineering of materials of desirable or "super" properties that originate in the creation of special types of structural order or the control of phase transitions. 

Prof. Yong Joo's research focuses on the integration of continuum analysis with molecular details in polymeric materials processing. Areas of current interest include the microstructural rheology and processing of complex fluids, the formation of nanostructures in nanofibers, and the occurrence of viscoelastic instabilities in polymer flows. In particular, comprehensive mesoscale and simulation studies on the dynamics of confined assembly of block copolymer/nanoscale filler systems have led to ceramic and metallic nanofibers with tailored nanostructures such as ordered mesopores, which are being used in reaction studies in various catalyst and energy storage devices. 

Prof. Donald Koch's group studies the rheology and average transport processes in particle suspensions, porous media, micro- and nano-structured materials. Some examples of where they have used simulation to carry out these studies include: particle-filled polymeric materials, solvent-free nanoparticle fluids, aggregation processes in colloids and aerosols, non-continuum gas flows and reactions, collective behavior of swimming micro-organisms, convective heat and mass transfer in particulate systems, two-way coupling in particle-laden turbulent gas flows, geologic sequestration of carbon dioxide, and geothermal energy extraction. 

Prof. Jeffrey Varner's lab studies metabolic and signal transduction pathways that are important in technology and human health using experimental and computational tools. They focus on new technologies for the production of complex therapeutic proteins, pathways associated with trauma, and pathways involved with a variety of human cancers. They work with diverse partners from academics, industry, government, and clinical practice. 

Prof. Fengqi You's research lies at the interface between chemical engineering and operations research. He focuses specifically on the development of advanced computational models, optimization algorithms, and systems analysis tools for practically important and fundamental problems in process engineering/ manufacturing, energy systems and sustainability. He seeks to provide a balance between theory, computation and real world applications through his synergistic research that includes both fundamentals and applications. 

Prof. Roseanna Zia's group develops predictive theory and computational models for the far-from equilibrium behavior of complex fluids and other soft matter undergoing low-Reynolds number flow. Her group's research focuses on three primary themes: (1) structural evolution and particle transport in 3-D micro-confined suspensions; (2) slow evolution during and sudden release from kinetic arrest in colloidal gels and glasses; and (3) development of a broad non-equilibrium "equation of state," a generalization of Einstein's equilibrium theory. 

Research Area Faculty

  Name Department Contact
pqc1.jpg Clancy, Paulette
Samuel W. and M. Diane Bodman Professor in Chemical Engineering
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering 362 Olin Hall
607 255-7713
fe13.jpg Escobedo, Fernando A.
Marjorie L. Hart Professor of Engineering
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering 377 Olin Hall
607 255-8243
dlk15.jpg Koch, Donald L.
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering 250 Olin Hall
607 255-3484
jdv27.jpg Varner, Jeffrey D.
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering 244 Olin Hall
607 255-4258
fy86.jpg You, Fengqi
Roxanne E. and Michael J. Zak Professor and David Croll Faculty Fellow
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering 318 Olin Hall
607 255-1162
rnz6.jpg Zia, Roseanna N.
Assistant Professor, James C. and Rebecca Q. Morgan Sesquicentennial Faculty Fellow, and Associate Editor, Journal of Rheology
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering 344 Olin Hall
607 254-3353