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Postdoctoral positions available
Theoretical methods of statistical mechanics are developed and applied at Rice to study the collective properties of biological systems. Both computational and analytical methods are of interest. Natural systems from our world and engineered systems from biotechnology offer a wide variety of phenomena for study. New field-theoretic techniques, new computer simulation methods, and new random energy models have resulted. Current areas of interest include
  1. Newton's laws of biology.
  2. Theory of personalized critical care.
  3. Physical theories of pathogen evolution.
  4. Vaccine design: Immune response to variable or multi-strain viruses and vaccines.
  5. Structure, nucleation, and function of zeolites.
Of particular interest are those biological issues involving randomness, diversity, and correlations. The group has developed methods to quantify vaccine effectiveness and antigenic distance for influenza, methods to sculpt the immune system to mitigate immunodominance in dengue fever, a physical theory of the competition that allows HIV to escape from the immune system, the first exact solution of a mathematical model of evolution that accounts for cross-species genetic exchange, a hierarchical approach to protein molecular evolution, a `thermodynamic' formulation of evolution, and a theory for how biological modularity spontaneously arises in an evolving system. The adaptive immune response to viruses and vaccines is studied with a variety of random energy models. Field theories are used to analyze physical theories of evolution. In the materials field, the group has developed a number of widely-used Monte Carlo methods in structure, nucleation, and function of zeolites and remains interested in these areas.

Our research is supported by the Department of Energy Office of Basic Energy Sciences and the Welch Foundation.

More Information

Professor Michael Deem
Homepage for p_epitope Calculator
Homepage for ZEFSA II Structure Solution of Zeolites
Homepage for Predicted Crystallography Open Database
Homepage for Database of Hypothetical Structures
Homepage for Analytical Rebridging
Homepage for the Parallel Tempering Scheduler
Homepage for Adaptive Thermostats and Barostats
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