Research Statement: updated on October 25, 2021.
I am a Postdoc at Dr. Janna Nawroth's Lab in Helmholtz Pioneer Campus (part of HMGU) in Munich, Germany. I completed my PhD studying cilia mechanics at USC in Prof. Kanso's Bio-inspired Motion Lab. Previously, I studied pure mathematics and astronautical engineering at UT Austin, and worked as a student research assistant at Center for Space Research.
I spend most of my time searching for semblances of universality in the extremely diverse world of biology. I am specifically specialized in looking at things from the lens of mechanical instabilities and bistabilities, and the emergent coordination of living matter across different time and length scales. The end goal, in addition to impactful engineering and biomedical applications, is to enhance our understanding of how biological structure and morphology shapes and gets shaped by its function(s).
Tool wise, I am relatively well-versed in mathematical and computational modeling (e.g., elasto-hydrodyanmics of filaments, reinforcement learning with PPO), and is currently expanding my skillset to include experimental methods such as lab-grade microscopy techniques.
My research currently focus on the topic of cilia. Cilia, the micron sized, hair-like protrusions of Eukaryotic cells, (1) are powered by thousands of nanoscale active elements (dynein motors); (2) can sense its mechanical and chemical environments; (3) can push fluid around to help cells move, and transport material; (4) exhibit diverse oscillatory motion as propellers for microorganisms; (5) appear in large groups and coordinate to perform crucial biological functions such as power the clearance of particulate matter inside airway, brain ventricle, and reproductive tracts.
Another topic that interests me scientifically is how can we leverage state-of-the-art machine learning tools and analytical tractable models to study how specialization and hierarchy emerge in (decentralized) control, and how group size and topology affect group behavior, organization and learning.
I am also always down to chat about outer space, sustainability technologies, and any 'advanced' geometry and topology concepts and their applications (e.g., discrete differential geometry in computer graphics, persistent homology for data analysis).
Among my favourite books are the Princeton Companion to Mathematics, Counterexamples in Topology, the Variational Principles of Mechanics, many more Dover (re)publications and other classics, such as things listed here and at the end of May's A Concise Course in Algebraic Topology. Just go buy (me) something from my (old) Amazon wishlist :P
And behold another set of gems of mathematical exposition.
Maths aside, I find the Road to Serfdom, Crosby's Ecological Imperialism, and the Massacre at El Mozote to be good reads. I also love lots of Chinese classics from 说文解字, an ancient treatise documenting Chinese Etymology and things like 论语, to 金庸的武侠小说, famous 20th century martial art inspired fantasies... And I am in the process of digesting some works of 林语堂.
And now an essay about programming.
I play the piano (but a bit out of practice) and recently picked up some guitar action.
Liszt, Rachmaninoff, and Bach are probably my most cherished composers. I love passion in the classical scales but also value precision, dignity, and complexity. My favourite pieces from them are Rhapsodie Espagnole, Liebestraum No.3, Consolation No.3, Hungarian Rhapsodies, and Rachmaninoff Piano Concertos, Prelude op.23 No.5, and the rhapsody. (It's pretty hard to pick favorites from Bach so I'm just gonna say Violin Partita No.2 plus all the fugues and inventions.) Beethoven's Symphony No.7 2nd mov., Etudes 'Revolutionary' of Chopin, Prokofiev's Piano Concerto op.26 No.3 1st mov., Bartok's Piano Concerto No.2 3rd mov. are also on my permanent playlist. My old flatmate(s) also forever made an impression of House/Techno/EDM vibe into my musical tastes.
I enjoy lifting weights and here is a pretty great resource.
And speaking of YouTubers, go watch something from Brady's NumberPhile and Objectivity channels and other math stuff from 3blue1brown. The Pulitzer Center also put up some videos that deserve more views than it has.
Tinkering, manufacturing (the engineering guy has an awesome video on injection molding), and rapid prototyping (additive mfg., laser techs, and good ol' CNC) have always fascinated me. I also love open source anything, from SageMath to openSCAD to farming (open source ecology).
I've been occasionally using and contributing to) Forvo for awhile now.
Ig-noble prizes! This is still my fav. What about hunger?.
Have you ever heard of the common stinkhorn?
Finally a few quotes I like.