Andrew Balchunas is Ph.D. student in Physics studying self-assembly of colloidal membranes. He is a member of the Dogic Lab.
MRSEC Research in the Dogic Lab
“I am studying two dimensional colloidal membranes which are many microns in diameter. These membranes are about a thousand times larger than a typical lipid bilayer, so they are much more easily observed with a microscope, but have the same energetic form of lateral compressibility and bending rigidity. This allows us to make measurements on a very large scale which are useful to explain what is happening on the much smaller scale of the cell. Specifically, I work with a unique microfluidic device that allows for a full in situ buffer exchange. This tool is useful to see what happens when you drive a system out of equilibrium. My experiments up to now have explored what happens to one of these membranes as you raise, or lower, the osmotic pressure from the outside of the system.”