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Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Dinesh Kumar, 2020-21 PPG MRL Assistantship Awardee

Dinesh Kumar, Graduate of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Charles Schroeder, advisor

“My Ph.D. research focuses on understanding the dynamic properties of vesicles and fluid-filled capsules using optical microscopy, automated flow control, and modeling. Such vesicle suspensions are encountered in several applications in our everyday lives, ranging from food products to pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. Moreover, capsules and vesicles are increasingly being used for advanced triggered release and reagent delivery applications in functional materials. To this end, my research has specifically focused on understanding the shape dynamics and phase behavior of single vesicles, as well as transient stretching and relaxation dynamics of membranes in steady and time-dependent extensional flows. Our experiments show that vesicles undergo a wide array of non-equilibrium shape transitions in flow, including symmetric dumbbell shapes with pearling, asymmetric dumbbell, buckling and wrinkling conformations,” said Kumar. 

“Under the PPG MRL Fellowship, I will investigate the collision and adhesion dynamics between two freely suspended vesicles using automated flow control, which will directly inform the stability and long-term viability of concentrated vesicle suspensions. These experiments will be performed on freely suspended vesicles without physically constraining the vesicles using micropipettes or solid surfaces. Overall, my experiments will shed new light on the design, synthesis, and processing of vesicle and capsule suspensions for the development of an exciting new class of materials with unique functional properties.”

Charles Schroeder, Kumar’s advisor, states: “Dinesh has demonstrated a high degree of intellectual insight and enthusiasm for his work, all of which makes him an impressive and productive graduate student. Importantly, Dinesh works in a largely independent fashion in the lab, and he is able to think creatively on both experimental and computational problems. His strong analytical skills have enabled him to study vesicle dynamics in an extremely rigorous and quantitative manner, which has brought new insight to the field. He is always interested to explore new directions or ideas that emerge from our regular discussions and meetings, and he has been a great mentor to several undergraduate students in the lab.”

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