Ajay Gopinathan joined UC Merced just as it opened and served as one of the founding members of the faculty, helping build undergraduate and graduate programs in Physics as well as interdisciplinary centers and institutes on campus.
He is currently the Chair of the Department of Physics and also serves as Director of the National Science Foundation Center for Cellular and Biomolecular Machines, a research center that brings together about two dozen labs across science and engineering. His educational background includes a Ph.D in Physics from the University of Chicago, working on various problems in soft condensed matter physics including crumpling of sheets, colloidal suspensions and polymeric materials. Following this, he was a joint postdoctoral fellow at UCLA and UCSB working on how protein biopolymers produced forces. His current research involves using theoretical and computational methods to understand biological transport and biological machinery at the molecular, cellular and multicellular scales. In particular, he is interested in understanding how living systems are able to transport material with high fidelity in extremely noisy and disordered environments.