John Wilmes Joins Math Department as Assistant Professor

John Wilmes, Assistant Professor of MathJohn Wilmes starts as an assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics in Fall 2018. Along with two other new faculty members, Jonathan Toubol and Thomas Fai, he will contribute to the new Applied Mathematics major. His research is in discrete mathematics and the theory of computing, particularly focusing on structure and symmetry in networks. John’s research is motivated by the analysis of algorithms on discrete structures and machine learning theory.

Before joining Brandeis, John spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow and research scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he received the Outstanding Postdoctoral Research award from the College of Computing. He completed his PhD as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow at the University of Chicago under the supervision of László Babai.

At Brandeis, John plans to continue studying the symmetries of discrete structures and developing rigorous analyses of machine learning algorithms. He is particularly interested in using insights from neuroscience as inspiration for new algorithms.

Thomas Fai is new Assistant Professor in Department of Mathematics

Thomas Fai, Assistant Professor of MathThomas Fai is a new assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics. His research deals with the scientific computing and mathematical modeling of complex biological fluids, including the fluids inside of blood vessels and cells. He is interested in developing highly resolved, three-dimensional simulations that can help answer fundamental questions in biomechanics and physiology.

Prior to joining Brandeis, Thomas Fai was an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard with adviser Chris Rycroft. He received his PhD in mathematics from the Courant Institute (NYU) with adviser Charles Peskin.

At Brandeis, he intends to pursue research into numerical methods to accelerate simulations of complex fluids. He is interested in continuing his work on the interaction between fluid flow, geometry, and molecular motors inside neuronal dendrites, and how this interaction breaks down in neurodegenerative disorders such as ALS and Huntington’s disease.

Simulations of growing fatty-acid vesicles in fluid

Final vesicle configurations and cross sections after a 5-fold increase in surface area using different nondimensional permeabilities π1 and growth rates π2

Schmidt-Rohr to join Chemistry faculty

Klaus Schmidt-RohrThe Department of Chemistry is looking forward to welcoming Klaus Schmidt-Rohr to the faculty this July.

Prof. Schmidt-Rohr is a highly regarded spectroscopist, with a background in both physics and chemistry.  His research is focused on materials and his recent studies have revised our understanding of the structure of Nafion membranes (the proton selective membranes on which most hydrogen fuel cells now depend), the surfaces of nanodiamonds, the molecular bases of bone strength, and the molecular composition of biochar.  Schmidt-Rohr approaches materials primarily through solid state NMR, with a distinctive emphasis on skillful spectral editing.  He has also complimented these experiments with innovative analyses of small angle x-ray scattering data.

Prof. Schmidt-Rohr received his Ph.D. from the University of Mainz in Germany and continued at the Max-Planck Institute in Mainz as a staff scientist. Following postdoctoral work at UC Berkeley, as a fellow of the BASF AG and the German National Science Foundation, he took a faculty position in the Department of Polymer Science & Engineering at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  More recently, he has been a Professor of Chemistry at Iowa State University.

Prof. Schmidt-Rohr’s pioneering work has been recognized with prestigious awards, including the Rudolph-Kaiser Prize from the German Physical Society, a Beckman Young Investigator Award from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, the John H. Dillon Medal of the Polymer Division of the American Physical Society, and fellowship in the American Association for the Advancement of Science and in the American Physical Society.

Olivier Bernardi to Join Math Faculty

Dr. Olivier Bernardi will be joining the mathematics department in Fall, 2012 as a tenure-track assistant professor. Bernardi’s research interests lie in combinatorics and probability. He has worked on problems arising from mathematical physics (statistical mechanics and  quantum gravity), computer science (algorithms and graph theory), and algebra (representation theory of the symmetric group). His Ph.D. thesis was on bijective approaches to the numeration of planar maps.

Bernardi received his Ph. D. in computer science in 2006 at the University of Bordeaux, under the direction of Mireille Bousquet-Mélou, and has worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Center of Mathematical Research, Barcelona, Spain, and as a CNRS researcher in the Mathematics Department at Université Paris-Sud, in Orsay, France. He is currently an instructor in applied mathematics at MIT.

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