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Soft Matter Theory Group

led by Dr. Vladimir A. Baulin
Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Spain

Dr. Vladimir Baulin

Group leader.
Soft matter theory physics

Vladimir Baulin

Research Topics

Group strong expertise in polymer physics, soft matter theory and biophysics

Soft Matter theory group focuses on the development new theoretical methods and application of molecular modelling techniques to problems of interest for the scientific and technological community. In particular, the group offers a transversal and multidisciplinary approach, combining aspects of Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science in Biophysics and Soft Matter field.

Here are three main research lines:

Lipid membranes

Interactions with nano-objects

Theory and computer simulation of interactions between lipid membranes and nano-objects

Nanostructured surfaces

Interaction with cells and proteins

Modelling of interactions of nanostructured surface patterns with cells and proteins

Parallel algorithms for GPU

Massive Parallelization

Development of new scientific methods and efficient parallel codes for GPU using CUDA

First time observation of nanoparticle crossing lipid membrane

Published in Science Advances

It is generally accepted that smaller the size of the object, easier to cross the barriers. Here we see opposite scenario: NPs with size > 5 nm can cross the bilayer spontaneously (DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1600261).

Insect wings shred bacteria to pieces

Nature Highlight

The veined wing of the clanger cicada kills bacteria solely through its physical structure — one of the first natural surfaces found to do so. An international team of biophysicists has now come up with a detailed model of how this defence works on the nanoscale. (DOI: 10.1038/nature.2013.12533)

Bactericidal activity of black silicon

Published in Nature Communications

First reported physical bactericidal activity of black silicon or indeed for any hydrophilic surface. Black silicon represents an excellent prospect for the development of a new generation of mechano-responsive, antibacterial nanomaterials (DOI: 10.1038/ncomms3838).

Can a Carbon Nanotube Pierce through a Phospholipid Bilayer?

Published in ACS Nano

We find that the energy cost of the bilayer rupture is quite high compared to that of the energy of thermal motion. This conclusion may indirectly support other energy-dependent translocation mechanisms, such as, for example, endocytosis (DOI: 10.1021/nn1016549).

SNAL Initial Training Network

Multidisciplinary EU-funded 7th Framework Programme specially designed to provide scientific and transferable skill training and career development for early stage researchers and experienced researchers in the field of lipid research.

Nanoparticle crossing lipid bilayer

Suggested mechanism of a lipid-covered hydrophobic nanoparticle spontaneously crossing lipid bilayer. This mechanism is directly observed in specially designed microfluidic device.

Single Chain Mean Field Theory

SCMF is one of the theoretical tools exploited in the Soft Matter Theory group in Tarragona

Mechano-bactericidal mechanism

Together with Elena Ivanova from Swinbourne University, Australia, we develop theoretical models to understend the mechanism of bacteria killing mechanism due to mechanical cell rupture by nanostructures.

Dragonfly expedition

Dragonfly expedition to Massif Els Ports in collaboration with Museu de les Terres de l'Ebre, Amposta, Swinburne University of Technology, Australia and Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona.