Approach. Historically the science has been driven by advances within experiment and theory. With the advent of fast computers, we see the emergence of modelling and simulation as a new powerful method for advancing science. My scientific approach is to design computationally efficient models, simulation- and analysis techniques, that enable me to study complex systems at the interface between physics, chemistry, biology and nano-science. For these systems development of analytical theory and/or interpretation of experimental data can be very difficult. I do not just want to study a particular model of a system, but I also want to use insights generated by simulations to advance the state-of-the-art theories of and experiments on that system. In this way, my approach creates strong scientific synergies and a strong scientific impact.
Challenge: I have applied my approach and a variety of computational techniques to a variety of systems under under the umbrella of soft-condensed matter/complex fluids. These are technologically important materials and also the materials that evolution has chosen as the building blocks of living organisms. Out of the molecular interactions typically emerge complex dynamic self-assembled mesoscopic structures. This complexity is the reason why modelling and simulation can advance the state-of-the-art. The major challenge is how to develop models, that accurately and faithfully captures the interesting mesoscopic and large-scale phenomena without including irrelevant atomic and molecular details. Such a coarse-grained models are computationally efficient, since they enable me to study large systems for long times, which is a prerequisite for e.g. reliably measuring the material properties.
Application. I have applied my approach to a large number of systems along the endless row of contracts that has been my career so far. My Ph.D. was a Monte Carlo simulation study of self-assembled micelles. I used the insights from the simulations to develop state-of-the-art analysis methods for small angle scattering experiments from these systems. As a post-doc and assistant professor, I used Molecular Dynamics to study the molecular origin of viscoelasticity in polymer materials. The Science paper and two Physical Review Letters, that I have authored or coauthored is an excellent illustration how detailed analysis of simulation data can provides insights that can advance the state-of-the-art. As an associate professor, I have developed and implemented models DNA for DNA-soft matter hybrid materials and DNA nano-technological applications.