Suri Vaikuntanathan Assistant Professor

Indian Institute of Technology - Madras, India B. Tech in Biotechnology, 2006.
University of Maryland, College Park PhD in Chemical Physics, 2011.
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Berkeley, 2011-2014.
Assistant Professor, University of Chicago, 2014-


Best Poster Prize, Mini Statistical Mechanics Meeting, 2012.

Ann G Wylie Dissertation Fellowship, University of Maryland, College Park, 2011.

VSRP fellowship. Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, India, 2005.




We develop and use tools of equilibrium and non-equilibrium statistical mechanics to understand the behavior of complex systems in physical chemistry, soft condensed matter physics, and biophysics. Specific research directions include:

Statistical mechanics of driven systems and self assembly out of equilibrium:

Understanding the statistical mechanics of self assembly and pattern formation under non-equilibrium conditions remains an important open problem. We are interested in developing theoretical and simulation methodologies that enable the study of far from equilibrium systems and elucidate the principles of assembly, stability and self organization in non-equilibrium conditions.

Information processing and control in biology:

Energy dissipation is a characteristic feature of feedback and information processing circuits in biological systems. Research in our group will explore tradeoffs between efficiency and dissipation in biological circuits and motors, and the strategies utilized by biological systems to ensure sensitivity and robustness in noisy dissipative environments.

Fluctuations in water:

A microscopic understanding of both density and electric field fluctuations in water is important for a wide variety of problems in biophysics and physical chemistry including biophysical modeling of proteins and other biomolecules, understanding the electrochemistry of water, and solvation dynamics in heterogenous environments. We are interested in developing theories which appropriately couple density and electric field fluctuations. We are also interested in using such theories to develop minimal coarse-grained models of water.


Selected References:


S. Vaikuntanathan and C. Jarzynski, Escorted Free Energy Simulations: Improving Convergence by Reducing Dissipation, PRL, 100, 109601, 2008

S. Vaikuntanathan and C. Jarzynski, Dissipation and Lag in Irreversible processes, EPL, 85, 600005, 2009

J .M. Horowitz and S.Vaikuntanathan, Nonequilibrium Detailed Fluctuation Theorem for Repeated Discrete Feedback, PRE, 82, 061120, 2010

D. D. L. Minh and S. Vaikuntanathan, Density-Dependent Analysis of Nonequilibrium Paths Improves Free Energy Estimates II. A Feynman-Kac Formalism, JCP, 134, 034117, 2011

S. Vaikuntanathan and C. Jarzynski, Escorted Free Energy Simulations, JCP, 134, 054107, 2011

S. Vaikuntanathan and C. Jarzynski, Modeling Maxwell’s demon with a microcanonical Szilard engine, PRE, 83, 061120, 2011

S.Vaikuntanathan, P. R. Shaffer, P. L. Geissler “Adsorption of solutes at liquid-vapor interfaces: Insights from lattice gas models”, Faraday Discuss.,160,63-74, 2012

S. Vaikuntanathan, P. L. Geissler “Putting water on a lattice : The importance of long wavelength density fluctuations in theories of hydrophobic and interfacial phenomena, PRL, 112(2), 020603 2014

S. Vaikuntanathan, T. Gingrich, P. L. Geissler “Dynamic phase transitions in simple driven kinetic networks”, arXiv:1307.0801