Prize Recipient

SanchezTimothy Sanchez
Brandeis University


"Self-Organization in Active Cytoskeletal Mixtures: Cilia-like Beating of Microtubule Bundles and Spontaneous Bulk Mixing."


Timothy Sanchez received his Ph. D. in Physics, with a specialization in Quantitative Biology, from Brandeis University in 2012 under the guidance of Zvonimir Dogic.

Using purified cytoskeletal components, he developed a robust and well-controlled experimental system for studying self-organized phenomena, important biological functions, and far-from-equilibrium materials. His system was composed of microtubules (MTs), kinesin motor clusters, and a depletion agent that bundles MTs. First, he demonstrated a range of self-organized biomimetic functions, including the cilia-like beating of MT bundles, the synchronization of many active bundles to produce propagating metachronal waves, and internally generated flows in 3D MT networks that generate super-diffusive transport. The occurrence of these biomimetic functions as self-organized processes provides unique insight into the mechanisms driving their biological analogues. Beyond biomimetic behaviors, Sanchez then engineered novel active materials which have no biological analogues: active streaming 2D nematics, and finally self-propelled emulsion droplets. These experiments were deemed to be of broad impact, leading to publications in both Science and Nature, and Sanchez also received the Brandeis Physics department’s annual Berko Prize for his thesis research.

Dr. Sanchez studied physics as an undergrad at New College of Florida. He is currently doing further postdoctoral research at Brandeis until Spring 2013.