The research in my group focuses on utilising the tools of statistical mechanics and condensed matter physics to address important questions regarding soft matter and biological systems. My research uses a combination of analytical and simulation techniques to resolve such questions. Soft matter physics involves the study of a class of systems that are easily deformable under stress or thermal fluctuations, unlike the scenario for a conventional solid. Such systems often yield new and fascinating behaviour unexpected from its atomic and molecular constituents. In my group we mainly focus on the physics of polymer systems, both synthetic and biological.
One of the main problems we are currently studying involves understanding the organisational principles of folding of genetic material (DNA) inside a nucleus and how this assembly dictates the functional properties of the cell. The DNA genome is an example of a biological polymer and simple physical arguments can be powerful tools to understand the properties of such systems. This is a problem of great importance in biology and understanding the principles of folding will have multiple practical applications. We also work on assembly of proteins and the structure and transport of ions through molecular ion channels.
The other set of problems I am interested in involves understanding the interplay of various forces in polymer systems. Specifically, I am interested in the behaviour of charged polymer systems and the role of charges in understanding the various phases and transitions between them. I am also interested in understanding the physics of crystallization of polymeric systems, which are of great importance in commercial applications.
Mithun K. Mitra, Paul R. Taylor, Chris J. Hutchison, T.C.B. McLeish, Buddhapriya Chakrabarti Delayed self-regulation and time-dependent chemical drive leads to novel states in epigenetic landscapes, Journal of the Royal Society (Interface), 11, 201407062013 (2014)
Jing Hua, Mithun K. Mitra, M. Muthukumar Theory of volume transition in polyelectrolyte gels with charge regularization, J. Chem. Phys. 136, 134901 (1-14) (2012)
Christine Horejs, Mithun K. Mitra, Dietmar Pum, Uwe B. Sleytr, M. Muthukumar Monte Carlo study of the molecular mechanisms of S-Layer protein self-assembly, J. Chem. Phys. 134, 125103 (1-11) (2011)
Mithun K. Mitra, M. Muthukumar Theory of spinodal decomposition assisted crystallization in binary mixtures J. Chem. Phys. 132, 184908 (1-6) (2010)