Dr. Rob Phillips is the Fred and Nancy Morris Professor of Biophysics and Biology at the California Institute of Technology. He received his PhD in Physics in condensed matter physics from Washington University in St. Louis. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in physics at Sandia Labs in Livermore California and at Cornell University. Rob served on the faculty at Brown University for 7 years before joining the faculty at Caltech. Rob is here with us today to tell us about his journey through life and science.
Prior to the privilege of a life in science, he spent seven years of travel, self-study and work as an electrician. Research in Rob’s group centers on physical biology of the cell, the use of physical models to explore biological phenomena and the construction of experiments designed to test them. Some of the key areas of interest include the physics of genome management such as how viruses and cells physically manipulate DNA as part of their standard repertoire during their life cycles, how transcriptional networks lead to regulatory decisions and how the physical properties of lipid bilayers are tied to the behavior of ion channels. Over the last ten years, Phillips has been working with Professor Jane’ Kondev (Brandeis University), Professor Julie Theriot (Stanford University) and Professor Hernan Garcia (UC Berkeley) on a book entitled “Physical Biology of the Cell” published by Garland Science. In addition, he has also been advocating “biological numeracy” through work on a book entitled “Cell Biology by the Numbers” with Prof. Ron Milo (Weizmann Institute).