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Christopher Glen Peel


DPhil Student

Physics of forming an immunological synapse

I obtained B.Sc. degrees in physics and biochemistry from New York University and a degree in chemical engineering through the NYU-SIT dual degree program. I joined Prof. Michael Dustin's lab at the NYU Medical Center in 2012 following two years of undergraduate research at the NYU Center for Soft Matter Research, continuing as a DPhil student at Oxford in 2014.

One goal of my thesis is to isolate the most physically intrinsic contributions to bond formation and the emergence of heterogeneous structures in the immunological synapse, specifically focusing on bond length and intermembrane spacing. To better understand this problem I have developed several models for two-dimensional binding affinities and coupled multistate diffusion of bonds. I am collaborating with Prof. Andrew Turberfield's Group1 to develop a synthetic membrane adhesion assay consisting of giant unilamellar vesicles (GUVs) adhering to a supported lipid bilayer through DNA mediated interactions, allowing precise control over complex length, flexibility, and binding affinity.

Other research interests include modelling adaptive correlated search strategies of T cells, in collaboration with Viveka Mayya2, with the goal of explaining unexpectedly efficient search behaviour observed on artificial micropatterned surfaces.

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