Cyrus R. Safinya is a professor in the Department of Physics and the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at the University of California at Santa Barbara and in the Department of Materials in the University’s School of Engineering. He received a B.S. in physics and mathematics from Bates College and a Ph.D. in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Before joining the faculty of the University of California at Santa Barbara, he was a member of the technical staff at Exxon Research and Engineering Company in New Jersey and conducted research on the structure of complex fluids and biological membranes. Currently, his group’s research is focused on elucidating structures and interactions of supramolecular assemblies of biological molecules. This includes the elucidation of key parameters that control the interactions between proteins derived from the eukaryotic nerve cell cytoskeleton and lead to hierarchical structures, with the ultimate goal of relating structure to function; understanding DNA interactions with oppositely charged biomolecules in the context of DNA packing; and developing synthetic carriers of genes and short-interfering RNA for gene delivery and silencing applications. He was a Henri De Rothschild Foundation Fellow, awarded by the Curie Institute, in 1994. He is a fellow of the APS and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Charles F. Stevens is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and the Vincent J. Coates Professor of Molecular Neurobiology at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in LaJolla, California. Previously, he was professor and chair of the Molecular Neurobiology Section at Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Stevens’s research centers on mechanisms responsible for synaptic transmission in the central nervous system, using a combination of molecular biological, electrophysiological, anatomical, and theoretical methods. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Stevens has chaired and served on a number of NRC committees. In addition to his publications in the field of neurobiology, he authored the book The Six Core Theories of Modern Physics, which summarizes the basic theoretical structures of classical mechanics, electricity and magnetism, quantum mechanics, statistical physics, special relativity, and quantum field theory. Dr. Stevens serves as an advisor to a telecommunications firm on the possible health effects of cell phone use. He received his M.D. from Yale University School of Medicine and his Ph.D. from Rockefeller University.
David A. Weitz is the Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics and of Applied Physics at Harvard University. He received a B.S. in physics from the University of Waterloo and an A.M. and a Ph.D. in physics from Harvard University. Dr. Weitz’s research group studies the physics of soft condensed matter. Before coming to Harvard, Dr. Weitz was a professor of physics at the University of Pennsylvania and a physicist with Exxon Research and Engineering Co.