Maksim Sipos

I have graduated with a Ph.D. in Physics at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. My research work was done under the guidance of Professor Nigel Goldenfeld. My Ph.D. thesis is available for download here.

My research interests are in the intersection of statistical mechanics and quantitative biology. The main question underlying them is: how does a system comprised of many interacting parts come to existence and evolve in time? In fluid dynamics, the transition to turbulence occurs as a collective effort of the turbulent modes of the fluid. I studied the process of this transition and found quantitative evidence that it is in the Directed Percolation universality class. This evidence implied that the turbulent-to-laminar transition is statistical in nature and does not depend on details of the Navier-Stokes equations describing the fluid flow.

In a disparate subject of microbial ecology, the complex interactions within microbial ecosystems produce observable patterns in microbe abundance, diversity and genotype. In order to be able to study these patterns, I developed a bioinformatics pipeline to process large microbial metagenomics datasets. I also developed a novel metric that quantifies the degree of interactions underlying the assembly of a microbial ecosystem. I applied this metric to 16S metagenomic studies of 6 vertebrate gastrointestinal microbiomes and found that they assembled through a highly non-neutral process.

In the future, I look to apply my skills to other interesting quantitative problems. I am interested in working with exciting techologies, large datasets and heterogeneous databases combining mathematical, statistical and computational methods from Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science.

Website last updated: January 2013