2018 Scholarship Winner Feature – Parth Desai

STLE Section Awards Scholarship to University of Maryland Doctoral Student

L to R: Dr. Siddhartha Das (Parth’s advisor), Scholarship Awardee Parth Desai, and STLE Philadelphia Section Chair Rick Nachenberg

The Philadelphia Section of the STLE is pleased to award a scholarship to Parth Desai, a doctoral student in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Maryland.

Parth joined the M.S. program at UMD under the supervision of Dr. Siddhartha Das in August of 2015. The focus of his research was to develop, for the first time in the SMIEL lab, a framework to simulate biopolymers and other soft materials. He developed Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulations for soft matter in less than a year. The project involved characterizing the interaction of polymer grafted onto two opposing plates. Parth later extended this study to Polyelectrolyte (PE) brushes where in addition to polymer behavior one can also study the effect of polymer on surrounding ions. He also used the framework he had developed to study the response of compressed polymer brushes to shearing. The characterization of polymer and PE brushes in compression is key in understanding how biopolymers behave in joints, cartilages and even brain tissues. These results were also included as initial results in a proposal approved for funding by DOE.


Parth’s research also includes the study of fundamental aspects of DNA, one of the most important biopolymers. He is currently working on simulating a DNA with mismatched base pair. This study will provide an

understanding of how enzymes locate mismatches in DNA – a process hugely important in understanding

mechanisms of cell death and many other diseases.