Ahmad completed his PhD in Chemical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology, where his research focused on using theoretical and computational tools to develop a complete molecular description of the mechanical properties of hydrogels – materials that are actively being explored as drug delivery vectors, tissue regeneration scaffolds, and wound-healing agents.
As a Schmidt Science Fellow, Ahmad pivoted from soft matter engineering to explore the fields of nonequilibrium statistical physics and stochastic thermodynamics. With the Geissler Group at the University of California, Berkeley, Ahmad aimed to leverage these theoretical tools along with his knowledge of soft materials to provide a deeper understanding of structure and dynamics of far-from-equilibrium materials.
Upon completion of his postdoctoral studies in the summer of 2021, Ahmad will begin a faculty position in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering at UC Berkeley. His research group will aim to advance our theoretical understanding of both natural and synthetic soft condensed matter systems. The group’s interests are diverse – ranging from the nonequilibrium phase behavior and dynamics of active colloids and driven polymers to understanding the self-assembly pathways of complex phases. The unifying theme in these seemingly disparate areas is the significance of both conservative and nonconservative (e.g., hydrodynamic, active) forces in shaping the underlying dynamic landscape and material properties. The Omar Group will endeavor to investigate this interplay of thermodynamic and dissipative forces by utilizing and devising simulation and analytical techniques at the coarse-grained length and time scales of interest. Moreover, the group will aim to study systems that have clear connections to experiments and venture to make meaningful and experimentally verifiable predictions.