Sima Setayeshgar

Sima Setayeshgar

Professor, Physics

Director of Undergraduate Studies


  • Ph.D., California Institute of Technology, 1998
  • B.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1990

Research interests


About Sima Setayeshgar

My interests lie at the interface between physics and biology on scales ranging from the molecular and cellular to the macroscopic. Powerful experimental methods, such as genetic tools, microfluidics, atomic force, two-photon and fluorescence microscopy, and single-molecule techniques, have made biological systems an exciting area for quantitative research, allowing close dialogue between quantitative experimental measurements and theoretical developments. The observation that problems and their methods of solution are common across different biological systems and scales -- for example, phototransduction in the visual system and chemotactic signal transduction in E. coli -- points to the existence of universal organizing principles.

I collaborate with colleagues in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics at IU and elsewhere on theoretical and computational aspects of problems broadly addressing the physical principles underlying individual and collective cellular strategies in sensing and response to changing environments.  These include (i) evolution of higher order protein structure, (ii) molecular basis of behavior and information processing in single cells, with a focus on bacterial chemotaxis as a canonical sensory network, (iii)  regulation of bacterial sensing, motility and adhesion in diverse habitats, as mechanisms crucial for surface colonization, biofilm formation and virulence, (iv) evolution of intracellular biochemical networks, constituting the cellular hardware, in the context of metabolism in bacterial co-cultures, and (v) nonequilibrium pattern formation in chemical and biological systems, from membrane protein cluster formation to wave propagation in bacterial populations and tissue.