Basic Bio

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Francis Starr’s research focuses on computational approaches to understand the emergent complexity of soft and biological matter.  His PhD work at Boston University focused on the unusual dynamics and thermodynamics of liquid water.  At NIST, he developed modeling approaches to describe polymer-nanoparticle composites.  In 2003, Francis accepted a faculty appointment at Wesleyan University.  At Wesleyan, the group has explored DNA modeling and nanotechnology, lipid membrane dynamics, and polymer films and composites.  In his lab, undergraduates and graduates work side-by-side, emphasizing connections to experimental results.

Professional History

Wesleyan University Foss Professor of Physics Physics Department 2021-present
Wesleyan University Chair of Physics Physics Department 2022-present
Wesleyan University Professor Physics Department 2013-present
Wesleyan University Director Integrated Design, Engineering, and Applied Science Program (IDEAS) 2018-present
Wesleyan University Director College of Integrative Sciences 2014-2018
Wesleyan University Professor Molecular Biology & Biochemistry Department 2014-present
Wesleyan University Associate Professor Physics Department 2009-2013
Wesleyan University Assistant Professor Physics Department 2003-2009
N.I.S.T. Deputy Director Center for Theoretical and Computational Materials Science 2001-2003
N.I.S.T. Physicist Polymers Division 1999-2003


Ph.D. Boston University Physics 1999
M.A. Boston University Physics 1999
University Honors
Carnegie Mellon University Physics 1993

Honors and Activities

Elected as a Member of the Connecticut Academy of Science & Engineering 2022
Elected as  a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) 2017
National Academies Education Fellow in the Sciences 2015-2016
Member-at-Large, APS Topical Group on Statistical and Nonlinear Physics 2012-2015
Guest Editor, PNAS 2013-2014
Wesleyan University, M.A. ad eundem gradum (Honorary) 2013-2014
Visiting Faculty, Universit√† di Roma “La Sapienza”, Dipartimento di Fisica, Roma, Italy. 2010, 2014
Visiting Professor, Universitat de Barcelona, Departament de Fisica Fonamental, Master on Computational and Applied Physics program, Barcelona, Spain. 2009
Member of the editorial board, Journal of Computational and Theoretical Nanoscience 2003-2006
National Research Council Postdoctoral Associateship 1999-2001
National Sceince Foundation GRT Fellowship 1996-1999