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Mike headshot June 2022_edited.jpg

Lilian and George Lyttle Professor of Applied Mathematics at the Courant Institute (NYU) and Scientific Director at the Center for Computational Biology (Flatiron Institute, NYU), Dr. Michael Shelley's interests lie in the modeling and simulation of complex systems arising in biology and soft-matter physics. His earlier work included free-boundary problems in fluids and materials science, singularity formation in partial differential equations, modeling visual perception in the primary visual cortex, non-Newtonian fluid dynamics, and fluid-structure problems such as the flapping of flags, streamlining in nature, and flapping flight. Shelley's current research interests are in understanding complex collective phenomena arising in active matter and its biophysical settings, and in related fluid-structure problems. This has involved, for example, the development of coarse-grained "active-matter" models and analyses that explain how suspensions of microswimmers, or assemblies of biopolymers and molecular motors, self-organize to develop large-scale coherent structures sustained by energy consumption. It also involves the development of specialized methods for the direct

large-scale simulation of such assemblies. These have, for example, been applied to understand the positioning of subcellular organelles during cell development. In other, related work, Shelley has studied the structure and hydrodynamic stability of swimming or flying collectives. While his tools are mathematical, much of his work is in close collaboration with experimental biophysicists.

Dr. Shelley is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was named lecturer at the 2017 Reiss Memorial Lecture at the University of Delaware and named plenary speaker at the 2015 National Meeting of the
Australian Mathematical Society.


Dr. Shelley earned his B.A. in Mathematics from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from the University of Arizona, Tucson.

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