Welcome to the Tab Lab, starting Fall 2020 at Seattle University.

Broadly classified as biophysics and soft matter physics, we want to better understand the world around us. We draw from a wide range of disciplines including physics, biology, and engineering. Currently, experimental projects include quantifying the mechanical behaviors of fish schools, describing the motion of bacteria at interfaces, and building a biopolymer 3D printer.

I welcome motivated students of ANY DISCIPLINE to inquire more about joining the lab.

Email: tabatabai [at] seattleu [dot] edu

COVID-19 Note: The Tab Lab will be operating remotely during Fall Quarter 2020. Students in the lab will help me develop a computational biophysics course.

Mission Statement

We aim to understand fundamental physical behaviors of living materials by quantifying the structural and mechanical properties of biological systems. Our goal is to achieve this by creating a fun, energetic, and interdisciplinary group with people who respect the diverse backgrounds and interests of all members.

Biophysics and Soft Matter Physics

Motivation to study biophysics: When learning about biology, I was always put off by the way people said things along the lines of, "cells do this so that they can do that" as if the cell consciously made a decision. But statements like these are necessary due to the complexity of the biological world. Consequently, what can we learn from biology? Can we use physics to quantify these "rules" of nature and to find out how living materials differ from our man-made materials?

Why care about soft materials?: Soft materials are interesting because they often exhibit both liquid and solid-like characteristics depending on how you look at them - think toothpaste; toothpaste flows out of the tube like a liquid, but it stays perched on the bristles of a toothbrush like a solid.

Many biological materials fall into this category. I think of biology as a playground for generating new theories and discovering new material properties. Using biological materials, we can further our understanding of biology as well as define new design concepts for man-made materials.