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Group News

  • April 19, 2022: Teshani received the best presentation award at the Center for Soft Matter and Biological Physics Symposium! Congratulations, Teshani!
  • April 19, 2022: Hadi received the best poster award at the Center for Soft Matter and Biological Physics Symposium! Congratulations, Hadi!
  • April 15, 2022: Wally Borden accepted a graduate fellowship from Syracuse! Congratulations, Wally! And best of luck in graduate school!! 
  • April 14, 2022: Teshani received the departmental Wan-Zia Graduate Fellowship!! Many congratulations, Teshani!
  • Feb. 3, 2022: Hadi received the Center for Soft Matter and Biological Physics travel award to attend the 2022 ACS Spring Meeting. Congratulations, Hadi!
  • Jan. 13, 2022: Teshani was an invited attendee at the 2022 International Young Leaders Forum run by the American Physical Society. Well done, Teshani!
  • Nov. 24, 2021: Teshani received a BPS travel award to attend the 2022 BPS Meeting! Congratulations, Teshani!!
  • Aug. 11, 2021: Rana gave a plenary talk at the SNS-CNMS joint user meeting. 
  • Aug. 3, 2021: Rana gave an invited talk at the 71st Annual Meeting of the American Crystallographic Association. 
  • Aug. 3, 2021: Rana's Soft Matter Emerging Investigator profile was featured on the Soft Matter Blog. Check it out here
  • July 12, 2021: Prof. Ashkar was awarded an EAGER grant from NSF-MCB to investigate the effect of topography on lateral lipid organization. 
  • July 8, 2021: Sudipta's and Rana's review on lipid membrane dynamics was published in the 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators Issue and was featured on the Journal Back Cover. Congratulations, Sudipta!  
  • June 1, 2021: Undergraduate student, Wally Borden, joined the lab to do hands-on experiments on lipid membranes with engineered additives. Welcome to the group, Wally! 
  • May 20, 2021: Prof. Ashkar and colleague, Prof. Sanket Deshmukh, are the recipients of a Jeffress Trust Award! They will be looking into molecular regulation of lipid rafts as a means to reverse pathology.
  • May 11, 2021: Undergraduate Julie Nguyen graduated from the Physics program at Virginia Tech and will be pursuing her passion in medicine. Congratulations, Julie! We will miss your presence in the lab. 
  • April 29, 2021: Hadi was inducted into the Sigma Pi Sigma Society! Congratulations, Hadi!!  
  • April 13, 2021: Teshani gave her first conference talk at the Biomembrane Structure, Mechanics & Dynamics Symposium of the ACS Spring Meeting. Well done, Teshani!
  • March 24, 2021: Hadi received an achievement award from the APS Division of Soft Matter Physics for his talk at the APS March Meeting on dynamical theory analysis of offspecular signals. Thanks to APS-DSOFT and congratulations to Hadi!
  • March 12, 2021: Rana gave an invited colloquium in the Department of Physics at the College of William and Mary. Thanks to Prof. Justin Stevens for the invite!
  • Feb. 8, 2021: Dr. Sudipta Gupta joined the lab as a senior research associate. Welcome to the group, Sudipta! 
  • Dec. 8, 2020: Rana was elected as a Member-at-Large to the Excutive Committee of the SNS/HFIR User Group! Her term starts in January 2021. 
  • Dec. 3, 2020: Rana was elected as a Member-at-Large to the Excutive Committee of the APS Division of Biological Physics! Her term starts in March 2021. 
  • Sept. 16, 2020: Rana was invited for a virtual seminar at the University of South Florida. Thanks to Prof. David Simmons and Prof. Ryan Toomey for the invite!
  • Sept. 4, 2020: We are in the news! Check the media coverage of our PNAS paper! You can read the story on VT NewsEurekAlert, Science Magazine, Science Daily, or Medical News
  • August 25, 2020: Our PNAS paper on the stiffening effect of cholesterol is now published and can be accessed using this link
  • August 3, 2020: Rana's paper with collaborators at NIST was accepted for publication in PNAS!! Check it out here
  • July 20, 2020: Our paper on the mesoscopic effects of cholesterol in unsaturated lipid membranes was accepted for publication in PNAS!!
  • July 15, 2020: Teshani did her first neutron reflectometry experiment "virtually" at SNS! Thanks to the reflectometry team for making this happen!
  • June 2, 2020: We got neutron beamtime on the liquid reflectometer at SNS to look into viral protein association with model pulmonary membranes! We are so excited about this opportunity!
  • May 5, 2020: Alison and Liam are now Physics graduates! Congratulations, Alison and Liam! We will miss you. 
  • May 1, 2020: Alison Gaylord and Julie Nguyen were inducted into the Sigma Pi Sigma Honor Society! Congratulations, Alison and Julie!
  • April 1, 2020: Julie recieved a fully funded summer internship from the VT Materials DA to do neutron scattering on lipid membranes at ORNL!! Congratulations, Julie!!
  • March 31, 2020: Rana's invited tutorial on quasielastic neutron scattering applications in polymer science was published in the Journal of Applied Physics and was selected as a Featured Article!!
  • March 6, 2020: Rana's paper with the Sheffield group was published in Applied Physics Letters!
  • Jan. 21, 2020: Alison Gaylord and Liam Weston joined the lab for their senior projects! Welcome, Alison and Liam!
  • Jan. 21, 2020: Hadi Rahmani joined our group as a graduate student! Welcome, Hadi! 
  • Jan. 10, 2020: Teshani and Chi did their first experiment at ORNL! Way to go, Teshani and Chi!
  • Dec. 3, 2019: Prof. Ashkar gave an invited talk at the MRS Fall Meeting in Boston. Talk Title: "Biomimetic Lipid Membranes: A neutron scattering and simulations perspective". 
  • Aug. 30, 2019: Teshani is the recipient of the College of Science Graduate opportunity fellowship. Congratulations, Teshani! 
  • Aug. 26, 2019: Chen Chi joined our group as a graduate student. Welcome Chen! 
  • Aug. 26, 2019: Teshani Omanthika joined our group as a graduate student. Welcome Teshani! 
  • July 12, 2019: Our paper titled: "The influence of Curvature on Domain Sorting in Binary Mixture Membranes" was accepted for publication in Soft Matter!
  • June 18, 2019: Prof. Ashkar gave a keynote at the 93rd ACS Colloids & Surface Science Symposium in Atlanta, Georgia!
  • June 10-14, 2019: Saptarshi participated in the 10th Neutron Scattering Applications in Structural Biology Workshop (HANDS 2019) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
  • June 7, 2019: Prof. Ashkar won a Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award from Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU)! 
  • June 3, 2019: Physics undergraduate, Vince Vasudevan, joined the Ashkar Lab. Welcome, Vince!
  • April 5, 2019: Julie Nguyen received the Daniel C. & Delia F. Grant Scholarship! Congratulations, Julie!
  •  April 3, 2019: Prof. Ashkar will be giving an invited  talk at the symposium on "Biomembrane Synthesis, Structure, Mechanics & Dynamics" at the 257th ACS National Meeting.
  • March 5, 2019: Prof. Ashkar gave a Talk at the Biophysical Society Meeting, Baltimore, MD. Talk Title: "Cholesterol affects the bending rigidity of DOPC membranes".
  • March 4, 2019: Prof. Ashkar gave an invited talk at the DPOLY Symposium at the APS March Meeting, Boston, MA. Talk Title: “Interfacial structure and dynamics in nanoparticle-polymer composites”.
  • March 3, 2019: Prof. Ashkar gave a Neutron Spin Echo tutorial at the DPOLY short course at the APS March Meeting, Boston, MA.
  • Feb. 15: Julie Nguyen was interviewed (Video) for a College of Science Video for winning her two poster awards!
  • January 30, 2019: Prof. Ashkar gave an invited talk at the Solvay Seminar Series at the Macromolecular Innovation Institute at VT. Talk Title: “It’s all about the interface: Neutron scattering insights into polymer nanocomposites”.
  • January 19, 2019: Damian Ream joined our lab as a graduate student. Welcome Damian!
  • January 19, 2019: Julie Nguyen attended APS Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP) for the first time at the College of William & Mary and won a Best Poster awards. Congratulations Julie!
  • January 10, 2019: Saptarshi Chakraborty joined our lab as a postdoc. Welcome Dr. Chakraborty! 
  • October 12, 2018: Prof. Ashkar gave a Keynote lecture at the WoPhys'18 confrence at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Talk Title: "Playing Hide-and-Seek with Neutrons". 
  • October 12, 2018: Julie Nguyen attended her first conference, WoPhyS '18, at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, and won a Best Poster awards. Congratualtions, Julie!
  • September 22, 2019: Prof. Ashkar gave an invited talk at the 6th VA Soft Matter Workshop, Virginia Tech on “Nanoscale Structure and Dynamics in Polymer Nanocomposites”.
  • June 27, 2018: Prof. Ashkar gave a talk at the 9th American Conference on Neutron Scattering, College Park, MD on “NSE Studies of the Effect of Cholesterol on DOPC Lipid Membranes”.
  • June 11, 2018: Prof. Ashkar gave an invited talk at the 9th Symposium on Neutron Scattering Applications in Structural Biology, Oak Ridge National Lab. Talk Title: “Topography and Fluctuations in Biomimetic Lipid Bilayers”.
  • May 16, 2018: Prof. Ashkar gave a talk at Virginia Tech's Symposium on Soft Matter and Biological Physics.
  • February 14, 2018: Prof. Ashkar gave an invited seminar at the Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics Department at VT. Talk Title: “Towards Tunable Fluctuations and Controlled Topography in Biomimetic Lipid Bilayers”.