Meet your course instructors!

Dr. Jennifer Curtis
2211C Instructor
Associate Professor, Physics
Molecular Science and Engineering Bldg (MoSE) Room G024
Curtis Lab Website

Email: jcurtis6 // at //


Dr. Jennifer Curtis is an Associate Professor in the School of Physics at Georgia Institute of Technology. She is thrilled to share her passion for biology and physics with a new cohort of Intro Physics for Living Systems students. She also wants you to know that if this is your first time taking physics, have no fear: she was in the same position when she first went to university.

Dr. Curtis received her B.A. in Physics at Columbia University in 1997, and her PhD in Physics at the University of Chicago in 2002. There her research focused on soft matter physics and optical manipulation (think microscopic tractor beams!). She helped pioneer the development of holographic optical tweezers, a powerful method to generate dynamic optical traps and optical vortices in three dimensions. During her postdoctoral research at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, Dr. Curtis began to study biological physics. During that time she was an Alexander Humboldt Fellow and eventually an independent group leader before she became a faculty member in Physics at Georgia Tech in 2007. In 2010 she received an NSF CAREER Award and in 2014 she became an Editorial Board Member of the Biophysical Journal. Her active research interests fall in the area of Physics of Living Systems / Biological Physics, and include cell adhesion and motility, phagocytosis, biofilms, and the role of the gigantic polysaccharide, hyaluronan, in mediating cell and cell-matrix interactions in homeostasis and disease. In her free time, Dr. Curtis enjoys the company of friends, running, reading, yoga, learning the ukulele or other fun things to do with her hands, and spending time with her husband and two children.


Dr. JC Gumbart
2212C Instructor (and sometimes teaches 2211C in Fall 2017)
Assistant Professor, Physics
Howey W202
(404) 385-0797
gumbart // at //

Dr. Gumbart hails from west-central Illinois, having received his BS in Physics and Mathematics from his hometown school Western Illinois University in 2003. He then went on to do a PhD in Physics at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign under the guidance of Klaus Schulten in the field of “computational molecular biophysics” (a good way to end a conversation!), completing it in 2009. After a brief postdoc at UIUC, he went on to a Director’s Postdoctoral Fellowship at Argonne National Lab in the suburbs of Chicago for two years, working with mentor Benoit Roux at the University of Chicago. After 30 years in Illinois, he decided to move to Atlanta Georgia to become an assistant professor in the Physics department at Georgia Tech. He now continues his work in “computational molecular biophysics”, which he would be happy to show you sometime (it mainly involves staring intensely at a computer screen for 12 hours a day). His lab’s focus is on the cell envelope of Gram-negative bacteria, although many other problems in the biology of proteins and membranes interests him.

Dr. Nicholas Darnton

2211/2212 Lab Coordinator
Academic Professional, Physics
Boggs B87 and CULC 385B
ndarnton // at //





Curtis Balusek

IPLS Teaching Assistant
Graduate Student, Physics
Howey W205
cbalusek3 // at //

Curtis Balusek is currently starting his 6th year at Tech using molecular dynamics to study metallic compound transport across the cell envelope of Gram-negative bacteria. He originally completed his Bachelor of Science (2012) in Mathematics and Physics at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville TX. The science communication aspect of teaching has directed him to pursue a career in either Science Policy or Consulting. On a different note, he is also a member of the Yellow Jacket Archery Club as a coach, judge, and archer. Archery is his passion and eventually he plans on using his physics background to revolutionize the sport.


Hemaa Selvakumar
IPLS Teaching Assistant
Graduate Student, Physics

hselvakumar3 // at //