Dr. Jos Zwanikken

Research Theme(s)Theoretical and computational aspects of Single-molecule biophysics, Synthetic biology and Cell biology

Research InterestsDissipative structures in ensembles of self-propelled particles, the emergence of timescales and periodic events in reaction networks, coupling between Min protein oscillations and the geometry of the cell boundary, persistent random walks and the mechanics of polymers, and more.


Jos Zwanikken obtained his masters degree at the Universiteit Utrecht in theoretical physics, and obtained his PhD thanks to the mentorship of René van Roij, and the collaborations with the groups at the Debye Institute for Nanomaterials Science and the department for colloid chemistry. After a postdoctoral position at Northwestern University with Monica Olvera de la Cruz, he received a research faculty position in her group, in the department of Materials Science and Engineering in 2011, before accepting a tenure track at the University of Massachusetts Lowell in 2015, in the department of Physics and Applied Physics. At UMass Lowell, many courses were taught and developed, leading to a Teaching Excellence Award in 2017. In February 2021 he started a Van Rijn position at the TU Delft with a focus on education, and theoretical research in the department of Nanobiology, within the Faculty of Applied Sciences. His research is theoretical and computational, and has been applied to colloidal suspensions, oil-water interfaces, the effects of electrolytes on a great variety of systems and phenomena, phase behavior of charged polymers, the self-assembly of self-propelled particles, the evolution of reaction networks, and more.   



I will be teaching Statistical Physics (BN) in the spring, and Physics 1A coming fall.

Current Projects

(See research interests)

Highlight Publications

1. Controlling the structure and mixing properties of anisotropic active particles with the direction of self-propulsion

Robert W. Martin and Jos W. Zwanikken, Soft matter, 15(39), (2019), pp.7757-7764.


2. Before the breach: Interactions between colloidal particles and liquid interfaces at nanoscale separations

Anna Wang, Jos Zwanikken, David Kaz, Ryan McGorty, Aaron Goldfain, W. Benjamin Rogers, and Vinothan Manoharan,." Physical Review E 100, no. 4 (2019): 042605.


3. Steering colloidal particles over millimeter distances with soluto-inertial beacons.

Jos W. Zwanikken, Commentary, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, (2016) 113(31), pp.8565-8567.


4. Electrostatic Control of Block Copolymer Morphology

Charles E. Sing, Jos W. Zwanikken, and Monica Olvera de la Cruz, Nat. Mater. 13, 694–698 (2014)


5. Tunable soft structure in charged fluids confined by dielectric interfaces

J. W. Zwanikken and M. Olvera de la Cruz, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 110 (14) (2013), 5301–5308


Assistant Professor

Jos Zwanikken

Management Assistant

Romy de Man