Principal Investigator

Dr. Peter Yunker – Associate Professor, School of Physics

Office Phone: (404) 385-8642
Office: Cherry Emerson 333

Dr. Yunker joined Georgia Tech’s School of Physics in 2014 after finishing his biophysics postdoc at Harvard University & New England Biolabs in 2014. Before that, he earned his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Pennsylvania in 2012 after earning a B.S. in Physics from Texas A&M University in 2005. He has won the Burstein Prize and the Denenstein Award both from UPenn along with the Eric R. Immel Memorial award for Excellence in Teaching at GT.
Peter’s interests are biophysics, soft matter, and golden retrievers.
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Current Postdoc

Miles Wetherington

2023 – Present

Miles recently completed his James S. McDonnell Postdoctoral Fellowship at Cornell University where he was studying the impact of patchiness on single-cell foraging behavior of bacteria. Prior to this, he earned his PhD from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile connecting competition-colonization dynamics of bacterial metacommunities in microfabricated habitat landscapes to a theoretical framework of ecological succession. In general, Miles aims to focus his research toward this fundamental question in microbial ecology: what role does space play in shaping processes at different scales of ecological phenomena? In his free time he enjoys learning foreign languages and studying history so as to properly analyze our present moment and to contribute to a brighter future.

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Current PhD Students

Pablo Bravo – Quantitative Biosciences


Pablo is originally from Chile. He completed his undergraduate in physics at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. In the Yunker Lab, he is examining the surface-air interface of biofilms and what it can describe about their history and composition. He is mostly interested in bulk microbial community dynamics. In his free time, Pablo enjoys grabbing a coffee and reading at a local coffee shop in Midtown, Atlanta or making a mean Barbeque.

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Aawaz Pokhrel – Physics


Aawaz is originally from a small town in Nepal named Pokhara. He completed his undergraduate at Gettysburg College where he did his research thesis on the role of gradient sensing in collective behavior in fish. In the Yunker lab, he focuses on shape and geometry of biofilms. Currently, he is working on exploring the role of surface forces on the expansion of biofilms. He is also interested in how different growth rate of cells lead to different packing configurations in biofilms. In his free time, Aawaz enjoys reading existential philosophy (mostly Dostoevsky), playing guitar, cooking Thai food, and exploring hiking trails around Atlanta.

Adam Krueger – Physics


Adam is originally from Wisconsin, but he completed his undergraduate degree in physics at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, MI. In the Yunker Lab, he is studying microbial heteroresistance and how it can be better detected and understood. He is also interested in physics in medicine. In his free time, Adam enjoys golfing, cheering on his favorite sports teams (Go Pack Go), and playing in the snow. He also enjoys eating and trying new foods even though he can’t handle spice.


Emma Bingham – Quantitative Biosciences


Emma grew up in the temperate beaches around Wilmington, North Carolina, before moving to frigid Boston for college at MIT where she studied physics and political science. She is co-advised in the Yunker and Ratcliff Labs, studying the physics of evolution of multicellular life. She enjoys healthful walks in the park and reading, especially about sociology and politics.

Raymond Copeland – Quantitative Biosciences


Raymond is from Atlanta and received his undergraduate degree in physics from Georgia Tech. While an undergrad, he worked in the Yunker Lab and has decided to stay for his PhD. He simulates bacterial communities studying antagonistic microbial interactions such as mutual killing. Outside of the lab, Ray enjoys playing chess.

Maryam Hejri – Quantitative Biosciences


Maryam is from Iran and got her undergraduate degree in physics from Amirkabir University of Technology in Tehran, Iran. In the Yunker Lab, she is studying bacterial communities and dynamics.

Current Undergraduate Students

Rehaan Naik – Physics
Antonina Melnikova – Physics
Erin Horbacz – Physics
AQ – Physics

Lab Alumni

Recent Graduations

NameYears in Yunker LabThesis/Dissertation TitleNew Location
Dr. Thomas Day2017-2023Biophysical Constraints of Multicellularity: Building a Darwinian MaterialPostdoc, Schwartzman Group, USC
Lin Zhao2021-2023Deep Learning Enhanced Biofilm Topography Through Convolutional Neural NetworkPhD Student, UMD College Park


NameYears in Yunker LabNew TitleLocation
Dr. Gabi Steinbach2018-2022Scientific Project Coordinator and Data Communications SpecialistWeitz Group, UMD College Park
Dr. Skanda Vivek2017-2019Professor of PhysicsGeorgia Gwinnett College

Graduate Students

NameProgramYunker LabNext TitleLocation
Dr. Alireza Samani DahajQBios2017-2021Senior Computational BiologisthC Bioscience
Dr. David YanniPhysics2015-2019Software EngineerMail Chimp
Dr. Jonathan MichelPhysics2015-2019Postdoctoral FellowRIT
Dr. Arben KalziqiPhysics2015-2019Software EngineerWolfram Research
Dr. Shane JacobeenPhysics2014-2018ConsultantErnst & Young

Undergraduate Students (with graduation year)

  • Julianne Tijani, 2023
  • MacKenzie Gignilliat, 2023
  • Laura Yang, 2017
  • Tanay Tak, 2017
  • Matt Repasky, 2017
  • Nathaniel Moore, 2017
  • Elyes Graba, 2017
  • Alex Bukharin, 2017
  • Colin Brandys, 2017
  • Samuel Finley-Price, 2016
  • Brent Limyansky, 2016

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