Our research is motivated by various geophysical, engineering, and biological problems featuring fluid flow. Past projects have focused on modeling the dynamics of synthetic microswimmers propelled by chemical fuel (video), the flow of lava on volcanoes, and the peristaltic pumping of fluids through flexible tubes.

Our approach generally incorporates hands-on experiments. They often lead to unexpected observations and inspire the development of new models. The model predictions are tested by comparing with quantitative measurements in the laboratory.

An area of current interest is the autonomous movement of mobile robots and various living species, such as bacteria, copepods, and snails. Hawaii is home to unique marine and terrestrial ecosystems which make this a fruitful place to study their behavior.