Faculty Directory
Petia Vlahovska

Professor of Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics (by courtesy) Mechanical Engineering


2145 Sheridan Road, Rm. M456
Evanston, IL 60208-3109

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Prof. Vlahovska's Research Website

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Center for Computation and Theory of Soft Materials


Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics


Theoretical and Applied Mechanics Graduate Program

Mechanical Engineering

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David Crighton Fellowship, Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, Cambridge University, UK

Ph.D. Chemical Engineering, Yale University, New Haven, CT

M.S. Chemistry, Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski", Bulgaria

Research Interests

Experimental and theoretical modeling of physical and biological systems. Current projects explore membrane biophysics (biomembrane electromechanics and stability, thermal undulations), non-equilibrium soft matter (emergent phenomena and self-organization in active matter, collective dynamics of motile colloids, rheology of emulsions), and fluid dynamics (interfacial instabilities, droplet electrohydrodynamics, Quincke rotor dynamics). Research in my group integrates theory and experiment. I direct the Complex Fluids and Soft Interfaces Lab, a testbed and a source of inspiration for our theories!

Significant Recognition

  • Fellow of the American Physical Society, 2019
  • Humboldt Research Fellowship, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany, 2016
  • Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award, NSF, 2009

Selected Publications

C. Sorgentone and P. M. Vlahovska “Tandem droplet locomotion in a uniform electric field,” J. Fluid. Mech. (Rapids) 951:R2 (2022)

H. Faizi, R. D. Dimova and P. M. Vlahovska “A vesicle microrheometer for high-throughput viscosity measurements of lipid and polymer membranes”, Biophysical J. 121: 910-918 (2022)

G. Kokot, H. Faizi, G. Pradillo, A. Snezhko, and P. M. Vlahovska “Spontaneous Self-propulsion and Nonequilibrium Shape Fluctuations of a Droplet Enclosing Active Particles”, Communications Physics 5: 91 (2022)

C. Sorgentone, J. Kach, A. Khair, L. Walker, P. M. Vlahovska, “Numerical and asymptotic analysis of the three-dimensional electrohydrodynamic interactions of drop pairs”, J. Fluid Mechanics, 914: A24 (2021)

H. Karani, G. Pradillo, P. M. Vlahovska “Tuning the Random Walk of Active Colloids: From Individual Run-and-Tumble to Dynamic Clustering”, Physical Review Letters, 123: 208002 (2019) (Editor’ suggestion, Featured in Physics

P. M. Vlahovska “Electrohydrodynamic of drops and vesicles” Annual Reviews of Fluid Mechanics 51: 305-330 (2019)  (2019) 

W. Kim, W. Zhu, G. L. Hendricks, D. Van Tyne, A. D. Steele, C. E. Keohane, N. Fricke, A. L. Conery, S. Shen, W. Pan, K. Lee, R. Rajamuthiah, B. B. Fuchs, P. M. Vlahovska, W. M. Wuerst, M. Gilmore, H. Gao, F. M. Ausubel, E. Mylonakis "A new class of synthetic retinoid antibiotics effective against bacterial persisters", Nature 556: 103-107 (2018) 

Q. Brosseau and P. M. Vlahovska, “Equatorial streaming of a drop in an electric field”, Physical Review Letters 119: 034501 (2017) see Saturn-shaped drops

K. Yeo, E. Lushi and P. M. Vlahovska “Collective dynamics in a binary mixture of hydrodynamically coupled microrotors”, Physical Review Letters 114: 188301 (2015)

X. Li, P.M. Vlahovska, G. Em Karniadakis “Continuum- and particle-based modeling of shapes and dynamics of red blood cell in health and disease “, Soft Matter, 9: 28 - 37 (2013)

P. M. Vlahovska, Y.-n.Young, G. Danker and C. Misbah, "Dynamics of a non-spherical microcapsule with incompressible interface in a shear flow" J. Fluid Mech. 678:221-247 (2011)

P. M. Vlahovska, T. Podgorski and C. Misbah "Vesicles and red blood cells: from individual dynamics to rheology” Comptes Rendus Physique 10:775–789 (2009)

P. M. Vlahovska, R. S. Gracia, S. Aranda and R. Dimova, “Electrohydrodynamic model of vesicle deformation in alternating electric fields “, Biophysical Journal, 96:4789-4803 (2009)

P. M. Vlahovska, J. Blawzdziewicz and M. Loewenberg "Small-deformation theory for a surfactant-covered drop in linear flows", J. Fluid Mech. 624:293-337 (2009) 

P.M.Vlahovska and R.S.Gracia "Dynamics of a viscous vesicle in linear flows", Physical Review E 75 016313 (2007)