The ICTP: where the world meets
We work at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP, Trieste, Italy), within the Quantitative Life Sciences section. ICTP’s mission is to develop excellent science worldwide, with special focus on research and education with scientists from developing countries.
Our main research interests are stochastic thermodynamics, biophysics and active matter.
We investigate the thermodynamic properties of processes that take place in the microscopic world, where the dynamics is strongly affected by thermal fluctuations. Our work on non-equilibrium thermodynamics provides novel insights on the fluctuations of biological processes that occur at mesoscopic scales, such as RNA transcription, sound transduction, and energy transduction by living matter. We have participated in the construction of colloidal heat engines and information engines using optical tweezers.
Key research interests:
- Stochastic thermodynamics with Martingales: We investigate universal properties of stochastic heat, work and entropy production for systems described by few non-equilibrium degrees of freedom. We employ martingale theory, widely used in finance and mathematics, to describe the fluctuating nature of thermodynamic fluxes at the mesoscale (Tutorial Review).
- Biophysics: We are interested in understanding the fluctuations of small biological systems such as:
(1) the motion of RNA polymerases during transcriptional pauses;
(2) drug resistance development in noisy environments;
(3) energy extraction from bacterial baths.
- Active matter: Using tools from stochastic thermodynamics, we investigate non-equilibrium signatures of life in spontaneous oscillations of hair cells in the ear of the bullfrog.
- Stochastic processes: We develop theory describing stopping-time (e.g. first-passage time) and extreme-value statistics of correlated stochastic processes.
- Experimental construction of heat engines with Optical Tweezers : We study the energetic fluxes of colloidal heat engines and use our theory to inspire novel designs of artificial nanomachines ( comprehensive review )
We work in collaboration with researchers from different continents, including those in developing countries: SISSA (Trieste, Italy), Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems (MPI-PKS, Dresden, Germany), the PICO-group (Aalto University, Finland); Biotechnology Center (BIOTEC, Dresden, Germany); Vodafone Chair of Mobile Communication Systems (Dresden, Germany); Okinawa Institute for Science and Technology (OIST, Okinawa, Japan); Institut Curie (Paris, France), Universite de Nice (Nice, France); Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda University (Kolkata, India); Universidad Complutense (Madrid, Spain).
We welcome applications of outstanding, independent and highly-motivated Msc/PhD students and postdoctoral researchers with their own funding sources. We strongly support applications from women researchers. For inquiries about research opportunities please contact me: edgar(at)ictp(dot)it
Key recent publications:
É. Roldán, I. Neri, R. Chetrite, S. Gupta, S. Pigolotti, F. Julicher, K. Sekimoto arXiv:2210.09983v3 (2022) — 300pp Tutorial Review invited contribution to Adv. Phys.
G Manzano, D Subero, O Maillet, R Fazio, JP Pekola, É Roldán, Physical Review Letters 126 (8), 080603 (2022)
É Roldán, J Barral, P Martin, JMR Parrondo, F Jülicher, New Journal of Physics 23, 083013 (2021)
- S. Pigolotti, I. Neri, É. Roldán and F. Jülicher, Physical Review Letters 119 (14), 140604 (2017)
- I. Neri, É. Roldán, and F. Jülicher, Physical Review X 7 , 011019 (2017)
- I. A. Martínez, É. Roldán, L. Dinis, and R. A. Rica. Soft Matter 13 (1), 22-36 (2017)