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Michael Rubinstein


Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

The research of the Rubinstein group is in the field of polymer theory and computer simulations. The unique properties of polymeric systems are due to the size, topology and interactions of the molecules they are made of. Our goal is to understand the properties of various polymeric systems and to design new systems with even more interesting and useful properties.

Our approach is based upon building and solving simple molecular models of different polymeric systems. The models we develop are simple enough to be solved either analytically or numerically, but contain the main features leading to unique properties of real polymers. Computer simulations of our models serve as an important bridge between analytical calculations and experiments.

Appointments and Affiliations

  • Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
  • Professor of Biomedical Engineering
  • Professor of Chemistry
  • Professor of Physics

Contact Information

  • Office Location: 3377 Fciemas Building, Box 90300, Durham, NC 27708
  • Office Phone: (919) 660-5365
  • Email Address:
  • Websites:


  • Ph.D. Harvard University , 1983

Research Interests

Polymer theory and computer simulations

Courses Taught

  • BME 590: Special Topics in Biomedical Engineering
  • CHEM 393: Research Independent Study
  • CHEM 394: Research Independent Study
  • ME 555: Advanced Topics in Mechanical Engineering
  • PHYSICS 493: Research Independent Study
  • PHYSICS 590: Selected Topics in Theoretical Physics

In the News

Representative Publications

  • Button, B; Goodell, HP; Atieh, E; Chen, Y-C; Williams, R; Shenoy, S; Lackey, E; Shenkute, NT; Cai, L-H; Dennis, RG; Boucher, RC; Rubinstein, M, Roles of mucus adhesion and cohesion in cough clearance., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol 115 no. 49 (2018), pp. 12501-12506 [10.1073/pnas.1811787115] [abs].
  • Rubinstein, M; Liao, Q; Panyukov, S, Structure of Liquid Coacervates formed by Oppositely Charged Polyelectrolytes., Macromolecules, vol 51 no. 23 (2018), pp. 9572-9588 [10.1021/acs.macromol.8b02059] [abs].
  • Ge, T; Grest, GS; Rubinstein, M, Nanorheology of Entangled Polymer Melts., Physical Review Letters, vol 120 no. 5 (2018) [10.1103/PhysRevLett.120.057801] [abs].
  • Zhou, J; Wang, Y; Menard, LD; Panyukov, S; Rubinstein, M; Ramsey, JM, Enhanced nanochannel translocation and localization of genomic DNA molecules using three-dimensional nanofunnels, Nature Communications, vol 8 no. 1 (2017) [10.1038/s41467-017-00951-4] [abs].
  • Peters, BL; Pike, DQ; Rubinstein, M; Grest, GS, Polymers at Liquid/Vapor Interface, Acs Macro Letters, vol 6 no. 11 (2017), pp. 1191-1195 [10.1021/acsmacrolett.7b00466] [abs].