Professor Angel García has been named the new head of the Department of Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. García is currently Senior Constellation Chaired Professor in the Biocomputation and Bioinformatics Constellation, and a professor of physics at Rensselaer. His new role will be in addition to his work as a leader in the constellation.
“Dr. García is a distinguished scientist and a leader in physical research at Rensselaer as one of our senior constellation professors, and now as head of the department,” said Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson. “His new role will be exceptionally important as we continue to build on the rich history of the department toward new levels of distinction.”
García joined Rensselaer in 2005 from the Los Alamos National Laboratory. He worked at Los Alamos for 16 years and rose to become group leader in the Theoretical Biology and Biophysics Group Theoretical Division at the lab.
“Dr. García is a strong contributor to science at Rensselaer,” said Dean of the School of Science Laurie Leshin. “I am extremely pleased that he has agreed to serve as department head at this critical and exciting time for science throughout the world and right here at Rensselaer.”
García’s research seeks to develop new computing tools to analyze complex biological data, make predictions to guide experimental work, and offer powerful new methods to predict molecular structure and understand the complex behavior of living organisms. His main research objectives are to understand the folding, dynamics, and stability of biomolecules including protein, RNA, and antimicrobial peptides.
García received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Puerto Rico, and a doctorate in theoretical physics from Cornell University. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of the Biophysical Society, the Protein Society, the AAAS, and the American Chemical Society. He received the Edward Bouchard prize of the American Physical Society in 2006. García is an associate editor of Proteins, Structure, Function and Bioinformatics, a member of the editorial board of Molecular Simulations, and a member of the Faculty of 1000 for BioMed Central.
The Department of Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy is comprised of about 40 researchers and teachers and more than 250 full-time graduate and undergraduate students. The department includes research and instruction in astrophysics, biophysics, condensed matter physics, optics, nuclear and particle physics, and physics education.