Nicolas Clauvelin

Researcher & Scientist

Prof. W. K. Olson's group

about me


About me

For any question related to Sendyne Corp., please visit the company website or contact me nclauvelin_AT_SND.

I am currently the Principal Scientist for Modeling & Simulation at Sendyne Corp. My work at Sendyne is focusing on physics-based models for energy storage devices, digitally assisted analog systems, and the development of novel simulation tools for model-based control applications such as real time differential solvers.

I was a Research Associate in the group of Prof. Wilma K. Olson until April 2015. I am still involved in academic research related to the mechanical and physical properties of biopolymers. In particular, I focus on theoretical and numerical studies of DNA and DNA-protein complexes. You can find more about my research here.

You can find my detailed resume here and the details of my PhD are below.


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PhD Thesis

I completed my PhD studies at the Institut d'Alembert under the supervision of Basile Audoly and Sébastien Neukirch (Université Paris VI). My PhD work focused on self-contact in elastic rods and more precisely with the mechanics of DNA supercoiling and the elasticity of knotted rods.

Contact au sein des structures élancées: sur-enroulement de l'ADN et noeuds élastiques
Self-contact in elastic rods: DNA supercoiling and elastic knots
[ pdf ]

Thèse de doctorat de l' Université Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC University Paris 06), defended on December 19th 2008 and awarded summa cum laude.

Thesis committee:

  • Stéphane Roux, chairperson (ENS Cachan),
  • Gert van der Heijden, reviewer (UC London),
  • John Marko, reviewer (Northwestern University),
  • Martine Ben Amar, examiner (ENS Paris),
  • Lev Truskinovsky, examiner (Ecole Polytechnique),
  • Jean-Jacques Marigo, thesis advisor,
  • Basile Audoly, co-advisor,
  • Sébastien Neukirch, co-advisor.

Thesis abstract:
This thesis concerns the mechanics of elastic rods in case of configurations with self-contacts. In this context we present two different studies: the first one presents a mechanical model for DNA supercoiling in single molecule experiments and the second study deals with the elasticity of knotted rods. The first part of the thesis presents the elastic rod theory based on the Kirchhoff equations, which addresses the mechanical equilibrium of elastic rods considered as one dimensional bodies. These equations are completed with constitutive relations for an isotropic and inextensible rod in the case of a hookean material. Single molecule experiments allow to exert mechanical stresses onto DNA molecules and we focus on extension-rotation measurements. In such experiments the DNA molecule supercoils and forms plectonemes. We present an analytical model based on a variational formulation which takes into account DNA-DNA interactions and thermal fluctuations. Our model allows to calculate the mechanical response of the DNA molecule and also to predict the main experimental results. We compare our predictions with experimental data and find a good agreement. The last part presents an analytical model which addresses the mechanical response of a knotted rod when subjected to both a tensile force and a torsional moment. Our model uses a matched asymptotic expansions method and takes into account the impenetrability constraint. We then provide a general method for building a solution of the Kirchhoff equations in the case of a knotted rod. Our main result is the prediction of the contact set without formulating hypothesis on its structure. We also predict an instability related to the applied torsional moment.

Copyright © 2016 Nicolas Clauvelin