Julien Tailleur

Associate Professor of Physics
Works on non-equilibrium systems, active matter and their biophysical applications.
(617) 253-6801
Office: 6C-419
Lab(s): Personal site
Affiliated Center(s): MIT Biophysics

Research Interests

The research of Professor Julien Tailleur focuses on the emerging properties of active materials, which encompass systems made of large assemblies of units able to exert propelling forces on their environment. From molecular motors to cells and animal groups, active systems are found at all scales in nature. Over the past two decades, chemists and physicists have been able to engineer synthetic active systems by motorizing microscopic inert particles, hence paving the way towards new classes of smart materials.

Tailleur develops new theoretical methods in non-equilibrium statistical mechanics to predict the emerging behaviors of active systems starting from their microscopic descriptions. In particular, Tailleur and co-workers have discovered how condensed active matter may emerge in the absence of attractive interactions through a mechanism called motility-induced phase separation. Tailleur has also made important contributions to the understanding of the mechanical properties of active systems and of their ability to undergo collective motion.

The current focus of Tailleur’s research combines the development of generic theoretical frameworks to describe active systems with their applications to the study of (micro)biological systems.

Biographical Sketch

Julien Tailleur completed his undergraduate studies in mathematics at Université Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC) and in physics at Université d’Orsay, in the Paris area, France. He earned his PhD in physics in 2007 from UPMC where he worked under he supervision of Jorge Kurchan. Tailleur then became a postdoc at the University of Edinburgh where he obtained an EPSRC postdoctoral fellowship and worked with Michael Cates and Martin Evans. Tailleur joined French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and Université Paris Diderot in 2011, then becoming a CNRS Director of Research in 2018. Tailleur joined the MIT Physics Department as an associate professor in July 2022.

Awards & Honors

  • 2017 // Journal of Physics A Emerging Talent
  • 2010 // EPSRC Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • 2009 // Journal of Physics A Best Paper Prize
  • 2007 // JSTAT prize for young scientists

Key Publications

  • A. I. Curatolo, N. Zhou, Y. Zhao, C. Liu, A. Daerr, J. Tailleur, J.-D.
    Huang, “Cooperative pattern formation in multi-species bacterial
    colonies”, Nature Physics <https://rdcu.be/b6qCD> 16, 1152-1157 (2020)
  • A. P. Solon, Y. Fily, A. Baskaran, M. E. Cates, Y. Kafri, M. Kardar, J.
    Tailleur, “Pressure is not a state function for generic active fluids”,
    Nature Physics 11, 673-678 (2015)
  • J. Tailleur, M.E. Cates, ” Statistical Mechanics of Interacting
    Run-and-Tumble Bacteria”, Physical Review Letters 100, 218103 (2008)