Faculty - Roman Stocker

Roman Stocker's photo

Roman Stocker

Visiting Associate Professor

Parsons Laboratory
Room 48-213
15 Vassar Street
Cambridge, MA, 02139

Telephone: 617.253.3726 Email: romans@mit.edu Research Website: http://romanstocker.mit.edu/ Assistant: Ruth Yiu / ryiu@mit.edu


  • B.S. Civil Engineering, University of Padova
  • M.S. Civil Engineering, University of Padova
  • Ph.D. University of Padova

Research Interests

My research focuses on the physical ecology of microorganisms and on microscale transport phenomena. With specific expertise in fluid mechanics, I use carefully controlled microfluidic experiments to understand how physical forces and chemical signals shape the behavior of microorganisms, particuarly in the ocean. My vision is that understanding microscale biophysical mechanisms is paramount to predicting ecosystem-level dynamics.

Teaching Interests

  • The physical ecology and fluid mechanics of microorganisms.
  • Life at low Reynolds numbers. Continuum dynamics and mathematical modeling.
  • Engineering Mechanics II: Fluid mechanics for Civil and Environmental Engineers.

Awards and Honors

1998 Paolo Sarpi gold medal for the best School of Engineering student, University of Padova
2005–2007 Winslow Career Development Chair
2007–2012 NSF CAREER grant (Biological Oceanography)
2007–2009 Doherty Professorship of Ocean Utilization
2010 ASLO Lindeman Award for outstanding paper in aquatic sciences under age 35
2011 Milton Van Dyke Award from Division of Fluid Dynamics, American Physical Society
2012 Maseeh Award for Teaching, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2013-2018 Marine Microbial Initiative Investigator Award, Moore Foundation

Selected Publications

  1. Stocker R., Seymour J.R., Samadani A., Hunt D.E. & Polz M.F., 2008, “Rapid chemotactic response enables marine bacteria to exploit ephemeral microscale nutrient patches”, PNAS, 105, 4209-4214.
  2. Durham W.M., Kessler J.O. & Stocker R., 2009, “Disruption of vertical motility by shear triggers formation of thin phytoplankton layers”, Science, 323, 1067-1070.
  3. Marcos, Fu H., Powers T.R. & Stocker R., 2009, “Separation of microscale chiral objects by flow”, Physical Review Letters, 102, 158103.
  4. Sutherland K.R., Madin L.P. & Stocker R., 2010, “Filtration of submicrometer particles by pelagic tunicates”, PNAS, 107, 15129-15134.
  5. Ardekani A.M. & Stocker R., 2010, “Stratlets: Low Reynolds number point-force solutions in a stratified fluid”, Physical Review Letters, 105, 084502.
  6. Kindler K., Khalili A. &Stocker R., 2010, “Diffusion-limited retention of porous particles at density interfac