David Schwab Assistant Professor

Prof. Schwab works in the area of biological physics, focusing on applications of statistical physics and nonlinear dynamics to problems in biology. Some of his current interests include how computations such as memory and attention are performed by networks of neurons, how cellular populations communicate and coordinate their behavior during development, how neural systems encode stimuli efficiently and implement error correction in the face of noise, and the role of spatial structure in evolution.

To approach these questions, Prof. Schwab employs a diverse set of analytical and computational tools including statistical mechanics, dynamical systems theory, machine learning, and information theory. Furthermore, he collaborates closely with experimental colleagues working on a variety of systems ranging from the social amoebae Dictyostelium discoideum to retinal ganglion cell processing of visual input. Among the products of these partnerships is the design of novel experiments and the creation of innovative data analysis methods.

Selected publications

  • Quantifying the role of population subdivision in evolution on rugged fitness landscapes
    AF Bitbol, DJ Schwab
    PLoS computational biology 10 (8), e1003778 (2014)
  • Zipf’s Law and Criticality in Multivariate Data without Fine-Tuning
    DJ Schwab, I Nemenman, P Mehta
    Phys. Rev. Lett. 113, 068102 (2014)
  • Constant Growth Rate Can Be Supported by Decreasing Energy Flux and Increasing Aerobic Glycolysis
    N Slavov, BA Budnik, D Schwab, EM Airoldi, A van Oudenaarden
    Cell reports 7 (3), 705-714 (2014)
  • Lag normalization in an electrically coupled neural network
    S Trenholm, DJ Schwab, V Balasubramanian, GB Awatramani
    Nature Neuroscience 16 (2), 154-156 (2013)
  • Dynamic Tuning of Electrical and Chemical Synaptic Transmission in a Network of Motion Coding Retinal Neurons
    S Trenholm, AJ McLaughlin, DJ Schwab, GB Awatramani
    The Journal of Neuroscience 33 (37), 14927-14938 (2013)
  • Energetic costs of cellular computation
    P Mehta, DJ Schwab
    PNAS 109 (44) 17978-17982 (2012)
  • Dynamical quorum-sensing in oscillators coupled through an external medium
    DJ Schwab, A Baetica, P Mehta
    Physica D: Nonlinear Phenomena 241 (21), 1782-1788 (2012)
  • Kuramoto model with coupling through an external medium
    DJ Schwab, GG Plunk, P Mehta
    Chaos 22, 043139 (2012)
  • Statistical mechanics of transcription-factor binding site discovery using Hidden Markov Models
    P Mehta, DJ Schwab, AM Sengupta
    Journal of Statistical Physics 142 (6), 1187-1205 (2011)
  • α-ketoglutarate coordinates carbon and nitrogen utilization via enzyme I inhibition
    CD Doucette, DJ Schwab, NS Wingreen, JD Rabinowitz
    Nature Chemical Biology 7, 894–901 (2011)
  • Rhythmogenic neuronal networks, emergent leaders, and k-cores
    DJ Schwab, RF Bruinsma, JL Feldman, AJ Levine
    Phys. Rev. E 82, 051911 (2010)
  • Statistical mechanics of integral membrane protein assembly
    K Wahba, D Schwab, R Bruinsma
    Biophysical Journal 99 (7), 2217-2224 (2010)
  • How many species have mass M?
    A Clauset, DJ Schwab, S Redner
    The American Naturalist 173 (2), 256-263 (2009)
  • Glassy states in fermionic systems with strong disorder and interactions
    DJ Schwab, S Chakravarty
    Physical Review B 79 (12), 125102 (2009)
  • Flory Theory of the Folding of Designed RNA Molecules†
    D Schwab, RF Bruinsma
    The Journal of Physical Chemistry B 113 (12), 3880-3893 (2009)
  • Nucleosome Switches
    DJ Schwab, RF Bruinsma, J Rudnick, J Widom
    Phys. Rev. Lett. 100, 228105 (2008)
  • Rounding by Disorder of First-Order Quantum Phase Transitions: Emergence of Quantum Critical Points
    P Goswami, D Schwab, and S Chakravarty
    Phys. Rev. Lett. 100, 015703 (2008)
  • Symmetric Extensions of Quantum States and Local Hidden Variable Theories
    BM Terhal, AC Doherty, D Schwab
    Phys. Rev. Lett. 90, 157903 (2003)