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Dr Isaac Chenchiah

Dr Isaac Chenchiah

Dr Isaac Chenchiah
B.Tech. (IIT Madras), M.S. (Caltech), Ph.D. (Caltech)

Senior Lecturer

Area of research

Mathematical problems in solid mechanics and materials science

Office Maths Building, Room 2.15
University Walk,
Clifton, Bristol BS8 1TW
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 928 7984


My work lies at the interface between mathematics and solid mechanics, mechanical / aerospace engineering and biology.

​Specific areas of interest in solid mechanics include microstructure formation and evolution, especially in multiphase solids and superalloys; damage; and polycrystals. Together with aerospace engineers I investigate multistable and morphing structures. Biological topics of interest include viral mechanics, plant mechanics and tissue growth.

Viral mechanics has also inspired my research with engineering collaborators on morphing structures. We have demonstrated a prototype that mimics the helical motor behaviour of Bacteriophage T4 (Pirrera et al., 2013) and are currently working to replicate the inversion observed in volvox embryos. We synthesise biological ideas, mathematical insights and computational innovations (Lamacchia et al, 2015).

Research in collaboration with biologists and geographers attempts to understand root-soil interaction and thereby reduce erosion (De Baets et al., 2017, under review). My work on tissue growth (Chenchiah et al., 2014) deploys methods used in lattice systems to deduce information about fibrous continua directly useful to modellers.

For more information see my research webpage.


  1. Senior Lecturer, School of MathematicsUniversity of Bristol (Since August 2013) 

  2. Lecturer in Applied Mathematics, School of MathematicsUniversity of Bristol (April 2006 - July 2013) 

  3. Postdoctoral Associate, Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences with Stefan Müller (January 2004 - March 2006) 

  4. Ph.D., California Institute of Technology (January 2004) 

    1. Ph.D. Thesis: Energy-minimizing microstructures in multiphase elastic solids

    2. Doctoral advisor: Kaushik Bhattacharya

  5. M.S., California Institute of Technology (June 1999) 

  6. B.Tech., Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (July 1998)


At Bristol I have taught 2nd-year calculus, 2nd/3rd-year mechanics, 3rd/4th-year applied analysis and post-graduate dynamical systems.


  • Microstructures
  • phase transitions
  • biological materials
  • molecular mechanics

Selected publications

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Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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