Rama Bansil, PhD
Emeritus Professor
Boston University College of Arts and Sciences
Dept of Physics

PhD, University of Rochester
MSc, University of Delhi

Rama Bansil is Professor Emeritus of Physics at Boston University. She is the first female physics professor at Boston University, and has received accolades for her contributions to the field of physics, biopolymer engineering, polymer engineering, photonics, nanoscience, nanobiotechnology, biophysics and biochemistry. In total, she has received almost 3 million dollars of funding throughout her career.

Rama Bansil’s primary interest is in gels, which are found in numerous products of daily use, have fascinating visco-elastic properties, fundamentally different than solids or liquids. Bansil’s laboratory is devoted to interdisciplinary research ranging from Polymer Physics to Biophysics. Through a variety of experimental methods such as light scattering, small-angle X-ray and neutron scattering, and microscopy complemented by computer simulations of model gels, Bansil’s group has elucidated the structure of gels at the molecular level, the physics of gel formation, diffusion in gels and the kinetics of phase transitions and chemical reactions in gels. Current research projects include the phase behavior of multiblock copolymer gels and their application to develop templates for nanoscale devices. Many living tissues are in the form of gels, which has excited a great deal of interest as a substrate for tissue regeneration.
Bansil and her collaborators at Harvard Medical School have focused their attention on understanding the role that gelation of mucin (a glycoprotein found in the mucus layer) plays in preventing the stomach from being digested by the highly acidic gastric juice that it secretes. Their studies using dynamic light scattering and atomic force microscopy have contributed to a detailed mechanism of how mucin molecules gel under acidic conditions.

Boston University
Evans Center for Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research

Modeling gastric mucus layer physiology
08/01/2018 - 05/31/2022 (Subcontract PI)
University of Utah NIH NIGMS

RAPID: Identifying the role of mucus in COVID-19 pathogenesis
07/01/2020 - 06/30/2021 (Subcontract PI)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology National Science Fdn

Physics of Bacteria Living in Gels: Host Bacteria Interactions
09/01/2014 - 08/31/2018 (PI)
National Science Foundation

MRI: Acquisition of an Advanced Materials X-Ray Diffraction System
09/01/2013 - 08/31/2016 (Co-PI)
National Science Foundation

Physics of Motility of Bacteria Living in Mucus Gels
08/15/2011 - 08/31/2015 (PI)
National Science Foundation


Yr Title Project-Sub Proj Pubs

Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.

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  1. Constantino MA, Jabbarzadeh M, Fu HC, Shen Z, Fox JG, Haesebrouck F, Linden SK, Bansil R. Bipolar lophotrichous Helicobacter suis combine extended and wrapped flagella bundles to exhibit multiple modes of motility. Sci Rep. 2018 09 26; 8(1):14415. PMID: 30258065
  2. Su C, Padra M, Constantino MA, Sharba S, Thorell A, Lindén SK, Bansil R. Influence of the viscosity of healthy and diseased human mucins on the motility of Helicobacter pylori. Sci Rep. 2018 06 26; 8(1):9710. PMID: 29946149
  3. Bansil R, Turner BS. The biology of mucus: Composition, synthesis and organization. Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2018 01 15; 124:3-15. PMID: 28970050
  4. Constantino MA, Jabbarzadeh M, Fu HC, Bansil R. Helical and rod-shaped bacteria swim in helical trajectories with little additional propulsion from helical shape. Sci Adv. 2016 Nov; 2(11):e1601661. PMID: 28138539; DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1601661;
  5. Martínez LE, Hardcastle JM, Wang J, Pincus Z, Tsang J, Hoover TR, Bansil R, Salama NR. Helicobacter pylori strains vary cell shape and flagellum number to maintain robust motility in viscous environments. Mol Microbiol. 2016 Jan; 99(1):88-110. PMID: 26365708; PMCID: PMC4857613; DOI: 10.1111/mmi.13218;
  6. Bansil R, Celli JP, Hardcastle JM, Turner BS. The Influence of Mucus Microstructure and Rheology in Helicobacter pylori Infection. Front Immunol. 2013; 4:310. PMID: 24133493; DOI: 10.3389/fimmu.2013.00310;
  7. Barz B, Turner BS, Bansil R, Urbanc B. Folding of pig gastric mucin non-glycosylated domains: a discrete molecular dynamics study. J Biol Phys. 2012 Sep; 38(4):681-703. PMID: 24615227; PMCID: PMC3473135; DOI: 10.1007/s10867-012-9280-x;
  8. Li M, Liu Y, Bansil R. Kinetics of hexagonal cylinders to face-centered cubic spheres transition of triblock copolymer in selective solvent: Brownian dynamics simulation. J Chem Phys. 2010 Aug 28; 133(8):084905. PMID: 20815592; DOI: 10.1063/1.3473067;
  9. Celli JP, Turner BS, Afdhal NH, Keates S, Ghiran I, Kelly CP, Ewoldt RH, McKinley GH, So P, Erramilli S, Bansil R. Helicobacter pylori moves through mucus by reducing mucin viscoelasticity. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Aug 25; 106(34):14321-6. PMID: 19706518; PMCID: PMC2732822; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0903438106;
  10. Celli JP, Turner BS, Afdhal NH, Ewoldt RH, McKinley GH, Bansil R, Erramilli S. Rheology of gastric mucin exhibits a pH-dependent sol-gel transition. Biomacromolecules. 2007 May; 8(5):1580-6. PMID: 17402780
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This graph shows the total number of publications by year, by first, middle/unknown, or last author.

Bar chart showing 23 publications over 18 distinct years, with a maximum of 2 publications in 1999 and 2005 and 2006 and 2007 and 2018


In addition to these self-described keywords below, a list of MeSH based concepts is available here.

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590 Commonwealth Ave
Boston MA 02215
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