Ryan McGorty, PhD

Ryan McGorty
Phone: (619) 260-8866
Office: Shiley Ctr for Science & Techn 278

Assistant Professor

  • McGorty received his B.S. in Physics and Journalism from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (2005). He completed his Ph.D. in Physics from Harvard University (2011). He was a post-doctoral scholar at the University of California, San Francisco.

Ryan McGorty comes to USD in the fall of 2015. Previously, he worked at the University of California, San Francisco as a post-doctoral researcher. There, he worked on new developments in super-resolution and light-sheet microscopy. His doctoral work focused on soft matter physics and the use of digital holographic microscopy. At USD, McGorty will continue to use and develop optical tools to probe soft materials, living or dead. He strongly encourages undergraduates at any level with an interest in doing hands-on research in soft materials, biophysics, instrumentation or optics to work with him.

Scholarly Work

As both an undergraduate and graduate student, McGorty studied soft condensed matter – aka “squishy physics.” Soft or squishy materials include many daily encountered substances: hair gel, shaving foam, toothpaste, yogurt and frosting. Soft materials do not just surround us – most living things are soft or gooey. The complexity of these materials (they are not readily classifiable as solid or liquid or gas) and their ubiquity make them fascinating to and worthy of study. During his PhD, McGorty focused primarily on one subset of soft matter: colloidal suspensions. To better understand such systems, he used digital holographic microscopy. Wanting more of the fun and challenge in building and using new optical instruments, McGorty then worked on both super-resolution and light-sheet microscopy to study aspects of biological systems from the subcellular to the whole organism. His lab at USD will continue to develop new optical instruments.


Areas of Interest

McGorty has taught courses in physics, astronomy and biology as a graduate student and post-doctoral researcher. He is excited to help students understand the concepts and methods of science in both the classroom and lab. He strives for creating an inclusive environment for active and cooperative learning.