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Faculty Profile

Margaret S. CheungMargaret S. Cheung

Moores Professor of Physics, of Chemistry, and of Computer Science
Department of Physics

Office: Science & Research 1, 629B
Contact: mscheung@uh.edu - (713) 743-8358

Education: Ph.D., University of California, San Diego, B.S., National Taiwan University

Google Scholar Profile

Dr. Margaret Cheung’s research focuses on the field of theoretical biological physics. She is interested in understanding the physical principles of macromolecules whose behavior inside a cell amounts to specific functions at a subcellular level.

Macromolecules and cytosolic scaffolds crowd the interior of a cell. Their intriguing interactions form robust networks of smart matter that is capable of making collective decisions for cellular survival. It is Cheung’s long-term research goal to understand how the fidelity of information, built from macromolecules, travels across the noisy environment in a cell. The challenge of understanding them lies in the complexity of the systems where the experimental data available for quantitative modeling is scarce.

Her group has been developing multiphysics models of proteins for computer simulations in cell-like environments. It is the Cheung lab’s aim to understand the outcome of several competing factors that impact the dynamics of proteins based on a statistical mechanical framework.

The potential outcome of the research will provide a molecular insight into intervention of cellular malfunction that leads to cancer or other diseases. Through research, the members from Cheung’s group will be trained as computational physicists who develop computational algorithms and computing strategies for heterogeneous high-performance computing in order to advance the efficiency of computer programs. One of her research projects involves computational design of organic photovoltaic materials for better quantum efficiency under ambient conditions. Cheung also participates in collaborative research projects that require a multidisciplinary approach as a senior scientist at the Center for Theoretical Biological Physics at Rice University.

Honors and Awards:

Moores Professorship, 2018
University of Houston Award for Excellence in Research and Scholarship (Associate Professor), 2016
Fellow, American Physical Society, 2013
University of Houston Award for Excellence in Research and Scholarship (Assistant Professor), 2012
Robert S. Hyer Research Award, 2010

Organizations, Outreach, Boards, Memberships:


Biophysical Society
American Physical Society
American Chemical Society


Outreach Director, Center for Theoretical Biological Physics


Associate Editor, Reviews of Modern Physics
Editorial Board Member, Biophysical Journal