Garrek Stemo


Garrek Stemo


What I do

Hello! I'm a researcher in computational biophysics at the University of Colorado at Boulder. I write analysis software and run simulations of active nematic liquid crystals on the Summit super computing cluster. Here's my group's website for fun details. I will be graduating this year with a bachelor's degree (my second!) in Physics.

Now that I have completed my coursework in Boulder, I have moved back to Osaka, Japan, where my wife works full time. While I was in Colorado, I made some connections back in Japan and that led to an internship at the Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST).

Before going to CU I had lived and worked full time in Japan for about four years. I had studied Japanese language for a long time before then, and Asian studies was a big part of my previous undergraduate degree; my thesis was on minorities in Japan.


Why physics?

I'm a big fan of throwing oneself into unfamiliar circumstances and learning how to thrive. That is what was appealing about moving to Japan; I wanted to see how quickly I could learn the language and jive with the culture. (My wife can be the judge of my success. Also check out the Japanese version of this site that I made.) I had always loved reading about physics in popular magazines and books, but never thought I could handle the heavy math required to master the subject. I figured that since I had learned how to live in a foreign country, I could learn physics. I took online math and physics courses while working full time and then applied and was accepted to CU Boulder. I have since finished an honor's thesis in computational biophysics, completed a graduate-level course in gravitational theory (received an A), obtained magna cum laude, and joined the national honors society, Phi Beta Kappa. I also picked up some programming skills in my biophysics research group. Needless to say, my middle school self would be stoked to know that I didn't quit on doing physics!


What's Next?

Now that I'm back in Japan, I am researching graduate schools here, particularly ones near Osaka. I'm reviewing my notes and textbooks from undergrad to keep my physics skills sharp and visiting universities and professors in the area with the goal of entering a program next year.


Recent Work

Biophysics Research Group, Boulder, Research Assistant

December 2015 - Present

I test parameter spaces of bulk microtubule-motor protein simulations and submit jobs using slurm to the Summit supercomputer. I write analysis code in Python and use Git for version control. The simulation software is written in C and C++, which I use to understand the underlying physics of the non-equilibrium nematic liquid crystals that we simulate. Here's an abstract for the APS March Meeting poster presentation I did recently.


True 2 Materials at the Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Ikoma, Summer Research Assistant

Summer 2017

I was a summer intern for the graphene and molecular powder company True 2 Materials, with labs based at NAIST. There I analyzed samples using Raman spectroscopy, a scanning electron microscope, a scanning tunneling electron microscope, and a transmission electron microscope. I was trained on all of this equipment then and communicated with other researchers in my second language: Japanese. 

I also built a parallel computing cluster using four Parallella computers and a Raspberry Pi as part of a side project.


Programming Skills & Tools

Scientific Equipment Skill


(Units are wishy washy in these charts)



Shoe-shining (yes, really)
Interior Design
Physical Books (and reading them)
Trail Running



University of Colorado at Boulder

B.A. Physics, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa
Expected Graduation August 2018


Michigan State University

B.A. Global & Area Studies
Graduated December 2010


magna cum laude
Phi Beta Kappa
Undergraduate Research Opportunities Grant


garrek.stemo (at)

Osaka, Japan