Professor Jason Crain, originally from New York City, received his undergraduate
degree in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (where he was an MIT-Japan program intern) and PhD from the University of Edinburgh. He was on the faculty of the University of Edinburgh for 25 years where he held the Chair of Applied Physics. He held senior management and executive positions (Head of Physical Sciences and Executive Director of Research) at the UK's National Physical Laboratory since 2007. In these roles he was responsible for the National Laboratory's research strategy, science quality and pipeline from research to commercial services and standards. He was a member of the Heads of Science and Profession (HoSEP) Board chaired by the UK's Chief Science Advisor. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and Senior Visiting Fellow and Laboratory Council Member of the National Nuclear Laboratory. He has collaborated with IBM Research since 2003.
His technical background is in the physics and properties of matter at the molecular scale with a view to applications. He has made major contributions to understanding the structure of liquids using combinations of powerful experimental and computational methods. His work on the structure of simple alcohol-water mixtures led to a significant revision in understanding hydrophobic hydration and thermodynamics in self-assembling systems. Earlier work on the structure of pressure-driven semiconductor-metal transitions in simple systems (again using combinations of experimental and computational strategies) also led to a substantially revised understanding of structural and electronic properties and elastic instabilities in technologically important solids.
Examples of research at the physics-life science interface have been to simple self-assembling systems, minimal proteins and peptide-membrane interactions. Other work includes novel device physics (DNA nanoswitches, biosensors and piezoelectronic transistor devices) and phase transitions in semiconductors. A current major research theme focuses on the discovery of novel peptide antibiotics using a combination of experimental methods, computer simulation and data-centric cognitive strategies. Recent results from this program have led to the discovery of new molecular modes of action in antimicrobial peptides. Professor Crain has published over 180 peer-reviewed papers.