Hi there!

My name is Gary Nave, and I study simple models that help us understand complicated behaviors at the interface of Engineering, Applied Math, Physics, and Biology. My current work focuses on understanding how large groups of insects (honey bees and fire ants) work together to form large, stable structures by linking their bodies together. I also build mathematical tools to understand the behavior of both models and experimental results.

I am a Postdoctoral Research Associate advised by Orit Peleg in the BioFrontiers Institute at the University of Colorado Boulder. I received my Ph.D. in 2018 in Engineering Mechanics at Virginia Tech advised by Shane Ross and Mark Stremler through the BioTrans interdisciplinary program.

Recent news:

April 2020 My abstract with Mark Stremler has been accepted for presentation at the International Conference on Engineering Vibration in August 2020. The talk will be entitled “Modeling wake stiffness as a non-linear spring.”

March 2020 My paper with Nelson Mitchell, Jordan Chan Dick, Tyler Schuessler, Joaquin Lagarrigue, and Orit Peleg has been published in Frontiers in Robotics and AI: Attraction, Dynamics, and Phase Transitions in Fire Ant Tower-Building [bioRxiv]

January 2020 A week after getting back from Austin, I attended the 2020 Joint Math Meetings in Denver! I gave a talk entitled “Modeling decision-making in fire ant tower and honey bee swarm formation” as a part of the SIAM Minisymposium on Mathematical Modeling and Simulation of Complex Biological Systems.

January 2020 I attended my first SICB Annual Meeting in Austin! I gave a talk entitled “The formation of honey bee swarms” based on our preliminary experimental results.

August 2019 Congratulations to undergraduate mentee Hadley Tallackson for a successful presentation at the end of the CU SPUR program! Her talk was titled “Honeybee swarm formation: modeling and experimentation” [Google Slides].

August 2019 I had a fantastic time participating in the Evidence-Based Introduction to Teaching course through the CIRTL netework!

July 2019 High school mentees April, Jackson, and Sloan did a great job this summer as a part of the STEM Research Experience program.

June 2019 I had the opportunity to travel to Atlanta for the ACS Colloid & Surface Science meeting. I presented a talk entitled “Coming together to climb higher: agent‐based modeling of fire ant tower building.”

May 2019 I did an Introduction to Python workshop for postdocs at CU Boulder. The materials can be found on my GitHub here: https://github.com/gknave/Python_Intro.

April 2019 My paper with Shane Ross was published in Communications in Nonlinear Science and Numerical Simulation: Global phase space structures in a model of passive descent [PDF].

April 2019 My paper with Peter Nolan and Shane Ross was published in Nonlinear Dynamics: Trajectory-free approximation of phase space structures using the trajectory divergence rate [PDF].

April 2019 I was invited to give a talk to the Math department at the University of Pittsburgh, entitled “Flying snakes, attracting manifolds, and the trajectory divergence rate.”

March 2019 The bees are here! The 2019 experimental season has begun. I’ll be doing experiments with honey bee swarms to understand their shape and structure.

March 2019 Congratulations to former lab-mate and collaborator Peter Nolan on a successful Ph.D. defense! His dissertation was on “Experimental and theoretical developments in the application of Lagrangian coherent structures to geophysical transport.”

January 2019 The Virginia Tech graduate school did an article about my wife and I meeting in graduate school: New Virginia Tech doctoral alumni call their relationship “a Blacksburg love story”

December 2018 I attended the Social Insects iN the NorthEast RegionS (SINNERS) conference, and learned a lot about bees, ants, termites, and wasps. I gave a short talk entitled “The surface tension of honey bee swarms.”

August 2018 The Nave family has moved to Boulder, Colorado! I am now a postdoc at CU Boulder, and my wife, Amy Hermundstad Nave, is a faculty developer in the Trefny Center at Colorado School of Mines.

August 2018 I’ve finished edits to my dissertation, and it can now be freely accessed online through Virginia Tech: Nonlinear models and geometric structure of fluid forcing on moving bodies

July 2018 Congratulations to my wife, Amy Hermundstad Nave, for defending her Ph.D.!

July 2018 I successfully defended my Ph.D.! You can watch my defense here.