Gwynn Elfring

Gwynn Elfring

Associate Professor

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Research focus:

Gwynn Elfring's research involves mathematical modeling of problems primarily in cell biomechanics, but also in the areas of interfacial phenomena and energy systems, and often involving the fascinating physics present at small scales. Gwynn has published extensively on the mechanics of biological locomotion, studying how cells swim, how they interact when in close proximity and how this affects collective motility. This work is necessary to understand the mechanics of cell-population dynamics, and important in many diverse environmental areas such as marine ecology, water contamination and potability or even algal fuels. The long term goal of this research is to use an understanding of the mechanics of cell motility to improve the design of synthetic micro-scale robots for use in the human body, such as for targeted drug delivery or autonomous chemical sensing, a very important burgeoning area of research.

Prior to UBC:

Before coming to UBC, Gwynn completed his Ph.D. at the University of California San Diego and a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He received his B.Eng and M.A.Sc. degrees from the University of Victoria.


Gwynn's research work has been published in the Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Physical Review Letters and recently in JFM Rapids. While at the University of California he received a prestigious dissertation year fellowship and a summer teaching fellowship.

Personal interests:

In his free time, Gwynn enjoys rock climbing, parenting a 6-month old, drinking good coffee (those two are correlated), starting but not finishing novels and succumbs to the occasional Netflix binge.

Department/School profile