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Research interests

My research vision is to realize new technologies and methods that enable investigation of otherwise inaccessible physical, chemical and biological processes. Introduction of micro- and nanotechnology concepts, as well as creative integration and coupling strategies, is critical to development of instruments and methods for control, observation and measurement of natural phenomena that occur at such scales. Micro- and nanoscale processes form a central theme of my professional training, connecting research thrusts in biology, medicine, thermal, fluidic and energetic systems, and micro-/nanofabrication. Research in the Scalable Integrated MicroSystems (SIMS) laboratory at Washington University (WU) synthesizes knowledge of microfluidics and microfabrication to establish new methods for intracellular delivery/transfection, to create acoustic cages for interrogation of microorganisms, to facilitate microfluidic chemical synthesis, to simulate the natural environment of cells and tissues, and to investigate interfacial phenomena that occur during multiphase and particulate flows.

Micro- and nanotechnologies are ideally-suited to manipulation and investigation of biological processes occurring at all scales (from sub-μm biomolecules and organelles to 1–10s of μm cells to mm-scale tissues) due to the dimensional similarity of target objects and typical micro-/nanostructures. Prior to WU, my work at OpenCell Technologies (an early stage biotech company that I co-founded) proved that application of biophysical actions on smaller-and-smaller scales enhances intracellular nanomaterial delivery. Since joining the faculty of WU, I have greatly expanded upon this theme to develop microfluidic solutions for manipulation and measurement of biomolecules, bacteria and motile microorganisms, among other cell types. Some technologies extend the applicability of an approach (on-chip antibody-construct synthesis), while others enable investigations that were not previously possible (acoustic caging of flagellated algae). Below, I briefly describe independent and collaborative projects in my current research program, which are focused on biological systems and human health.

Available to Mentor:

  • PhD/MSTP Students

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