Chemistry and Biomedical Engineering
Area of research and sub-discipline:
Bioanalytical Chemistry/ Chemical Biology/ Tissue engineering/ Immunology
About the lab:
Our lab is a chemistry and engineering lab that studies the immune system. Our body’s immune system is very complex. Many different types of cells must work together in unison to produce the immune responses that protect us from harmful bacteria, viruses, cancer, and other diseases, while avoiding inflammatory diseases from overactivation. Our lab is interested in how cells of the immune system communicate with each other. To study this topic, we invent new tools using chemistry and materials science, which allow us to measure communication between immune cells in new ways.
One of the techniques that our lab uses is 3D print small devices and tools, and use them to stimulate immune tissue or analyze immune function. We use cutting edge 3D printers to generate tiny devices with features smaller than a millimeter, and also standard 3D printers like those sold on Amazon to make larger handheld tools. We continue to develop new methods to 3D print specific devices for handling the immune cells, and to test out new materials for 3D printing in order to achieve new functionality.
Students who join our lab to work on this project could learn topics that span several areas of science, including:
Our body’s immune system is very complex. Many different types of cells must work together in unison to produce the immune responses that protect us from harmful bacteria, viruses, and other diseases. If they are in the wrong place or miscommunicate, the consequences can be severe, causing inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis, or cancer. Our lab is interested in how cells of the immune system are arranged, and how they communicate with each other, especially during inflammatory disease. We combine chemistry, biomedical engineering, and immunology, to create new ways to study the immune system.
Students will join a project to invent new tools that allow us to measure communication between immune cells in new ways. For example, students could help create tiny tools called microfluidic devices to stimulate immune tissue, using techniques such as 3D printing, models of fluidic physics, and microelectronics. Alternatively, they could help create new biochemical methods to detect immune cell function in live tissues, using techniques such as protein biochemistry, cell culture, and multi-color fluorescence microscopy.
General chemistry. Some organic chemistry or biochemistry would be helpful but not required. Ability to pay attention to details.
Specific project(s) available:
Many are available, and can be tailored either to building small devices, or biochemistry and biological experiments.