We have open postdoctoral research positions (2023)!

Granular Hydrogels for Regenerative Engineering (NIH R01 and R56)
The applicants must have a profound background in the following areas:
(a) Biomaterials (hydrogel design, synthesis, processing, and characterization)
(b) In vitro techniques (2D and 3D cell culture models, cytotoxicity assays, angiogenesis assays, axonogenesis, 3D imaging, immunohistochemistry, immunoimaging, and protein and gene expression analyses)
(c) In vivo models (small animal models, e.g., subq and wound healing, in vivo imaging, and tissue evaluation)

Please apply via LINK1 and forward  your application package to Dr. Sheikhi via email.

Mentees' Awards

Soft tissue restoration, blood vessel formation focus of $3M NIH R01 grant

Amir Sheikhi to participate in National Academy of Engineering symposium in Japan

Amir is the Technical Program Chair of 2023 International Conference on Nanotechnology for Renewable Materials, June 12-16, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Amir delivered a Keynote at the National Graduate Research Polymer Conference 2023
June 29th – July 1st, 2023
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

The National Graduate Research Polymer Conference (NGRPC) is one of the largest polymer student conferences in the country. This national conference series was established in 1994 by the American Chemical Society’s Division of Polymer Chemistry (ACS-POLY) to provide polymer science and engineering graduate students the opportunity to present their work, network, and interact with polymer scientists in industry, academia, and government.

2023 AIChE Annual Meeting

Amir will be chairing several sessions at the 2023 AIChE Annual Meeting!

Session ID 53292: Hydrogel Biomaterials I: Cell-Instructive Platforms

Session ID 53293: Hydrogel Biomaterials II: Emerging Applications

Session ID 52240: Hydrogel Biomaterials III: Design and Characterization

Session ID 53207: Scaling Up: Approaches for Streamlining Biomanufacturing Time to and Output of Product

We have received our second NIH R01 grant: R01HL167939, NHLBI, $3 M
We received the Hisako Terasaki Young Innovator Award, Terasaki Institute for Biomedical Innovation (LINK)!
We have developed a mussel-inspired nanocellulose coating (MINC) for REE (neodymium) recovery. This work is accepted in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces (LINK will be posted soon)!
We have have developed an injectable, antibacterial, and hemostatic tissue sealant hydrogel that performs better than commercially available sealants. This work is accepted in Advanced Healthcare Materials (LINK)!
Amir Received the 2022 Rustum and Della Roy Innovation in Materials Research Award from Penn State Materials Research Institute (LINK).
We have nanoengineered microneedle arrays that can rapidly stop bleeding. This work will be featured on the cover of Bioactive Materials (LINK)!
We have uncovered mechanisms to easily dry, redisperse cellulose nanocrystals. This work has been featured on the cover of Biomacromolecules (LINK)!
We have shown an FDA-approved cholesterol medicine may help prevent antibiotic resistance. This work is published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces (LINK)!
We have received two NIH grants to develop new granular biomaterials for regenerative engineering:
1) NIH R56 (1R56EB032672, NIBIB, $800 k) 2) NIH R01 (R01NS121150, NINDS, $2.29 M)
Amir has been appointed as an Associate Editor of AIChE’s Bioengineering and Translational Medicine (BioTM) journal (Impact Factor: 10.68)! Check out the journal and consider submitting your next manuscript there!
We have been featured in the Rising Star series of Small (Wiley) for our research on Granular hydrogel bioinks with preserved microporosity!
Amir received the American Chemical Society’s 2022 Unilever Award for Outstanding Young Investigator in Colloid & Surfactant Science (LINK)!
Amir is recognized as a 35-Under-35 by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). 
Amir lands global research fellowship! More information may be found here!
Our US patent on "Modular Granular Hydrogels"
is out!
Our new paper on "Engineering hairy cellulose nanocrystals for chemotherapy drug capture" is published in Materials Today Chemistry

How Can Bio-Based Soft Materials and Biomaterials Impact Society?

Soaring population growth, imbalance supplies and demands, shortage of ready-to-use remedies, and urbanization have introduced unprecedented challenges to satisfying the world’s essential needs for water, healthcare, food, and energy. Designing new material platforms inspired by the following questions may take us one step closer to finding solutions to these needs

1) How can natural bioproducts be micro-/nanoengineered to overcome the persistent bottlenecks of current synthetic materials? 

2) How can the sophisticated structure-property relationships in nature be mimicked to address everyday life challenges? 

Our Contributions

Our team endeavors are geared towards addressing some of the quintessential challenges of the 21st century in biomedicine and the environment by designing novel soft material platforms (e.g., hydrogels and colloidal systems) via micro- and nanoengineering techniques. In 2019, Dr. Amir Sheikhi founded the Bio-Soft Materials Laboratory (B-SMaL) at Penn State Chemical Engineering to develop transformative and/or translational bio-derived soft materials and biomaterials that can set the stage for the adoption of affordable, widespread technologies with immediate benefits for humans and ecosystems. 

Our Bio-Soft Material Technologies

Granular Biomaterials

Biocolloids & Biopolymers

Biomimetic Materials

Colloidal Gels

Selected Publications

Granular Bioinks with Preserved Microporosity
In vitro Tissue and Disease Models
Shear-Thinning Biomaterials
One-Step Anti-Biofouling Coatings
Ion Exchange Biomaterials
Bio-Based Materials for Selective Ion Separation
GelMA Granular Hydrogels
Microengineered Emulsion-to-Powder Technology (MEtoP)
Hairy Nanocellulose Antiscalants
Nanoengineered Cellulose Fibers
Ion Capture
Injectable Colloidal Hydrogels




Trained Students

Welcome to B-SMaL @Penn State!