Research Overview

Our multifaceted research focuses primarily on micro- and nanoengineering natural or semi-natural materials to develop functional soft matter/biomaterials with tailored structure-property relationships. We are particularly excited about leveraging the interdisciplinary research at the intersection of materials, chemical, environmental, and biomedical engineering wherein biopolymers such as polysaccharides and proteins as well as abundant minerals are converted into functional platforms with unique properties that enable us to develop environmental and healthcare technologies at the molecular, nano/micro, meso, and macro scales. These technologies include:

  • Microfluidic-enabled biomaterials for tissue engineering and regeneration

  • Hairy nanocelluloses as an emerging family of advanced materials

  • Living materials

  • Next-generation bioadhesives, tissue sealants, and hemostatic agents

  • Hydrogels for minimally invasive medical technologies

  • Self-healing and adaptable soft materials

  • Biomimetic adsorbents for bioseparation

  • Smart coatings

The overarching theme of our Lab is reflected in 4 thrusts:

Thrust 1: Microfluidic-Enabled Biomaterials

We are highly passionate about revisiting biomaterial design through breaking down bulk platforms into modular compartments and rebuilding them in bottom-up approaches. We aim at providing a paradigm shift in designing superior biomaterials, such as microporous polysaccharide- and protein-based scaffolds for a variety of unmet biomedical needs, including accelerated tissue repair and on-demand tissue and disease models.

Thrust 2: Biocolloids and Biopolymers

We design, synthesize, and characterize bio-based colloidal and biopolymeric systems with controlled structure-property relationships to develop innovative technologies with immediate industrial applications in water, environment, food, and healthcare sectors.

Thrust 3: Biomimicry for Sustainable Material Design

Inspired by nature, we design biomimetic platforms based on naturally-derived nanomaterials to address some of the persistent challenges in the healthcare and water industries, including capturing unwanted substances from the body/water and inhibiting the formation of unfavorable crystals.

Thrust 4: Colloidal Gels

We design gels that are made up of self-assembled colloidal particles with unique physicochemical properties for biomedicine, tissue engineering and regeneration, and drug delivery. Via taking advantage of, often unprecedented, small-scale structural features, these soft materials may set the stage for minimally-invasive procedures and, potentially, a variety of bench-to-bed-side translational applications.