The complex communities of microorganims (i.e. microbiome)—bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa—that reside in and on us determine our health. Our lab is engineering these microbiomes to improve health and prevent diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cancer, and inflammatory bowel diseases.
The use of nanotechnology permits us to manipulate biological matter (bacteria, viruses, fungi, mammalian cells) in novel ways. At the nanoscale, matter can have unique properties such as a change in color depending on its size (gold nanoparticles) or superparamagnetism (iron oxide nanoparticles). We harvest these properties to study and engineer microbiomes.
We are developing biosensors that are low-cost and user-friendly. These biosensors incorporate most of the complexity within the device (e.g. stored reagents) such that the user requires minimal training.
The field of soft robotics has grown tremendously in the last decade. We are applying the soft actuators and robots developed so far to applications in maintaining human health and preventing injuries.