Our Research

The Advanced Biomanufacturing and Biosensing (AdBio) Lab is inspired by the sentiment 'If you can't continuously measure it, you can't optimally manage or control it.'

Specifically, our lab creates robust sensors for real-time monitoring of material and fluid physical and mechanical properties and selective quantification of chemical and biological species in complex matrices, as such properties and information are inputs, states, outputs, parameters, and quality signatures of biological systems (e.g., bio-process or biomanufacturing processes). Thus, sensors from our lab facilitate the modeling, assessment, and control of bio-processes.

Active Research Areas in Manufacturing include: 1) sensor-based cyber-physical frameworks for high-throughput material characterization and bio-analysis; 2) continuous, saturation-free, sensors for monitoring of bio-processes and biomanufacturing processes, including bio-fabricated 3D plant and animal tissue cultures, cell expansion processes, and organ transplantation processes; 3) biosensor-based closed-loop control of bio-processes and biomanufacturing processes; and 4) sensor-based conformal additive manufacturing processes.

Thus, we are broadly interested in topics that range from the automation of bio-processes to the interfaces between conducting materials (electronic and ionic conductors in nature) and biologics (metabolites, proteins, nucleic acids, and cells).

Goals and Standards in Sensing Technology and Measurement: While sensors widely vary regarding sensing principle, physical form, and sensing capabilities, which informs their capabilities and application, the AdBio Lab is focused on the creation of robust sensors that facilitate continuous in-situ monitoring of physical and mechanical property changes and the detection of chemical species and biologics in complex matrices. Thus, we focus on sensor integration toward the creation of robust heterogeneous sensors and the creation of associated sample preparation-free and label-free measurement protocols. This involves the integration of nano- and millimeter-scale sensing technology. Impedance spectroscopy is the basis of making complementary heterogeneous sensor measurements based on electromechanical, electrochemical, and dielectric sensors.  The sensor platform is based on an electrochemical piezoelectric-excited millimeter cantilever (ePEMC) format, which facilitates simultaneous mass-, electrochemical, and dielectric sensing with actuation of surrounding fluid for mixing and sensor regeneration as well as enables measurement in highly viscous materials because of an associated high Reynolds number.  

Technical Expertise: Our lab specializes in the use of 3D scanning and microextrusion additive manufacturing processes, conformal tool path programming, impedance measurement techniques, and bioanalysis.  While these processes are heavily focused on applications in sensor fabrication, bio-fabrication, fabrication of 'instrumented' (i.e., sensor-integrated) bio-fabricated systems, and sensing, we these approaches are also for inspection, repair, and quality control across various application spaces and industries (e.g., aerospace, etc.)

In addition to applications in bio-manufacturing, our lab also specializes in the creation of rapid, sensitive, selective, and robust sensors for food safety, environmental monitoring, and bio-defense. 

Active Research in Bio-fabrication, Human-centered Healthcare Technology, and Neural Engineering:  While the AdBio Lab is interested in the use of sensors to study various tissues and biological systems, we are particularly interested in the nervous system.  Computer-aided bio-fabrication processes, sensors, and mathematical modeling tools are used to create in vitro models, tissue scaffolds, and sensor-integrated cell culture platforms for studying glial cell chemotaxis in engineered macro- and micro-environments that mimic native nerve.  We utilize these platforms to gain an understanding of glial cell chemotaxis in systems involving multiple chemoattractants of varying spatiotemporal profile toward the goal of understanding higher-order physiological and pathophysiological processes in the central and peripheral nervous systems.  We also apply this new knowledge and technical capability for the development of nerve repair technology (e.g., nerve guidance conduits) for repair of complex gap injuries and polymer-based neural interfaces for bio-electronic and bionic therapeutics (e.g., brain-machine interfaces).