Research Groups

  • My research involves the development of micro- and nanoscale technologies to control cellular behavior, fabrication of microscale biomaterials, and designing systems for tissue engineering and drug discovery
  • My goal is to understand how cells target sites in the body and to recapitulate these processes in targeted drug delivery vehicles. My lab is also interested in novel biomaterials that mimic native tissue chemistry or structure.

Bencherif Group

  • My laboratory is primarily interested in developing the next generation of polymeric biomaterials. Our research requires a cross disciplinary approach where aspects of organic chemistry, materials science, engineering, and biology are applied to the fields of tissue engineering, drug/cell delivery, regenerative medicine, and immunotherapy.
  • The goal of our research program is to relate material properties to biological response in drug delivery and regenerative medicine to enable technologies that benefit human health. Current focus areas include: 1. Oral drug delivery, specifically mechanistic studies and modeling to predict the impact of lipid nanoemulsions on oral compound absorption, 2. Mucus hydrogels that control drug delivery and microbe interactions in the intestine, and 3. Biomimetic materials for intestinal and retinal tissue engineering.
  • Nanostructure interfacial engineering, nanomaterials synthesis, structure elucidation and modification, advanced separation, carbon mitigation, renewable energy

Coury Group

  • Although I do not take on students, I have signed on as a Co-Investigator with ChemE Faculty Colleagues in the areas of biomaterials research, drug delivery and medical device development.  I consult for companies and non-profit institutions in these fields.
  • Biofluids, vascular mechanotransduction and mechanobiolog
  • Polymer science, biomaterials, 3-D bioprinting, tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, controlled drug delivery
My research focuses on:
  • (a) the development of supramolecular nanomaterials and the investigation of the underlying physical phenomena of molecular self-assembly and self-organization using experimental and theoretical methods
  • (b) developing nanomaterials for applications in tissue engineering, targeted drug delivery, diagnostic imaging, and gene therapy
  • (c) developing nanomaterials for solar energy harvesting
  • (d) developing nanomaterials for medical diagnostics
  • (e) supramolecular antibiotics, a new class of anti-bacterials
  • My group makes new devices and sensors to for bacterial analysis with applications ranging from fundamental environmental investigations to point-of-care healthcare diagnostics. Students in my group learn how to use the micro- and nano-fabrication equipment in the cleanroom and gain an in-depth knowledge of bioanalytical techniques along the way.

Hung Group

  • Molecular modeling and simulation of interfacial and solvated systems, targeting applications in materials, energy and the environment

Lee-Parsons Group

  • Plants are rich sources of valuable medicines while microalgae are high accumulators of oil.  The vision of my research team is to meet the need for 1) critical cost-prohibitive pharmaceutical compounds by producing them using plant cell and tissue culture, and 2) an alternative, renewable, and environmentally sustainable source of fuels using microalgae.  To achieve this vision, my research seeks to 1) elucidate how plant cells regulate and coordinate the production of these valuable compounds and 2) based on these insights, design more effective bioprocess and genetic engineering strategies to enhance their production.
  • Experimental research to obtain detailed understanding of structure-property relationships in magnetofunctional materials. Characterization tools include large facility-based machines including synchrotrons and research reactors.

Lustig Group

(1) Given desired thermodynamic property targets, I invert molecular solvation theory to design molecular structures that make good drugs and crop protection chemicals.

(2) I design efficient enzyme-based air cathodes to enable commercial viability of microbial fuel cells.

(3) I develop stronger anti-ballistic materials to protect soldiers and police officers.

  • Microfluidic isolation of stem/progenitor cell, microfluidic diagnostics, cell surface and intracellular phenomena during microfluidic flow
  • Our laboratory engages in the study and discovery of electrodeposited materials with a focus on energy and environmental applications. We place an emphasis on the understanding of kinetics and mass transport that control the fabrication process at the electrode/electrolyte interface and its interrelation on the resulting material structure and property. Research topics currently of interest include: the electrodeposition of Ni-W, Co-W and ternary Mo alloys as an alternative choice to the environmentally unfriendly hexavalent Cr deposits used in surface finishing, electrodeposited films and composites as catalysts for the generation of clean hydrogen through water splitting, and the fabrication of nanowires for improved sensing having applications in molecular detection.

Su Group

  • We make nanoparticles for biomedical, energy and security application. One of the most innovative work is phase change nanoparticles. We use these new nanoparticles for biosensing, barcoding, biological cooling and medical imaging.
  • We develop new nano materials to improve disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Our focus areas are in infection, cancer, anti-inflammatory diseases, and tissue engineering for a wide range of organs.
  • Kinetic model development, catalysis, energy conversion

Willey Group

  • Process Safety, analysis of Runaway Reactions, Educational aspects of Process Safety.  I purposely stay in the background due to my excessive schedule and professional commitments as well as lack of student financial support. Over 30 students have completed a MS or Ph.D. under my direction, so I have handle numerous students covering a number of very interesting projects.  Should you hear the term “aerogel” several of advances originated out of my NU laboratory (now defunct), and several commercial ventures trace back to my former students.
  • Engineering Research: Understanding the transport and kinetics in atom-to-surface interactions in order to design processes that create novel electronic materials and heterostructures in order to enable new and efficient energy supplies and use/reuse; novel multi-functional electronic devices for crazy and not-so-crazy applications like thinking/feeling robots or smart drug delivery.  Education Research: Designing holistic learning environments from how the brain works to assessment of skills and knowledge through a broadly defined experiential learning approach.  In other words, I have a lot of fun throwing standard curricula “up in the air” in order to make learning more effective for learners of all ages and backgrounds.