Engineering Biology and Medicine at Small Scales: From Cell Manipulation, Molecular Screening to Early Cancer Detection

John X.J. Zhang, Associate Professor, University of Texas at Austin

Friday, April 26, 2013, 3:30pm

Spanos Auditorium

This seminar is part of the Jones Seminars on Science, Technology, and Society series.

Translational biomedical engineering plays an important role in assimilating the advancement of nanomaterials and microdevice engineering toward developing innovative tools for medicine, as well as contributing to the investigations across the multi-scale biological hierarchy with minimal invasions. Our laboratory is currently developing a few novel biotechnologies exploring scale-dependent physical science and the miniaturization technology towards efficient healthcare. In this talk, I will review our research on (1) rapid blood screening devices for circulating tumor cells detection and analysis; (2) quantum dots based near-field imaging microchip for cellular microarray screening and molecular-scale energy transfer process measurements; and (3) MEMS-scanner based endoscopes for in vivo sub-cellular early cancer detection. Nano-micro scale science, information, and biomedicine are integrative components of the research that are used with advanced engineering tools to facilitate biomedical studies and develop point-of-care diagnostics for global health applications.

About the Speaker

John X.J. Zhang is an Associate Professor at the University of Texas of Austin (UT Austin) in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, with joint affiliations with Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology (ICMB), Microelectronics Research Center and Texas Materials Institute. He received his Ph.D. from Stanford University, California in 2004, and was a Research Scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, before joining the faculty at UT Austin in 2005.

Zhang’s research focuses on exploring bio-inspired nanomaterials, scale-dependent biophysics, and nanofabrication technology, toward developing new diagnostic devices and methods on probing complex cellular processes and biological networks critical to development and diseases. Both multi-scale experimental and theoretical approaches are combined to investigate fundamental force, flow, and energy processes at the interface of engineering and biomedicine. In particular, his laboratory is leading the development of integrated photonic microsystems (MEMS, micro-electro-mechanical systems), semiconductor chips and nanotechnologies critical to healthcare, defense and environmental applications. He has published over 120 peer reviewed papers and proceedings, presented over 45 invited seminars worldwide, and filed over 15 US patents (3 patents issued). His research findings have been highlighted in many public media, and were licensed to two companies: CardioSpectra, Inc. and NanoLite Systems, Inc.. He has organized many major conferences in the area of MEMS/BioMEMS, nanotechnologies, and biomedical engineering.

In addition to being the Principal Investigator of many major grants from U.S. federal agencies such as NIH, NSF, and DARPA, Dr. Zhang was also recipient of many prestigious awards, including the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation Early Career Award for Translational Research in Biomedical Engineering in 2006, the British Council Early Career RXP Award in 2008, NSF Faculty Early Career Development Program (NSF CAREER) Award in 2009-2014, DARPA Young Faculty Award in 2010, and an invitee to attend U.S. National Academy of Engineering, Frontiers of Engineering (NAE-FOE) program in 2011, the NAE Frontiers of Engineering Education (NAE FOEE) program in 2012, and subsequently China-America Frontiers of Engineering Symposium (CAFOE) program in 2013.