about me

 

I am currently teaching at San José State University in San José, California in the Biomedical, Chemical, and Materials Engineering Department. Over the course of the next couple years, I will be developing a set of core competencies in the Biomedical Engineering Laboratory centered around growth and characterization of clinically relevant bacterial biofilms. The goal of my work is to investigate the interplay between bacterial biofilms, specifically those produced by the bacteria Mycobacterium smegmatis, and lung tissue. Additional work will investigate novel dielectrophoretic techniques for size-independent particle sorting. 

See research page for more active projects and openings.

Previously, I was working as a National Research Council (NRC) Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Biochemical Sciences Division. My work focused primarily on microfluidic techniques for cell manipulation and characterization. At NIST, I had two primary research efforts: (i) development of microfluidic techniques for growing standardized biofilms and characterizing biofilm properties as a function of spatial and temporal variations in chemical and mechanical properties; and (ii) application of dielectrophoretic techniques for droplet manipulation in the formation of templated liposomes.

Prior to this position, I was a graduate student in the Biomedical Engineering Department at Cornell University. My graduate research was done in the Cornell Micro/Nanofluidics Laboratory run by Prof. Brian Kirby. Here I developed insulator-based dielectrophoresis (iDEP) techniques for continuous-flow particle sorting, multiphysics modeling of electrothermal flow in iDEP devices, and automated characterization of Mycobacterium smegmatis using electrode-based DEP.

Before coming to Cornell, I received my B.S. in Electrical Engineering from California State University, Fresno. While at CSU, Fresno, I worked as an independent consultant for Signet Systems – with high-frequency battery charging systems – and Biomimetic Connections – examining biological systems and their applicability to engineering problems.



 

I think of myself as a constant tinkerer. I love playing with and developing new technologies, using new tools, taking things apart to see how they work, and teaching others what I've learned.

I am also fascinated by the overlap between scientific disciplines. My fascination with electromagnetics and biological applications led me to work on dielectrophoresis (DEP) in microfluidic devices. Microfluidics, as a field, seems to exist at the confluence of physics, chemistry, and material science with fascinating applications to study biological systems at the sub-, single-, and multi-cellular level. The ability to probe biological systems at each of these length scales contributes to our understanding of large-scale emergent behaviors (e.g., the behavior of tissues or biofilms).

On a more pragmatic level, the field of microfluidics is expanding rapidly, with an emphasis on new, novel techniques, devices, and applications. New and novel often come at the cost of robust operation and usability; indeed, adoption outside of microfluidics labs has been relatively limited. Going forward, one of my primary goals will be developing robust microfluidic techniques for laboratory applications.