Can we harness the self-assembling and autonomous properties of living systems to turn them into smart micro-scale factories for producing advanced materials? That is the question I'm trying to answer in my current research. I'm interested in the fusion of synthetic biological and materials science approaches for engineering organic-nanomaterial systems —specifically, the reprogramming of cells into “molecular factories” for the production of designer extracellular materials.
■ In my postdoctoral work at Harvard University and the Wyss Institute for Bioinspired Engineering, I have conceived, designed, and fully developed a technology platform called BIND (Biofilm-Integrated Nanofiber Display) that allows for the re-engineering of the bacterial bioflm extracellular material to have artificial functionalities.
■ My prior thesis work at Rice University centered on the design of synthetic protein switches that operated in hyperthermophilic organisms for detecting protein-protein interactions.
■ My other research interests include novel 3D printing materials, using biofilm-derived materials for architectural and textile technologies, phage display, and developing amyloid therapeutics.
■ I'm also interested in early stage start-up entrepreneurship.