CBE & MSE Seminar: Building "Living" Materials and Devices at the Biological Interface

McDonnell Douglas Engineering Auditorium (MDEA)
Peter Tseng, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
UC Irvine

Abstract: Despite active research, modern biosensors have lagged behind the hardware systems that read their data. Information captured by such devices is largely binary and predominantly physical. One key reason for this is that in contrast to our engineered systems, biological systems are soft, adaptable, physically malleable and utilize the interplay of nearly all energy transduction mechanisms. My research has been focused on building devices possessing such characteristics to improve both the quality and lifetime of engineered biological interfaces.

My talk will focus on two aspects of my research. The first half will catalog the development of ultra-soft or flexible biosensors that integrate seamlessly onto skin or teeth to extract information or electricity. These can be used to track the composition of foods we consume, or extract bio-energy. 

The second half of my talk addresses how such interfacial devices could be built in the future. Biological systems utilize confinement and/or mechanical forces to shape growing materials and tissues, and I utilize nanofabrication techniques to create programmable forces (via electromagnetism or confinement) on biological matter. Such research has enabled hyper-engineered bio-materials and the remote-control of living cells.

Bio: Peter Tseng graduated with a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a doctorate from UCLA, both in electrical engineering. He completed an NIH (NRSA) Postdoctoral Fellowship at Tufts University working on conformal, body-mounted biosensors, and currently is an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science here at UCI. He has published over 20 journal articles and chapters, with lead-author publications in Nature Nanotechnology, Nature Methods, Nature Biomedical Engineering, Advanced Materials and more. His research has been spotlighted in various news organizations including Science, The Times UK, Ars Technica, Science Daily and more. 

Host: Allon Hochbaum