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Analogy among microfluidics, micromechanics, and microelectronics

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Using surfaces to modulate the morphology and structure of attached cells – a case of cancer cells on chitosan membranes

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Modulating material interfaces through biologically-inspired intermediates

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Using cell structures to develop functional nanomaterials and nanostructures – case studies of actin filaments and microtubules

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Cell cytoskeletal conformation under reversible thermal control

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Cellulose-based diagnostic devices for diagnosing serotype-2 dengue fever in human serum

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Probing cellular behaviors through nanopatterned chitosan membranes

Group Introduction

Our research interest is primarily to bridge “Engineering” and “Biology” (in part, “Medicine”). Increasingly, the technologies, the mindset, and the research intellect within the fields of engineering and biology are converging to shatter conventional restrictions of both fields and open novel realms of technological and humanly impactful possibilities by leveraging the singular and dramatic advantages of combined, multidisciplinary science. Clearly, the efficiency and robustness of biological experiments can be augmented and/or replaced by facilitating engineering techniques. However, the challenges encountered when adapting experimental approaches can be daunting, as even basic experiments can present colossal hurdles. The most common obstacles in establishing multidisciplinary research programs that blend engineering and biological perspectives include the following: 1) misperceptions regarding mutual exclusivity between biological and engineering studies, 2) the lack of adequate training programs that prepare students for this type of complex and interdisciplinary research, and 3) the dearth of appropriate technologies, such as nano-/micro- technologies or easy-to-handle approaches. What academia and industry can do to encourage interdisciplinary research is to train cross-disciplined students to understand engineering and biological sciences, to develop and promote intuitive approaches focused on answering imperative scientific questions through disease research and the synthesis of novel technologies, and to create and nurture a relationship to bridge the sciences of engineering with biology, enhance understanding from both perspectives, and promote the unique cross-disciplinary perspectives necessary to solve longstanding and future problems. As this interdisciplinary research – analytical chemistry, bioengineering, and biomaterials – requires understanding from multiple directions, we can confidently claim that our research is practically positioned to fulfill many of these objectives (e.g., biologically relevant issues or medically relative applications). Thank you for your interest in our group. We are very excited to begin recruiting creative and highly-motivated young persons in order to enhance the promising developments of Taiwan’s translational research.

Research Interests

Our research interests are basically exploring and leveraging the link(s) between engineering and different disciplines, specifically the link(s) between engineering and analytical chemistry, clinical chemistry, biology, or medicine (e.g., point-of-care diagnostic devices for monitoring diseases) with respect to novel technologies, which has been explored for the past several years. The nature of this research has involved a variety of steps, but the overall goals have revolved around four major thrusts: 1) discussions with people from industry and academia regarding critical areas of scientific research, 2) identification of novel areas of scientific research that can be interfaced with engineering, 3) design and construction of technologies to explore these research areas, and 4) reassessments of the value of these technologies and whether they might be more broadly applied. Here, we highlight our research interests in the following.

(1) Cellulose-based Diagnostic Devices for Public Health and Food Safety

Developing a method to answer scientific questions is one of the practical approaches for doing science; optical microscopy, for example, has been a fundamental method of biological or medical discovery for more than three centuries. However, there is a current need to build systems and tools to solve existing world health issues (e.g., infectious diseases) and we are poised and excited at the prospect of contributing to this endeavor. The developing world needs diagnostic devices that have the lowest cost, function without supporting equipment (e.g., electricity, pumps, optics), can be integrated with wireless communication technology for telemedicine, and are portable and easy to operate. Due to this reason, we have developed multiple “simple” technologies, including 3-D paper-based microfluidics, paper-based ELISA, and as cellulose-based portable devices (e.g., lateral flow immunoassays), for diagnosing various diseases and monitoring food safety issues – attempting to deal with the healthcare issues in Taiwan.

(2) Cellular & Molecular Biomechanics (Mechanotransduction)

The link between mechanics and biochemistry has been implicated in a myriad of scientific and medical problems, from orthopedics and cardiovascular medicine, to cell motility and division and signal transduction and gene expression. Most of these studies have been focused on organ-level issues, yet cellular and molecular research has become essential over the last decade in this field thanks to the revolutionary developments in microelectronics, genetics, biotechnology, and information technology. We will keep developing new tools (e.g., micropatterning or physiological-relevant microenvironments) and address how they are being used to probe scientific questions related to cellular and molecular structure. We will also attempt to understand the link between mechanics and biochemistry matters to biology and medicine with respect to the structural regulation in living cells.

(3) Microfabrication & Micropatterning through Bio-Inspiration Approaches

Humankind often derives guidance and inspiration from nature. However, most designers originate without any explicit reference to nature, as direct natural analogs do not exist for many associated technological applications. In recent years, there has been increasing interest in borrowing design concepts from nature to mimic biological systems, or “biomimetics”. Biomimetics has evolved from a multitude of interdisciplinary fields including chemistry, biology, physics, and engineering. Biologically inspired and biologically based materials have properties that facilitate unique approaches and methodologies to create ordered arrays of small-scale systems. We are very interested in one of these approaches, the use of specific chemical reactions, which are inherently self-organized, to create new paradigms for structural and materials fabrication.