Principle Investigator

Ratnesh Lal/ Professor, Bioengineering and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (joint)

Deependra Kumar Ban, PhD

Joon Lee, PhD 

PhD. Materials Science and Engineering, UCSD
M.S. Chemistry, Yonsei University
B.S. Chemistry, Yonsei University

Structural and nanomechanical properties of toxic amyloid beta in lipid membranes studied using AFM and nanophotonics sensors

Awards/Fellowships Earned
KT&G Scholarship (2009 – 2011)
UCSD Frontiers of Innovation Scholars Program (2015)
 Visiting Scholar
Prof. Rongzhang Hao (Beijing Institute of Disease Control and Prevention)

 Graduate Students

Nirav Patel/ PhD candidate, Bioengineering


PhD. Bioengineering, UCSD (current)
B.S. Bioengineering, UCSD

Atomic Force Microscopy, Oceanic Microbiology
The biological activity of marine microbes constitutes a significant fraction in the cycling of essential nutrients throughout the global oceans. Spatio-temporal variations in nutrient distribution in the surface waters influence the adaptive strategies that microbes employ for their energy requirements. My research focuses on the application of high-resolution atomic force microscopy to marine microbial ecology for elucidating microbial interactions with colloidal dissolved organic matter and their ecological context.

Qingqing Yang/ PhD candidate, Materials Science

PhD. Materials Science and Engineering, UCSD (current)
M.S. Materials Science and Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University
B.S. Materials Science and Engineering, Xi'an Jiao Tong University

Design and development of multifunctional AFM-array for structure–function imaging of live synaptic networks:
Coordinated activity of ion channels and receptors controls synaptic transmission underlying normal brain activity and pathologies, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson Diseases. Therefore, it is necessary to know how the molecular scale structures of proteins and protein complexes respond to external stimuli. Importantly, the activity of proteins at multiple locations along a signal transmission pathway needs to be studied simultaneously to better elucidate their role in in the brain functioning.

We are developing a new array-atomic force microscope (AFM-array) consisting of multifunctional cantilever array with independent sensors and actuators. The new AFM-array will enable 1) multipoint simultaneously imaging the synaptic network at the scales of its organization, namely, nano-to-macro scale, 2) measuring localized electrical and chemical activity, and 3) interfacing with animal and human subjects.

Juan Ybarra/ PhD student, Materials Science 

PhD. Materials Science and Engineering UCSD (current)
B.S. Materials Science and Engineering, MIT

Alzheimer's Disease Biomarker Discovery
I am developing a biosensor for detecting multiple suspected biomarkers for Alzheimer's Disease simultaneously. Such a biosensor could be used to pin down the best way to detect the development of Alzheimer's Disease while also discovering its true cause. To accomplish this goal, I am integrating optical components (diffraction grating couplers) into microelectromechanical systems(MEMS). This will make the device capable of total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy. By choosing unique dyes for each target analyte, the fluorescence capability can differentiate between multiple target analytes (antigens), as well as reduce noise from the non-selective adhesion of prevalent, “sticky” biomolecules found in biological fluids. At the same time, the MEMS device can be used as a microresonator whose resonance frequency varies with the added mass from antigen-antibody binding. This resonance shift detection provides an accurate quantification of individual molecules beyond what relative fluorescence signals are capable of. The combined technologies allow for highly accurate detection of multiple target molecules simultaneously.

Grace Jang / PhD student, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

PhD candidate Mechanical Engineering, UCSD (current)
M.S. Mechanical Engineering, UCSD
B.S. Aerospace Engineering, UCSD

Design of a traceable nano carrier for controlled drug release using a DNA hinge capping system (current)
Design of nano acupuncture needles for intracellular recordings (future)

 Vrinda Sant / Graduate student, Materials Science and Engineering                 
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PhD Student Materials Science & Engineering, UCSD (current)
B.S. Bioengineering, UCSD

Synthesis of nanocarriers for targetted drug delivery and Design of assays to characterize their for in vivo behavior

Yushuang Liu / Visiting PhD student from Inner Mongolia Agricultural University, China

We have developed bio-sensors consisting of a graphene field effect transistor (GFET) with a nanoscale layer of DNA nano-device. The current through the graphene shows a characteristic response to single nucleotide gene mutation (SNP). Our SNP sensing & signaling platform will facilitate the development of the miniaturized, implantable, digital, and wireless point-of-care biosensors for early detection & monitoring of life threatening human diseases. We are expanding our target bi-molecules into proteins, bacteria and others.


Jay Sheth / MS student, Nanoengineering

Abhijith Karkisaval / MS student, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

M.S. Mechanical Engineering, UCSD (current) 
B.E. Mechanical Engineering, Ramaiah Institute of Technology, BangaloreProjects
MEMS Biosensor: Mathematical modeling of electromechanical transduction process in resonant MEMS mass sensor. I am working on developing a Finite Element Model for understanding the resonant behavior of the MEMS biosensor. 
Design, Analysis and optimization of diffration gratings used in MEMS biosensors: Understanding the process of light propagation through the diffraction grating and coupling to the waveguide modes using Rigorous Coupled Wave Analysis (RCWA).

 Undergraduate Students
Sami Kazmi / 4th year, Chemical Engineering
Akshat Saraf/ Nanoengineering

 High School Students
Malvika Jain

 Lab Alumni

Subpages (1): Lab Alumni (Since 2010)