Seminar: Nanoscale electrokinetics for manipulation and measurement of biosystems

MultiSTEPS Seminar, Thursday, April 5, 10-11am, 310 ICTAS

Nanoscale electrokinetics for manipulation and measurement of biosystems
Dr. Nathan Swami, Dept. of Electrical Engineering, University of Virginia

Abstract: The ability to selectively manipulate bio-systems (cells, DNA and proteins) and nanostructures (nanofibers, nanotubes and nanowires) in fluids and at localized fluid/surface interfaces, within media of a wide range of conductivity, is fundamental to many applications in biomedicine and nanofabrication. Electrokinetic methodologies based on inherent dielectric properties of the manipulated nanostructures are uniquely poised for directing self-assembly since their scaling laws are highly compatible with micro- and nanofluidic systems, and their instrumentation are relatively simple. In our group, we focus on micro/nanofluidic device platforms for electrokinetic and magnetic trapping, alignment and patterning of nano- and biomaterials for applications within biosensing and tissue regeneration. This talk will present examples on the challenges and opportunities for the application of electrokinetics within biosensing for frequency-selective pre-concentration of target analytes to enhance detection sensitivity of biomarkers, within tissue regeneration for alignment of nanostructures for cell guidance, and within environmental remediation through dielectric characterization of infectious microbial cell viability.

Bio: Nathan Swami is an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at University of Virginia, where his research is centered on devices for the dielectric manipulation of bio- and nanostructures for biosensing and tissue regeneration applications. Previously he served as a Principal Scientist within the MEMS and Microfluidics group of Motorola Labs, and Senior Scientist at Clinical Microsensors, a Caltech start-up focused on electronically functional DNA micro-arrays.

Seminar: Synthetic Biological Systems for Environmental Deployment

The BSE Department invites us to join them for the seminar “Synthetic Biological Systems for Environmental Deployment” presented by Dr. Warren Ruder, candidate for a BSE assistant professor position.

Date: Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Time: 2:00 – 3:00 pm
Location: Fralin Auditorium

Dr. Warren Ruder is currently a postdoctoral research associate at Boston University, Harvard Wyss Institute, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute.  His current research focus is the construction of synthetic gene networks to enable bacteria to execute complex programmed behavior.  Dr. Ruder received his B.S. degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2002 and his M.S. in Mechanical Engineering and Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 2008 and 2009, respectively.

IDR Day 2012 coming soon

2nd IDR Day, Tuesday, April 10, 5:00-9:30 pm, The Inn at Virginia Tech

The Interdisciplinary Research Honor Society (IDR) is sponsoring the 2nd Interdisciplinary Research Day (IDR Day 2012) at Virginia Tech. Enjoy an evening of exciting discussions about transdisciplinarity and interdisciplinarity. At the beginning of the event we will welcome our new honor members into the society and review this year’s accomplishments. Then the audience will subdivide into groups to tackle modern-day wicked problems through creative integration of the different disciplines represented in the group. Dinner is provided. Registration is FREE but required due to limited spaces. All students, faculty and staff are encouraged to attend. For the event program and registration, please go to:

Essay Contest: Communicating the Importance of Interdisciplinary Research

2012 Iota Delta Rho Award for Interdisciplinary Research Essay of the Year

Iota Delta Rho, an interdisciplinary honor society at VT, would like to encourage all students to participate in this year’s essay contest!  Open to all Virginia Tech students at any degree level.

A prize will be awarded to the best essay answering the following question:

Choose a public audience (not a university-based one).  How would you explain to them the value of interdisciplinary research?

Examples of possible audiences include, but are not limited to, an elementary school class, a church group, members of Congress, etc.  Please make the chosen audience explicit at the beginning of your essay, and keep this audience in mind throughout your essay.  You can think of this essay as a speech, for example.  Your examples do not have to be limited to your own research area.  Be creative!

Applicants are required to submit the following items electronically to Carol Johnson ( by midnight on Sunday, April 1:

  1. One-page cover page including the essay title, applicant name, program/college/degree level, and a short biography.
  2. 500 word essay answering the IDR-related question above.