[robotics-worldwide] Research opportunities at the Nano Bio-systems and Bio-mimetics Lab at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Mingjun Zhang mjzhang at utk.edu
Thu Jan 14 19:48:38 PST 2010

Dear Colleagues:

We are seeking two post-doctoral research associates and four PhD student
research assistants to work on the following three projects. Applicants
should send CV and selected papers to mjzhang at utk.edu

*Project one: *The research objective of this proposal is to study the
fundamental mechanics and mechanical properties of the nanoparticles-based
adhesive secretion produced by ivy rootlets for surface affixing and
climbing.  Both experimental (using AFM) and theoretical (mathematical
modeling) studies will be conducted. More generally, we aim to use insight
from nature to elucidate theoretical principles governing the extraordinary
adhesive properties of ivy.  The specific aims are:

Specific Aim 1:  Characterize the intra- and inter- molecular bonding forces
and determine how they can be used to explain interactions that exist both
between components of the ivy adhesive secretion and between the secretion
and the affixing surface.

Specific Aim 2:  Characterize the macroscopic mechanical properties of
natural ivy secretions.

Specific Aim 3:  Determine structure-property relationships via systematic
alteration of the composition of the natural ivy secretions.

Specific Aim 4:  Build finite element models (FEM) to quantitatively
characterize and interpret the adhesive properties of ivy nanoparticles.

*Project two:* The goal of this research is to develop a highly sensitive
and specific lab-on-a-chip device for comprehensive cardiovascular disease
(CVD) risk factor analysis.  It is well-known that cardiovascular disease is
related to multiple risk factors, but it is still not clear how these risk
factors in combination contribute to the disease, and how they can be used
to diagnose as well as treat the disease.  The ELISA assay has often been
used for risk factor analysis, but it is time-consuming and not
cost-effective, especially for multiple risk factor analysis.  Currently, no
well-developed techniques can be used for simultaneous multiple risk factor
analysis for cardiovascular disease.  A device is needed that can generate
fast, highly specific and sensitive data on multiple risk factors
simultaneously, so that researchers can use the data for studying the
pathology of cardiovascular disease.  Such a device can also be used in
clinics for the cardiovascular risk factor assessment and treatment.

*Project three:* External Control of a Complex Cellular System, S.
cerevisiae. This research will demonstrate external, multivariable control
of the budding yeast, a relatively well-characterized complex system. The
experimental studies will integrate both feedback and feed-forward control
of highly instrumented, computer-controlled microfabricated bioreactor, and
enable on-demand selection of metabolic and signaling pathways and hence
control of cell fate.

Best regards,

Mingjun Zhang
Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Director, Nano Bio-systems and Nano Bio-mimetics Lab
Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering
408 Dougherty Engineering Building
1512 Middle Drive
The University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN 37996-2210
Phone: (865)974-7620
Fax: (865)974-5274

E-mail: mjzhang at utk.edu

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