My research program aims to elucidate design principles of biological networks inside and between cells. A major emphasis is on the development and use of quantitative methods to design, analyze, or engineer biological networks for both practical applications and to deduce fundamental biological insights. We pioneered the use of cell-cell communication to program bacterial dynamics in time and space. Examples include population control, predation, altruistic death, quorum-sensing mediated cooperation, and pattern formation. Analysis of these engineered systems has led to new insights into how bacteria cope with stress and mechanisms underlying self-organized pattern formation. These insights have laid the foundation for their ongoing research in bacteria-mediated fabrication of patterned materials and in engineering novel hybrid biological-biomaterial systems to target bacterial pathogens.

Awards and Achievements

  • NSF CAREER Award ( 2010)
  • DuPont Young Professor Award ( 2008)