Who We Are
The Daniel Team is an interdisciplinary collection of engineers and biophysicists with expertise in chemistry, materials, and biology, who are working to understand cell membrane functions and cellular processes. We use this understanding to create new biotechnologies for scientific discovery, biosensing, analytical assays, that enable us to learn about host-pathogen interactions and the rules of life.
What We Study
The Daniel Team investigates phenomena that occur at the biological interface known as the cell membrane. Our team pioneered the use of biomembrane microfluidics to conduct cell-free studies of membrane functions and biological processes. This platform is composed of supported bilayers, ranging from simple lipids to complex cell membranes, and chips equipped with spatio-temporal environmental control enabled by microfluidics and bioelectronics.
Using this platform, we study:
Why It Matters
The cell membrane defines life. Without it, the chemical reactions necessary for life could not happen. The Daniel Team is motivated to learn how this thin barrier material orchestrates the chemical and biological functions that give a cell distinct features. Our work contributes insight into aspects of this important organizational structure, ranging from how a virus infects a healthy cell, to how antibiotics change the physical properties of bacterial membranes, to how crops react to climate change. Our goal is to understand how a cell works well enough so that we can build synthetic versions. Synthetic cells could be used to produce medication, manufacture biomaterials, or sense environments. We are inspired by biology and the possibilities cellular biology presents for treating disease, reducing famine, and producing clean energy once we fully understand how life works.
You can read about our research impact in our peer-reviewed publications:
What We Value
We believe that access to education for all people is necessary to cultivate the creativity and excellence required to pursue interdisciplinary research and our research. For this reason, the Daniel Team promotes inclusive and empowering environments in all aspects of education and STEM research. Come get bio-inspired with us and make a difference!