Participants in this tour will break into three groups that will rotate between three labs within Harvard’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. (The school was recently renamed after Harvard received a widely publicized $400 million gift from hedge fund manager John Paulson.)
Prof. Rob Wood’s Harvard Microrobotics Lab leverages expertise in microfabrication for the development of biologically-inspired robots with feature sizes on the micrometer to centimeter scale. Current research interests include new micro- and meso-scale manufacturing techniques, fluid mechanics of low Reynolds number flapping wings, control of sensor-limited and computation-limited systems, active soft materials, and morphable soft-bodied robots. This lab is home to the NSF-funded RoboBee Project, which has demonstrated breakthrough miniaturized manufacturing techniques, as well as controlled flight of an insect-sized microrobot.
Prof. Jennifer Lewis’s lab has made pioneering contributions to the directed assembly of soft functional materials. Her work integrates materials synthesis, complex fluids, microfluidics, and robotic assembly to design and pattern functional materials with controlled composition and architecture on multiple length scales (~100 nm-1 mm). These novel materials may find potential application as printed electronics, waveguides, and 3D scaffolds and microvascular architectures for cell culture and tissue engineering. To date, Prof. Lewis and her team have developed new classes of concentrated colloidal, fugitive organic, polymer, hydrogel, and sol-gel inks for pen-on-paper, inkjet, roll-to-roll and 3D printing. Her recent work in bioprinting has demonstrated the 3D printing of tissues with vasculature, a pivotal step toward the development of 3D printing of living tissues.
Prof. David Mooney’s Laboratory for Cell and Tissue Engineering investigates how mammalian cells receive information from the materials in their environment. By utilizing the tools of cell and molecular biology, he studies the mechanisms by which chemical signals (for example, specific cell adhesion molecules) or mechanical signals (for example, cyclic strain) are sensed by cells, which can then alter their proliferation and specialization to either promote tissue growth or destruction. Mooney uses the results from these studies to design and synthesize new biomaterials that regulate the gene expression of interacting cells for a variety of tissue engineering and drug delivery projects. Current projects focus on therapeutic angiogenesis, regeneration of musculoskeletal tissues, and cancer therapies. Mooney is currently collaborating with colleagues from the Dana Farber Cancer Institute on an FDA-approved clinical trial of a cancer vaccine developed in his lab.