Chemical Engineering Seminar: Jamel Ali (Drexel University)
Self-assembled Bacteria Inspired Nanorobots for Biomedical Applications
Since they were proposed by Richard Feynman in 1959, microscopic robots have garnered an increasing amount of interest from scientists and engineers. Today significant research efforts are being devoted to the development micro and nano scale robots for biomedical applications, including medical imaging, minimally invasive surgical procedures, targeted drug delivery, and in vivo diagnostics. Due to new advancements in nanomanufacturing we are at a point where these once theoretical devices can be fabricated. However, we do not yet have the man-made tools and materials to produce small scale robots with the on-board power and control systems necessary for the propulsion and precise manipulation of these devices in vivo. In contrast, over billions of years nature has become very adept at producing large populations of complex organisms powered by nano and molecular machines formed via self-assembly. For example, in order to swim in their low Reynolds number fluid environments, many microorganisms have evolved corkscrew like rotating flagella to take advantage of the viscous forces that dominate at the micro and nano scale. In particular, the flagella of bacteria possess a number of unique properties that can be harnessed for engineering applications. This talk will introduce novel bottom-up methods for producing biomimetic soft and rigid robotic nanoswimmers that utilize these flagella. It will be demonstrated that these stimuli-responsive robotic swimmers can be wirelessly actuated using externally generated magnetic fields to mimic the rotary motion of the flagellar motor. The development and control of these micro and nano sized robots will enable us to pursue their use in complex biological environments that will be encountered in future in vitro and in vivo applications.
Jamel Ali is currently the Chief Technology Officer at Acrogenic Technologies in Rockville, MD. His current research is focused on the development of multifunctional nanostructured biomaterials for regenerative medicine. He received his B.S. (sum cum laude) and M.S. degrees in Chemical Engineering from Howard University, and his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics from Drexel University (2016). He is a recipient of the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship, National Science Foundation EAPSI Fellowship, Kling-Lindquist Partnership Engineering Fellowship, Drexel College of Engineering Dean’s Fellowship, National Science Foundation CREST Fellowship, and the Howard University Trustee Scholarship.