How does biology work? (one mechanical engineer’s perspective)

Philip's work falls into two main areas:

  • 1. Mechanical Engineering in Cellular and Molecular Systems (Gates Foundation-2nd CMU professor to win, NSF-CAREER, Heinz, Sloan Foundation, NIH). My specific interest lies in merging mechanics with cellular and molecular biology. We have conducted experiments to better understand transmembrane receptors, calcium signaling, and neural response, through cell mechanics at both the experimental and computational levels. We have developed collaborations with cell biologists and medical faculty to address transdisciplinary problems that have impact in engineering, biology, and medicine (PNAS, Nature Nanotechnology, PLoS ONE, Experimental Mechanics, Langmuir, Nature Protocols, Nature) in areas as diverse as malnutrition in 3rd world countries to synthetic systems to bioenergy.
  • 2. Biological "Systems"-Based Mechanical Engineering Approaches (Beckman Young Investigator-2nd CMU professor to win, DOE, NSF, ONR, AFOSR). An important goal of my work is to investigate biological systems with mechanical engineering approaches, which we enable by synthesizing novel technologies. We are working with biological systems ranging from mammalian cells to artificial cells to developmental systems using mechanical engineering approaches (solid mechanics, fluid dynamics, controls, design). (Nature Nanotechnology, Trends in Biotechnology, Applied Physics Letters, JACS, Advanced Materials, Nano Letters, Nature).

We also founded the Center for the Mechanics and Engineering of Cellular Systems (CMECS) at CMU including over 20 faculty members from engineering, biology, chemistry, physics, and computer science, with the goal of using mechanical engineering with cellular systems to address biological problems ranging from disease to bioenergy to malnutrition in third-world countries.