Presenter Bios

in alphabetical order

Mark G. Allenmark-allen
Scientific Director, Singh Center for Nanotechnology
Alfred Fitler Moore Professor
Electrical and Systems Engineering
Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics
University of Pennsylvania

Mark G. Allen received the B.A. degree in chemistry, the B.S.E. degree in chemical engineering, and the B.S.E. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and the S.M. and Ph.D. (1989) degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge. In 1989 he joined the faculty of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, ultimately holding the rank of Regents’ Professor and the J.M. Pettit Professorship in Microelectronics, as well as a joint appointment in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. While at Georgia Tech, he held several additional positions, including Senior Vice Provost for Research, Director of the Georgia Electronic Design Center, and Executive Director of the Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology. In 2013 he left Georgia Tech to become the Alfred Fitler Moore Professor of Electrical and Systems Engineering and Scientific Director of the Singh Nanotechnology Center at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA. His research interests are in the development and the application of new micro- and nanofabrication technologies, as well as MEMS. Dr. Allen was Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering, was a previous co-chair of the IEEE/ASME MEMS Conference and the PowerMEMS Conference. He has co-founded multiple companies based on micro and nanotechnology, including CardioMEMS, Inc., and Axion Biosystems. He is a Fellow of the IEEE.

Igor Bargatin
Class of 1965 Term Assistant Professor
Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics (MEAM)

Igor Bargatin received the B.S. degree in theoretical physics from the Lomonosov Moscow State University, and the Ph.D. degree in physics and electrical engineering from the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena. After postdoctoral appointments at LETI/Minatec (Grenoble, France) and Stanford University, he became the Class of 1965 Term Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics (MEAM), University of Pennsylvania. Prof.Bargatin’s research interests are focused on micro- and nanomechanical structures for new applications in energy conversion and fabrication of ultra-lightweight materials.


Daphney Chery

Daphney Chery obtained her MS degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in 2012 and is currently completing her PhD degree at the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems at Drexel University. Her research focuses on investigating the role of decorin in the mechanical and structural properties of the pericellular matrix (PCM) of cartilage during maturation and during OA progression. By combining film-assisted cryo-sectioning, immunofluorescent imaging, and atomic force microscopy, she developed a new method to directly measure the mechanical properties of murine knee cartilage PCM and examine the impacts of decorin deficiency on the PCM mechanical properties. Daphney’s recent work has also been accepted as podium presentations in various conferences such as the Orthopaedics Research Society, American Physical Society and the Summer Biomechanics, Bioengineering and Biotransport Conference.


Eric Detsi

Eric’s primary research interests involve the novel design and synthesis of metal-based 3D nanostructured materials with enhanced properties for structural and functional applications. His approach is to apply the natural sciences, primarily physics and chemistry, to solve engineering problems. In particular, Eric exploits the crystal structure of multiphase non-precious metal alloys to engineer nanoporous materials with hierarchical porosity after selective leaching. Hierarchical porous structures are attractive as alloy-type anode materials in alkali and alkaline-earth metals batteries, because the macropores (50-1000 nm) are needed for long range electrolyte diffusion through the material, while the mesopores (2-50 nm) and micropores (< 2 nm) are needed to create high-surface area and short diffusion paths for alkali or alkaline-earth metals. More importantly, micro and mesopores are needed to accommodate the large volume changes taking place in high-capacity alloy-type battery anodes during their alloying reactions with alkali or alkaline-earth metals. Eric also takes advantage of state-of-the-art thin film deposition techniques such as plasma-enhanced atomic layer deposition, combined with his expertise in top-down nanofabrication by selective leaching, to engineer novel 3D nanocomposites for critical energy applications.


Dr. , Ph.D., M.D.
Horatio C. Wood Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care
Professor of Bioengineering
Institute for Medicine and Engineering,
Cardiovascular Institute and
Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics
University of Pennsylvania

David M. Eckmann, PhD, MD, is the Horatio C. Wood Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care and Professor of Biomedical Engineering. Dr. Eckmann is American Board of Anesthesiology certified with expertise in biofluid dynamics and cardiopulmonary physiology. His research focus includes experimental and computational research techniques in i) targeted drug delivery, including development of nanoparticles for vascular targeting; ii) thin film surface coatings for biocompatibility of biomaterials as well as drug elution and antimicrobial protection; and iii) the interrelationship between cell mechanics and cellular bioenergetics. As a PI Dr. Eckmann has been continuously funded by NIH for over 20 years and has also received multiple grants from NSF, Department of Defense, Office of Naval Research and NASA. Dr. Eckmann received his BS in Bioengineering from the University of California, San Diego, and his MD as well as his PhD in Bioengineering from Northwestern University.


Harman Khare

Harman Khare is the Manager of Research Projects in the Nanotribology Lab of Prof. Robert Carpick, at the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics. His research is focused on developing an improved understanding of nanoscale friction and wear mechanisms of additives in next-generation, ultra-low viscosity automotive lubricants using in-situ atomic force microscopy (AFM). His broader research interests are in multi-scale mechanics of sliding interfaces, the tribology of lubricant additives, polymer nanocomposites and surface coatings for automotive and aerospace applications, and advanced AFM-based techniques in nanomanufacturing. Prior to joining Penn, Harman was in the Materials Tribology Laboratory at the University of Delaware, where he obtained his PhD in 2014.


John S. Lettow
President, Vorbeck Materials Corp.

John is the president and co-founder of Vorbeck Materials Corp. The company develops specialty electronics for wearable devices, as well as batteries and other components based on a fundamental new material technology – graphene. Customers include leading consumer goods and apparel companies, electronics, and aerospace companies. John has experience in technology development, start-up companies, and consulting with a focus on materials innovations in the electronics and energy industries. John received a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from MIT, an M.Phil. in engineering from the University of Cambridge (UK) as a Fulbright Scholar, a BSE in chemical engineering from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. John serves on the Advisory Board for the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Princeton University, and he has served on the Advisory Board for the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship.


Dr. Somenath Mitra
Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Environmental Science at New Jersey Institute of Technology

He received his BS in Chemical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, MS in Environmental Engineering and PHD in Analytical Chemistry from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL in 1988. He was a National Research Council Fellow at US EPA, Research Triangle Park from 1988 to 1991 before joining NJIT.

His current research focuses on nanotechnology and their applicaiotions in energy and the environment. In the nanotechnology arena his group has worked on novel microwave induced approached for purification and functionalization of nanocarbons such as carbon nanotubes, graphene oxide and nanodiamonds. The group has used nanocarbons and in particular carbon nanotubes in applications such as flexible batteries, solar cells and sea water desalination. His work has been funded by US Army, ONR, US EPA, NSF, NIH, NIEHS, Electric Power Research Institute and US DOE.

He is the coauthor/editor of two books, has over 165 peer reviewed journal publications and over two hundred and fifty conference presentations. He also hold 11 US patents on his research. He is the two time winner of Thomas Elva Edison Patent Award from the State of New Jersey (2009, 2014), Innovator Award from the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame (2014), was inducted as a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (2016) and the winner of Benedetti Pichler award from the Microchemical Society of America (2017).


Yuan Tang
Research Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering

Yuan Tang is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Temple University. He earned his doctorate in Biomedical Engineering from Florida International University. He served as a post-doctoral fellow at Widener University prior to joining Temple University. His current research interests are the development of targeted drug delivery systems utilizing natural or induced inflammatory responses in human endothelium, including the synthesis and characterization of nano-sized drug carriers, drug payload internalization and controlled release. The work conducted by Dr. Yuan Tang is motivated but not restricted by applications in the fields of nanotechnology, molecular imaging, drug delivery and radiation oncology. Dr. Yuan Tang has several publications in high-impact peer-reviewed journals such as Nanomedicine and Pharmaceutical Research.


Dr. George Patrick Watson (Pat)
Director of User Programs
Singh Center for Nanotechnology

bio coming soon.


Dr. Eric Wickstrom
PhD, Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Dr. Wickstrom has published over 180 papers, reviews, and chapters, as well as 7 patents and two books, on molecular design, nucleic acid structure, gene function, mRNA translation, protein structure, and cell biology. Dr. Wickstrom and his colleagues design, model, synthesize, purify, analyze, and test RNA analogs for use as diagnostics and therapeutics against pathogenic RNAs.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science recognized the research program of Dr. Wickstrom inducting him as a Fellow. Similarly, the National Academy of Inventors has inducted Dr. Wickstrom as a Member. The Hip Society conferred upon him a Frank Stinchfield Award for “Titanium Surface with Biologic Activity Against Infection”. The European Molecular Biology Organization, the Max Planck Institut für Molekulare Genetik, and the US National Cancer Institute have all selected Dr. Wickstrom to be a Visiting Fellow.

As PI or Co-PI of federal and foundation grants, including an SBIR grant, he pioneered complementary oligonucleotide inhibition of oncogene mRNA translation in cancer cells [1] and animal tumors [2], plus whole body radioimaging of oncogene mRNA overexpression [3].

Short peptide nucleic acid (PNA) sequences can hybridize with single mismatch specificity under cytoplasmic conditions [3], without side effects. Peptide ligands of overexpressed receptors internalize cargos conjugated to the ligands. Dr. Wickstrom and his colleagues designed, modeled, synthesized, purified, analyzed, and tested complementary RNA analog hybridization agents that endocytose into the cytoplasm of cells to inhibit oncogene mRNA translation in cancer cells [2] and tumors [3], targeting the oncogenes MYCC, HRAS, and CCND1.

Similarly, Dr. Wickstrom and his colleagues created radionuclide-chelator-peptide nucleic acid (PNA)-IGF1 tetrapeptide hybridization agents that endocytosed into cells via IGF1R and enabled imaging of the mRNAs of oncogenes CCND1, MYCC, KRAS2, and HER2, by 99mTc SPECT, 111In SPECT, or 64Cu PET [3]. Chelation of Gd(III) in lieu of a radiometal enabled us to visualize activated KRAS2 mRNA by MRI.

To assist our Orthopedic Surgery colleagues, Dr. Wickstrom and his colleagues designed, modeled, synthesized, analyzed, and tested titanium alloy permanently bonded to vancomycin or daptomycin to preclude Staphylococcus infections of orthopedic implants [4].

Dr. Wickstrom and his colleagues currently design novel genetic medicines to slow the growth of triple negative breast cancer cells, induce immune cell attack, and extend survival. They discovered a new principle in the genetic code of triple negative breast cancer cells [5]. Dr. Wickstrom and his colleagues are optimizing a particular molecular design for the triple negative breast cancer medicine that works best in orthotopic triple negative breast cancer xenografts. They will develop that genetic medicine for therapy in humans. The underlying principle is that short RNA derivatives can hybridize to RNA with single mismatch specificity under cytoplasmic conditions, following receptor-mediated endocytosis.

In September, he will give an invited lecture on “microRNA Blockade in Triple Negative Breast Cancer Cells and Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Cells without Passenger Strand Side Effects” at the 7th Cambridge Symposium on Nucleic Acids at Queens’ College in Cambridge, England. In summary, Dr. Wickstrom has a track record for innovation and execution of novel ideas in disease mechanisms.


Jeffery D. Zahn
Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering

Jeffrey D. Zahn is an associate professor of Biomedical Engineering at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. He graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in 1995, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering and a minor in Biology. He received his doctorate from the Joint UCSF-UC Berkeley Graduate Group in Bioengineering in 2001. Dr. Zahn’s research focuses around the development of microfluidic and BioMEMS devices for point of care clinical diagnostics and health management. Since receiving tenure, Dr. Zahn’s research combines analytical and numerical modeling of microscale phenomena with device design, fabrication, and testing of microfluidic components in an adaptive and iterative process for device optimization. Dr. Zahn’s current research projects include: the development of a ‘smart’ electroporation microdevice to improve cell transformation efficiency while preserving viability in limited cell populations, neural cell culture platforms creating mini-neurocircuits, multielectrode arrays and flexible cortical neural probes to reduce tissue response and gliosis to preserve recording fidelity. Dr. Zahn has been supported by the NIH, NSF, and New Jersey Commission on Spinal Cord Research (NJCSCR) as well as a recipient of a Wallace H. Coulter Foundation Early Career Translational Research in Biomedical Engineering award.

Yuping Zeng, Electrical & Computer Engineering

Yuping Zeng
Assistant Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering
University of Delaware

Dr. Yuping Zeng is currently an assistant professor in University of Delaware.  She has been working on various projects on III-V compound semiconductor electron devices, such as InAs Tunneling Field Effect Transistors (TFETs), Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistors (MOSFETs), Fin Field Effect Transistors (FinFETs). She received her PhD degree in Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in 2011. During her PhD study, she worked on optimizations of design and fabrication process of high speed InP/GaAsSb double heterojunction bipolar transistors (DHBTs) under Prof. Colombo Bolognesi. She obtained her Master degree in National University of Singapore where her main research was on nanoscale material process and characterizations. She is one of the 20 gift-young students who were selected to Jilin University at the age of 15 in 1994 for a gift-young university program in China and obtained her Bachelor’s degree when she was less than 19. Several facets of her research activity are reflected in 30 journal papers and 15 international conference papers. Dr. Zeng is a recipient of the 2009 Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-financed Students Abroad. Her research interests are continued on advanced devices and systems for low power applications and high performance applications by innovations in device design, material design and fabrication technology.