Electronic and biological systems represent two limiting thermodynamic models in terms of functioning and information processing. By converging the dynamic and self-adaptable features of bio-machinery and the rationally defined/programmed functionalities of electronic components, there is potential to evolve new capabilities to effectively interrogate and direct biologically significant processes, as well as novel bio-inspired systems/device concepts for a range of engineering applications. The intrinsic mismatch in physiochemical properties and signaling modality at biotic/abiotic interfaces, however, have made the seamless integration challenging. In this talk, I will present our recent effort in forging their structural and functional synergy through the design and development of: (1) bio-hybrid electronics, where living transducers, such as functional biomolecules, organelles, or cells, are integrated with electronic transducers using structured hydrogel as the interfacing material; and (2) biosynthetic electronics, where biogenic electron pathways are utilized to naturally bridge the gap between internal biological and external electrical circuits. Facilitating the cross-system communication, these efforts have the potential to blur the distinction between living and artificial systems and broadly impact how complex biological functions can be designed and defined.
Xiaocheng Jiang is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Tufts University. He received his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Harvard University with Professor Charles Lieber, with a focus on the design and application of nanoscale materials and nanoelectronic devices. Prior to joining Tufts, he was an American Cancer Society postdoctoral fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he worked with Prof. Mehmet Toner on functional microfluidics for early cancer diagnostics. His current research concentrates broadly at the interface of materials and biomedical science, with specific interests in bio-inspired/bio-integrable electronics. He is a recipient of NSF CAREER award (2017) and AFOSR young investigator award (2018).