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Biophysical and Biomedical Measurement Group

Advancing measurement science, fabrication, and technology to enable the quantification of biological phenomena across scales, from single molecules and cells to tissues.

The Biophysical and Biomedical Measurement Group engineers and fabricates custom chips, sensors, and nanostructures that enable measurements across scales from the biomolecular to cellular and tissue levels. These devices and systems provide the means to quantify dynamic biological phenomena of single molecules and molecular ensembles, cellular properties, cell-material and cell-cell interactions, tissue responses to drugs, and metabolic processes, as well as provide basic metrology for biomedical systems (pressure, flow, size, temperature, optical, electrical, and mechanical properties). Our projects and programs support innovation and commercialization of cell-based measurement tools (e.g., organ-on-chip and flow cytometry), cell-derived therapies (e.g., stem cell and CAR T cells), and biomonitoring/control systems (e.g., drug delivery). Moreover, they serve as a foundation for future growth in wearable and implantable devices (wireless communication, sensors, and flexible materials), as well as quantitative imaging and sensing, including linking chemical with physical information. We also develop fundamental measurement techniques and supporting theoretical frameworks for biological processes at the biomolecular level, such as conformational transitions during signaling, activation, and drug metabolism. Many of these techniques incorporate biological elements into nanoscale and microscale devices for high-sensitivity detection and characterization of analytes (biomolecules, drugs, metabolites, ions, and other molecular matter) and sequencing of nucleic acids and proteins. Overall, the Group aims to produce devices that allow biologists and biomedical researchers, in both basic and applied settings, access to advanced measurement methods and platforms that promote innovation in the future bioeconomy and improve quality of life.

News and Updates

Projects and Programs

Molecular Physiology

The natural world is a magnificent place with observable, via measurement and inference, physical structures spanning at least 43 orders of magnitude in space

Optofluidic Cytometry

This NIST-wide collaborative project aims to improve biotechnology and medical diagnostics by increasing the resolution and precision of measurements of cells

Electronic Biophysical Measurements

Chipscale electronic devices such as field-effect transistors (FETs) are being developed for biochemical applications ranging from clinical diagnostics to

Multi-Organ Microphysiological Systems

Ninety percent of clinical trials fail because new drugs are often not effective or turn out to be more toxic than estimated with data from animal trials. We


Engineering Nanopore Approaches toward Protein Sequencing

Xiaojun Wei, Tadas Penkauskas, Joseph Reiner, Mark Uline, Qian Wang, Sheng Li, Aleksei Aksimentiev, Joseph Robertson, Chang Liu
Biotechnological innovations have vastly improved the capacity to perform large-scale protein studies, while the methods we have of identifying and quantifying

Mechanical Regulation of Oral Epithelial Barrier Function

Eun Jin Lee, Yoontae Kim, Paul Salipante, Anthony Kotula, Dana Graves, Stella Alimperti
Epithelial cell function is modulated by mechanical forces imparted by the extracellular environment. The transmission of forces onto the cytoskeleton by



MOSAIC is a modular single-molecule analysis toolbox to decode multi-state single-molecule and nanopore time-series data. Read the documentation for additional


Press Coverage

Scientists unveil new 'heart-on-a-chip'

Live Science
So-called heart-on-a-chip systems may enable scientists to evaluate the safety and efficacy of new drugs more accurately than they can with animal tests.


Group Leader

Group Secretary