Levich Institute Seminar – Tuesday, 05/09/2023

Tuesday, 05/09/2023
2:00 PM
Steinman Hall #312 

Professor Jamel Ali
Florida State University, Chemical and Biomedical Engineering

Bacteria Inspired Colloidal Swimmers for Propulsion in Complex Media

Simultaneous Zoom Link  [Please note passcode is required: blevich]


Significant research efforts are being devoted to the development of active colloidal systems for a number of diverse applications, ranging from microfabrication and environmental remediation, to microsurgery and the targeted delivery of therapeutics. With recent advancements in nanomanufacturing these once theoretical machines are beginning to be realized with the emergence of proof-of-concept devices. Yet, today we do not have the man-made tools and materials to produce wireless actuators with the on-board power and control systems necessary for completing tasks that are routine for their macroscale counterparts. In contrast, over billions of years nature has become very adept at producing large populations of complex organisms powered by molecular machines formed via self-assembly. For example, many microorganisms have evolved slender chiral body geometries, corkscrew like rotating filaments, and unique swimming gaits to take advantage of the viscous forces that dominate in low Reynolds number fluid environments. Taking inspiration from nature, this talk will introduce novel propulsion strategies and methods for producing biomimetic soft and rigid robotic colloidal swimmers that utilize design principles of microbial life. It will be demonstrated that these stimuli-responsive robotic swimmers can be wirelessly actuated using externally generated time-varying magnetic fields, mimicking the motion of various microorganisms in complex fluids. The development and control of these micro and nano sized active colloids will enable us to pursue their use as tools for probing cell biology, and in future in vitro and in vivo biomedical applications.


Jamel Ali is currently an Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at Florida A&M University–Florida State University (FAMU-FSU) College of Engineering in Tallahassee. He also holds an affiliation in the Condensed Matter Science group at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory. Prior to joining FAMU-FSU in 2018, he served as the Chief Technology Officer at Acrogenic Technologies in Rockville, MD. 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. His research is focused on the development of self-assembled nanobiomaterials for sensing, actuation, and transport applications. His awards include the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship, AFOSR Young Investigator Research Program (YIP) Award, ACS PRF Doctoral New Investigator Award, and the National Academies Granger Foundation Frontiers of Engineering Award. In 2021 he was named a Trailblazing Black Chemical Engineer by Chemical & Engineering News.


My current research is focused on the development of self-assembled nanobiomaterials for sensing, actuation, and transport applications. 

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