Location: E109 Complex, Engineering Bldg, Lawrence Technological University, 21000 W Ten Mile Rd, Southfield MI 48075

Director: Yawen Li, yli@ltu.edu, 248.204.2510


Mission statement: Integration of microfabrication technology with biology and medicine is producing a large array of BioMEMS devices that could revolutionize the biomedical investigation and clinical practice. The BioMEMS lab at Lawrence Tech was established in early 2010 with partial funding support from the Lawrence Tech Faculty Research Seed Grant. The lab is designed to perform multiple functions: a) to create teaching modules for a number of BME courses that demonstrate the fluid flow and cell behavior in a microenvironment; b) to train students with hands-on microfabrication skills; and c) to provide research opportunities for undergraduate students interested in interdisciplinary BioMEMS projects. The ultimate goal of the BioMEMS lab is to increase the pool of students that have both knowledge of microtechnology and an interest in applying it to medically and biologically relevant problems.


The BioMEMS lab consists of two areas

  1. Polymer microdevice fabrication area:Polymer BioMEMS offer unique advantages over Si or glass based microdevices in providing a biocompatible, versatile and low cost platform for cell-based studies. We are currently focusing on fabricating poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) based microdevices using soft lithography.

  2. Wet prep area: This area is used for modification and testing of the microdevices, as well as processing of other biomaterials and nanostructured coatings.

Major equipment:

  • PE-100 plasma etcher

  • Spin coater

  • Convective oven

  • Laminar flow hood

  • Fume hood

  • Stereo microscope

  • ultrasonic cleaner

  • syringe pump

Ongoing research projects

c_bio1. Design of a microfluidic system for living cell culturing and functional evaluation. 
The system can be used as a generic platform to study the behavior of various types of cells under microenvironment with improved efficiency. Advantages of such a system include small sample size, reduced assay time, and the possibility of high throughput screening.

d2. Modeling of BioMEMS.
This is funded by the Lawrence Tech Faculty Research Seed Grant, and conducted in collaboration with Dr. Guang-Chong Zhu in mathematics of the School of Arts and Sciences. COMSOL is used to simulate the fluid flow under microenvironment. Comparison of the modeling results with experiments provides guidance to our BioMEMS device design.

3. Biocompatibility evaluation of nanostructured carbon materials
. This is conducted in collaboration with Dr. Olena Palyvoda in the Smart Sensor and Integrated Microsystems (SSIM) program at Wayne State University. There has been great interest in exploring the coupling of cells and biomolecules with nanostructured carbon for applications in biosensors, drug delivery and other bioimplants. Despite the inherent bioinertness of carbon, biocompatibility evaluation of the nanostructured carbon materials is needed since the surface chemistry and state of the nanomaterial directly influences the protein adsorption and cell adhesion, thus dictating the cell behavior and material. Current study focuses on the interactions of osteoblasts with nanostructured diamond coatings treated with different functional groups. Results from this study provide guidelines for the design of biocompatible coatings for orthopedic implants with improved tribological performance.


Ligament tissue engineering. Damages to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) are one of the most common sports related injuries with an incidence of 1 in 3000. Tissue engineering provides a promising alternative solution to surgery to fix this problem. Three BME students (Allison Andre, Danielle, Beski, Erick Blank) are conducting their senior project to build a bioreactor and apply mechanical stimulation for regeneration and faster healing of the ligament tissue. Advisors of this project include Dr. Yawen Li, Dr. Hsiao-Ping Moore, and Prof. Ken Cook. Tristan Maerz, a former BME graduate from Lawrence Tech, now working as a research engineer in the Orthopedic Research Department at the William Beaumont Hospital, serves as consultant to this project.



Dr. Hsiao-Ping Moore, Dean of Arts and Sciences, Lawrence Tech

Dr. Gregory Auner, Director, Smart Sensor and Integrated Microsystems  (SSIM)program, Wayne State University

Dr. Gary Barber, Director, Automotive Tribology Center, Oakland University