Wyatt Shields
Assistant Professor
Chemical and Biological Engineering

Office: JSCBB D218


Ph.D., Duke University, Biomedical Engineering (2016)
B.S., University of Virginia, Biomedical Engineering (2011)

Research Interests

Soft Materials, Active Particles, Microfluidics, Self-Assembly, In Vitro Diagnostics, Colloid and Interface Science, Biosensors, Drug Delivery

With remarkable precision, nature assembles matter across length scales to create functional materials. These organized structures encode a rich variety of behaviors that emerge when stimulated by energy. Our group takes inspiration from these events and seeks to understand and apply them to tackle major challenges in medicine and society. For instance, our group draws inspiration from the ways in which molecules, proteins and cells interact and assemble as a means to create better materials; similarly, our group looks to the mechanisms by which cells and microorganisms navigate complex environments as a means to create microscale devices with precise targeting capabilities.

Our group works at the intersection of chemistry, soft matter physics and bioengineering to rationally design colloidal and super-colloidal particles for a range of applications. We have three guiding objectives: (i) to understand how particles interact in and out of equilibrium and, in turn, how to tailor their nanoscale and microscale properties (e.g., size, shape, composition) to control their behaviors; (ii) to apply insights from (i) to create collections of complex colloids that interface with biology and perform complex tasks (e.g., actuate and release encapsulated payloads); and (iii) to integrate our pipeline of new materials into microfluidic and other devices to enable the development of new diagnostic technologies and therapeutic strategies.