Wyatt Shields
Assistant Professor

Office: JSCBB D218


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


  • Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring, Duke University, 2016
  • Exceptional Student Award by the International Society for Advancement of Cytometry, 2013 & 2015
  • NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, 2012-2015

Selected Publications

  • Ohiri, U; Shields IV, CW; Han, K; Tyler, T; Velev, OD; Jokerst, N. “Engineered reconfigurable motile semiconductor microparticles,” Nature Communications 2018. 9(1): 1791.
  • Shields IV, CW; Han, K; Ma, F; Miloh, T; Yossifon, G; Velev, OD. “Supercolloidal spinners: Complex active particles for electrically powered and switchable rotation,” Advanced Functional Materials 2018. 28(35): 1803465.
  • Shields IV, CW; White, JP; Osta, EG; Patel, J; Rajkumar, S; Kirby, N; Therrien, JP; Zauscher, S. “Encapsulation and controlled release of retinol from silicone particles for topical delivery,” Journal of Controlled Release 2018. 278: 37-48.
  • Han, K; Shields IV, CW; Diwakar, NM; Bharti, B; López, GP; Velev, OD. “Sequence-encoded colloidal origami and microbot assemblies from patchy magnetic cubes,” Science Advances 2017. 3(8). e1701108.
  • Shields IV, CW; Wang, JL; Ohiri, KA; Essoyan, ED; Yellen, BB; Armstrong, AJ; López, GP. “Microfluidic device for separating cancer cells from whole blood: acoustically enhanced magnetic sorting and single cell templating,” Lab on a Chip 2016. 16(19): 3833-3844.
  • Wang, PY; Shields IV, CW; Zhao, T; Jami, H; López, GP; Kingshott, P. “Rapid self-assembly of shaped microtiles into large, close-packed crystalline monolayers on a solid surface,” Small 2016. 12(2): 1309-1314.
  • Shields IV, CW; Sun, D; Johnson, K; Duval, K; Rodriguez, AV; Gao, L; Dayton, PA; López, GP. “Nucleation and growth synthesis of functional, monodisperse and acoustically programmable particles,” Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2014. 53(31): 8070-8073.

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.