Emerging soft bioelectronics can eliminate the profound mechanical mismatch between soft biological tissues and conventional rigid electronic devices and can find broad applications in fundamental biological research, clinical healthcare, and robotic interface, among others. Despite significant progress achieved during the past decade, challenges still exist regarding their long-time usability, scalable manufacturing, and customized healthcare and robotic applications. In this talk, I will mainly present our research on developing extracellular-matrix-inspired multifunctional porous soft materials with high breathability, strain-insensitive electrical properties (mechanical-electrical decoupling), and outstanding antibacterial and antivirus capability. The combination of these unique characteristics can enable multifunctional porous soft bioelectronics with long-term biocompatibility and long-lasting recording accuracy (motion-artifact free) to transform their long-time usability. The application demonstrations include concurrent monitoring of cardiac electrical and mechanical functions, cuff-free blood pressure measurement, monitoring of human cerebral activity, human-machine interaction, and near-field-communication-based wireless powering and biosensing of sweat biochemicals, as well as Janus multimodal wearable devices that can collect comprehensive information from human skin, human breath, and environments. After this, I will simply introduce our recent efforts to develop biomimetic soft materials with muscle tissue-like mechanical and electrical anisotropies. The application example is an artificial muscle with the biological tissue-like self-protection capability (strain-tailored stiffness), which can serve as the basis for the construction of humanoid soft robots. In the end, I will briefly overview our future research plans, which include enabling solution-based scalable manufacturing of multifunctional porous soft bioelectronics, developing closed-loop, customized porous soft bioelectronics for heart diseases management and chronic wounds treatment, and designing and mechanically assembling three-dimensional bioelectronics with customized multimodalities and geometries for fundamental tissue physiological and pathological studies.
About the Speaker
Dr. Zheng Yan is an assistant professor at the Department of Chemical & Biomedical Engineering and the Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering of the University of Missouri-Columbia (MU). He received his Ph.D. from Rice University (2009-2013) and did his postdoc training at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2013-2017) before joining the faculty at MU in August 2017. His Soft Materials and Bio-Electronics (SMBE) Laboratory aims to advance the science and technology of soft bioelectronics at the intersection of mechanics, materials, biology, and electronics to bring solutions to grand challenges faced in human healthcare and robotic interface. Thus far, he has published about 80 research articles, and his h-index is 48. Dr. Yan is a recipient of the NSF CAREER Award and the UM System President's Award for Early Career Excellence.
Host: Professor Taher Saif