Use of Anisotropic Nanostructures to Decipher Material-Cell Interfaces

illustration of cancer cells

Semcer Center for Healthcare Innovation

Location: UCC Techflex Auditorium

Speaker: Kwahun Lee, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Stevens Institute of Technology


Understanding the function and fate of cells under various stimuli is critical for innovating strategies in healthcare such as diagnostics and therapies. The inherent intricacies in biological processes, however, make it challenging to identify key factors regulating outcomes. Dr. Lee uses anisotropic nanomaterials as probes to determine nanoscale dynamics at material-cell interfaces, providing insights into improved targeted drug delivery and immune cell activations for cancer therapies. This talk will describe how two types of anisotropic structures – morphological and chemical anisotropy – can be used to examine cellular responses to nanoscale environmental variations. First, Lee will describe how the morphological anisotropy in branched structures offers advantageous optical properties to regulate real-time dynamics at the nanoparticle-cancer cell interface. Second, Lee will discuss how the chemical anisotropy in two-faced Janus particles can be used to unravel key factors to enhance T-cell activation and strengthen the binding to cellular membranes (i.e., lipid bilayer). Finally, Lee will outline his vision for developing (1) a novel sensing platform for probing protein phase separation; and (2) nanoparticle-based quantum probes for simultaneously monitoring the impact of physical and chemical stimuli.


Portrait of Kwahun Lee

Before joining Stevens, Kwahun was an American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Postdoctoral Fellow at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. He received his Ph.D. at Indiana University Bloomington (advisor: Prof. Yan Yu) and postdoctoral training at Northwestern University (advisor: Prof. Teri W. Odom). Before then, Kwahun obtained his master's and bachelor's degrees at Seoul National University (Seoul, South Korea). Kwahun's research provided fundamental insights into the biology of various types of cells by using a correlative approach of microscopy, spectroscopy, and biochemical assays.

Faculty profile: Kwahun Lee | Stevens Institute of Technology

Website: Veritas Lux Mea! (

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