Fiorenzo G. Omenetto is the Frank C. Doble Professor of Engineering, and a Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Tufts University. He also holds appointments in the Department of Physics and the Department of Electrical Engineering.
His research interests are at the interface of technology, biologically inspired materials and the natural sciences with an emphasis on new transformative approaches for sustainable materials for high-technology applications.
He has proposed and pioneered the use of silk as a material platform for advanced technology with uses in photonics, optoelectronics and nanotechnology applications, is co-inventor on several disclosures (~100) on the subject, and is actively investigating applications of this technology base both for technical and design applications.
Prof. Omenetto was formerly a J. Robert Oppenheimer Fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratories, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a Tällberg Foundation Global Leader. He is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America and of the American Physical Society, and a Senior Member of SPIE. He was named one of the 50 top people in tech by Fortune magazine in a class including (among others) Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Larry Page, Shigeru Miyamoto. His research has been featured extensively in the press with coverage in the most important media outlets worldwide.
Stacie spent the first part of her career as a software engineer for a variety of software companies. Looking for new challenges, she joined Tufts' engineering department in 2014 and Silklab in 2018. Her focus as both a software engineer and as a lab manager has been to solve problems and create efficient processes so that her colleagues can be efficient with the work and research they are doing.
When not working in the lab, Stacie enjoys baking cookies and bringing those cookies into the lab. She also is the caring “pet parent” of two Maltese puppies, Izzi and Rozi, who sometimes get to share in her baked goods. She loves to exercise and be outdoors (recently started to play pickleball) and has a passion for theater and the arts.
Giulia studied Materials Engineering at the Politecnico di Milano in Italy, where she developed a passion for the nano-world. Intrigued by the phenomenon of structural colors, she pursued a Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge in the UK, investigating the optical properties of self-assembled photonic crystals. Currently, she holds the positions of Deputy Director and Research Assistant Professor at Silklab, where her primary research focus is on studying light management in natural systems. Giulia's research interests revolve around biophotonic structures, structural colors, as well as optical and electronic imaging, spectroscopy, and optical modeling.
Having grown up in a hardware store, Giulia cultivated a passion for big machinery and cooking. She is curious about all things marine-related and botanical oddities. If you're searching for her, you can usually find her at the microscope, captivated by the beauty of a shiny creature.
Marco was born in Bari in southern Italy. While in Bari he accomplished his Bachelors and Masters degree in biotechnology and a PhD in organic chemistry. He joined Silklab in 2019 to continue his studies on bioinspired materials and start new research on adhesive materials.
Marco is interested in gardening, board games, photography and many other things. He loves to read books about the history of science and is happy to strike up a conversation about politics, social customs, and philosophy.
Xuelian was born in Chongqing in China. Her major for her Bachelor's and Master's degree was materials science and engineering at Hunan University in China. The main topic during her master study was tests and evaluation of silicon- and silica-based anode materials for Li-ion batteries. Then, she earned a PhD at UCLouvain in Belgium and continued acquiring knowledge in the energy storage field and researching cathode materials for batteries as a research assistant. She joined Silklab in 2022 to investigate biomaterials for micro energy storage devices.
Xuelian loves doing yoga and cycling in the countryside. Very recently, she has become interested in watching talk shows. After work, she spends time with her little son and enjoys playing hide-and-seek with him.
Narendar was born in Hyderabad in India. He completed his Bachelors and Masters degree in Physics. He earned his Master of Technology and PhD in Physics from IIT Kharagpur, India, where he developed his passion for silk and its technology. He joined Silklab in 2023 to investigate silk structures for photonic and electronic devices. Before joining Silklab, he worked with Prof. Sunghwan Kim as a research assistant professor at Ajou University, Korea.
In his free time, he loves to read books about self-knowledge and enjoys watching movies.
Nick is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Tufts University. He received his Bachelor of Science in biochemistry from Western Washington University in 2015 where he then completed his Masters of Science in chemistry in 2017. While at WWu he worked with silk biomaterials in Amanda Murphy’s lab as a graduate technician in the Advanced Material Science and Engineering Center.
Nick’s current work focuses on creating new photoactive biomaterials based on silk fibroin. His goal is to engineer these materials to be used for 3D photofabrication of living tissues, with independent spatiotemporal control of the mechanical, biochemical, and cellular characteristics of the tissue. He hopes that these materials can advance the practice of true-3D tissue engineering and augment capabilities towards fabricating fully functional tissues and organs.
Outside of the lab Nick spends his time making 3D art, practicing martial arts, reading sci-fi novels, and drinking “truly excessive” volumes of coffee.
Jeff holds a B.S. in chemical and biomolecular engineering from Cornell University and has experience scaling emulsion and surfactant systems from the laboratory to production scale in the consumer goods space at Unilever.
After working in industry as a process engineer long enough to buy more bikes than the average Boston basement can fit, Jeff joined Silklab to work on developing biomaterials and biologically inspired composites, and is interested in how these new materials interact with the environment.
Despite being in the 95th percentile for height, Jeff is not great at basketball.
Taehoon’s journey towards engineering began with replicating gecko-inspired pillar arrays with conductive elastomeric compounds for an ECG monitoring skin patch. He earned his Master’s degree in material science and engineering from KAIST, Korea. To broaden his skills and knowledge in microfabrication, he worked at SK Hynix for a period, specializing in high aspect ratio contact etching for NAND devices. After experiencing the biomedical industry, Taehoon prepared to jump into his new life in the USA to pursue a PhD degree.
Taehoon, fascinated with a biomaterial that has been used since ancient times and excited to learn more about silk, joined Silklab in 2018. His research focuses on making silk-based biophotonic devices with perfectly smooth edges and symmetric geometry. In scientific terms, this kind of structure is called “whispering gallery mode microresonator”. With this silk microresonator he is developing bio-compatible laser particles that can be easily printed on any surface which will be applicable to cell-tagging, sensing, and many other fields.
Silklab regularly holds cooking competitions and, thanks to this event, Taehoon has learned that making food for his beautiful wife and friends is a great pleasure. He enjoys watching YouTube in his free time to learn how to cook and brew his favorite dishes and wines (Which he then disposes of into his stomach). “Come to think of it, I should’ve watched how to lose weight first, before trying to cook and enjoy these foods.”
Elisabetta is a PhD candidate at Silklab in the Biomedical Engineering Department at Tufts University. She earned her B.S. and M.S. in chemical engineering at Politecnico di Milano (Italy). While completing her M.S., she worked as a research assistant in the Laboratory for Advanced Biopolymers at MIT developing new biopolymer-based edible coatings to extend food shelf life.
Currently, Elisabetta's research is focused on the application of biomaterials for the development of new sustainable composite packaging systems with the dual aims of reducing synthetic plastic utilization and food waste.
Prior to embarking on his journey at Tufts University, Bryan earned a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering from Hofstra University. His time there was spent conducting research where he combined the use of ultrasound as a therapeutic device with electrical modeling. He has since joined the Silklab at Tufts University as a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. His research utilizes silk as a biomaterial in devices with a medical and environmental application.
When not in the lab, Bryan loves watching TV, listening and playing music, and supporting his New York sports teams, which he will not abandon even though he is in Massachusetts.
Before coming to Tufts, Jasio graduated with a B.S. double major in materials science & engineering and biomedical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, where he also stuck around for a M.S. in materials science & engineering. Prior to becoming a research assistant at Silklab, he worked in STEAM education and outreach, developing workshops and classes for kids K-12. These workshops covered topics from microbiology and geology to superhero science and the science of music.
Jasio has done research in many different labs but is most interested in the interactions between materials & people and materials & their environment. He is particularly interested in creating materials that mimic biological systems and materials that have tunable or responsive properties.
When he's not in the lab, Jasio enjoys reading superhero comics, collecting vinyls, and skateboarding.
Shonglin is an adaptive designer with a background in fashion. She is PhD student in the interdisciplinary program at Tufts University. She is a Research Assistant at Silklab where she will be working on harnessing the power of bio-fabrication and technology to generate reliable and scalable solutions for the design world.
In April 2022, she earned her MSc in Design for the Fashion System from Politecnico di Milano, Italy with a semester at Fashion Institute of Technology NYC, USA. For her research thesis, she worked on a potential biomaterial to replace Petro-chemical based surface design matter being used in the fashion industry. During her masters, she worked on multiple projects of digital fabrication, wearable technology, and material tinkering. Before pursuing her masters, she gained industry experience by working in the fashion industry of New York with renowned designers Zac Posen and Phillip Lim. Shonglin earned her B. Des. in Fashion Design from the Footwear Design and Development Institute, India. During her Bachelors, she interacted with various Indian artisans, learnt their crafts, and worked for the Fashion Design Council of India by assisting them in various roles for reputed fashion shows.
Having grown up for the most part in the world's biggest and most diverse democracy, India, diversity and inclusivity comes very naturally to Shonglin. She enjoys learning languages and is a polyglot, fluent in almost 6 languages. Whenever possible she enjoys exploring the city with friends, likes to learn the local crafts and she loves to cook various cuisines, especially Italian food from scratch.
Aslı started her career in the field of art and design by studying UAL Foundation Diploma at School of Design and Creative Arts at Loughborough University (UK) where she explored the different fields of her practice and worked on combining visual arts and 3D design with biology and science. Inspired by the ability of design to build bridges between different disciplines and solve both personal and global problems, she studied BA Product and Industrial Design at UAL Central Saint Martins (UK) where she practised research-led, user-centred product and UX design. During her studies, she worked as a Product Development Assistant at Ferah Textiles which inspired her to develop smart textile products using chemically sensing fabrics to help individuals detect and heal women's health-related problems for her thesis project.
Currently, she is a IDoc PhD student at Silklab, focusing on developing biological interfaces for health and investigating further the adaptations of high technologies to user-focused and innovative products with an interdisciplinary approach.
Aslı is from the multi-cultural city of İstanbul, which explains her interest in exploring different cultures and observing their artistic identities. One of her favorite hobbies is photographing her explorations and adapting them into photographic art and paintings. She also loves nature and tries her best to spend time outdoors even though she keeps choosing to live in the cities with harsh weather conditions.
Gianluca M. Farinola completed his PhD in 1996. He was an Assistant Professor from 1996, an Associate Professor from 2003, and since 2015 he has been a Full Professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Bari Aldo Moro.
He has been a visiting researcher at the University of Muenster, Germany (2009), an invited visiting professor at the University of Strasbourg, France (2013 and 2014) and at the University of Angers and CNRS, France (2015), and a visiting scholar at the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Tufts University, US (2017 and 2018), where he was appointed as Adjunct Professor in 2019.
Gianluca is a synthetic organic chemist who sets up new methods to produce photo- and electro-active molecules, supramolecular structures and materials for applications ranging from organic photonics and electronics to biology. In the last ten years, his research has opened intriguing directions by exploiting photosynthetic microorganisms (e.g. algae and bacteria) and biological polymers (e.g. melanin, fibroin, lignin, biosilica) as sources of sustainable materials for future optoelectronics and biomedicine. He has authored ~200 publications and given 110 invited lectures in Universities and Research Institutes. He is the PI of many national, international, and industrial research projects. He is a recipient of the Ciamician Medal of the Italian Chemical Society and of the “Innovation in Organic Synthesis Award” of the Interuniversitary Consortium CINMPIS. He was appointed as a Chemistry Europe Fellow in 2019.