Research

Research Areas

The Taylor Lab studies form and function in micro- and nanosystems. Using modern micro- and nanofabrication techniques we develop mechanical systems, including sensors and actuators, that exhibit extreme mechanical properties.

We are also interested in developing tools for experimental mechanobiology at the micro and nano scales, focusing specifically on cardiovascular biomechanics. Applications for our engineered systems range from drug develop assays to stretchable biosensors.

This work is currently supported by generous funding from the National Science Foundation, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the National Institutes of Health, the Samuel and Emma Winters Foundation, the Manufacturing Futures Initiative at CMU, and the Donald L. and Rhonda Struminger Faculty Fellowship.

Cellular and Molecular Biomechanics

  • Muscle cell contractile biomechanics

  • Novel and calibratable force sensors for measuring the force generation of stem-cell derived cardiomyocytes

Bio-inspired Micro- and Nanosystems

  • Strain-activated deformable actuators

  • Synthetic biomachines for reconstituting contractile machinery of muscle cells

  • Swimming microrobots capable of navigating capillaries

Biomanufacturing and Nanomanufacturing

  • Manufacturing processes for high-throughput assessment of yield and decoration of structural DNA nanosystems

  • Microfabrication approaches for creating microscale segmented robotic systems

  • Capturing tacit knowledge to accelerate learning of modern manufacturing processes like cell culture

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Laboratory and Equipment

Nikon Eclipse Ti2-E TIRF Microscope

With the support of a Dean's Equipment Grant, we have acquired an environmentally-controlled Nikon TIRF microscope. The system was installed summer 2017 and is now fully operational. CMU researchers interested in using this tool should contact the MMBL to arrange for training.

  • Motorized inverted microscope with 25mm field of view and Perfect Focus System 4

  • Motorized epifluorescence turret with following filter cubes: 350, 488, 546, 647 nm

  • DIC at 10x, 20x, 60x, 100x

  • Plan APO objectives at 10x, 20x, 100x (oil)

  • APO TIRF objective at 60x and 100x (both oil objectives)

  • TIRF with following laser lines: 488/561/640 nm

  • EMCCD camera: Andor DU897 LIFE with Hamamatsu Gemini Emission Splitter

  • sCMOS camera: Photometrics PRIME95B

  • Software: NIS Elements

  • OKO lab environmental control system with interlocks for laser safety

  • Miniscanner for Optogenetics, Stimulation, Activation and Bleaching equipped with following laser lines: 405/488/561 nm.

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Nikon Ti2e TIRF Microscope

Park NX10 AFM with SICM Module

The NX10 Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) is based on a flexure-based design which decouples XY and Z. With an achievable scan range of 100 μm in XY and 15 μm and 30 μm (with extended Z as we have configured to accommodate cell imaging) The Scanning Ion Conductance Microscopy (SICM) module makes this scanning probe instrument unique and expands the functionality of the NX10 to a wider range of applications including analytical chemistry, cell biology, electrophysiology and neuroscience. This instrument was funded by AFOSR DURIP award #FA9550-22-1-0147. For further information, see the detailed NX10 system specifications.

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Park NX10 AFM with SICM Module

Automated SAXS/WAXS Instrument

Coming late Spring 2022 to the Materials Characterization Facility at CMU: A new, automated SAXS/WAXS Instrument supported by NSF MRI Award #2117523. This instrument will support the development of cutting-edge nanostructured materials that have keys features ranging in size from Angstroms to hundreds of nanometers. To enable in situ and in operando characterization of structural properties, this custom, automated Xenocs Xeuss 3.0 x-ray scattering system will enable high-throughput studies at a variety of length scales. For further information, see the detailed Xeuss 3.0 system specifications at the Materials Characterization Facility website.

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Xenocs Xeuss 3 SAXS/WAXS instrument