Texas Tech University

Biomaterials and Surface Engineering Laboratory

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Welcome to the Li Lab! The Li research group at Texas Tech are focusing on combining cutting-edge microfluidics, soft materials and high throughput nano-assembly techniques to develop novel functional polymer surfaces and devices for biomedical and energy applications.

Currently, we have positions opening for highly motivated students and postdocs. Please send emails to wei.li@ttu.edu if you are interested.

Wei Li
Wei Li
Assistant Professor

Lab News

  • February, 2020, Our lab received a 3-yr $425k grant from the National Science Foundation to study the fundamental aspects of hyperuniform patterned microchips for cancer research.  This work is in collaboration with Dr. Yang Jiao from Arizona State University, and Dr. Robert Bright from TTUHSC.
  • February, 2020, Dr. Li received Tenure (effective immediately) and promotion to Associate Professor (effective Sept. 1st, 2020). Thanks to all group members and alumni. 
  • December, 2019, Dr. Kun Miao joined the lab as a visiting scholar. Welcome!
  • December, 2019, Dr. Wenwen Wang joined the lab as a visiting scholar. Welcome!
  • November, 2019, Our lab was awarded 2020 TTU Scholarship Catalyst Program to develop visual artwork using humidity-responsive color film. This work will collaborate with Dr. Jiawei Gong from TTU School of Art.
  • November, 2019, Our work on color-changing film was highlighted in TTU Discovery: “Color-changing Film Could Provide Solutions to Counterfeiting and More”.
  • November, 2019, Dr. Li presented our recent work on hydrogels and humidity-sensitive LbL films at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Conference in Orlando. He also chaired one of the “BioMaterials” sessions.
  • October, 2019, Our collaborative paper on "Design, synthesis, and evaluation of compounds capable of reducing Pseudomonas aeruginosa virulence" was accepted for publication in European Journal of Medical Chemistry. Congratulations!
  • October, 2019, Our paper on "Simulation of circulating tumor cell transport and adhesion in cell suspensions in microfluidic devices" was accepted for publication in Biomicrofluidics. Congratulations to Zhenya!
  • October, 2019, Our collaborative paper on "Nanoparticle Modification of Microfluidic Cell Separation for Cancer Cells Detection and Isolation" was accepted for publication in Analyst. Congratulations to Ziye!
  • September, 2019, Dr. Ziye Dong left the Li lab and started his postdoc position at the Lawrence Livermore National Lab. We wish you all the best for your future endeavors!
  • August, 2019, Ph.D. student Md Nayeem Hasan Kashem joined the lab. Welcome!
  • August, 2019, Dr. Li and Dr. Ya-Wen Chang co-organized the 8th Annual Texas Soft Matter Meeting at the Texas Tech Innovation Hub. Ziye Dong won one of the four the best poster awards. Congratulations to Ziye!
  • July, 2019, Our paper on "Photo-Patternable Nanolayered Polymeric Films with Fast Tunable Color Responses Triggered by Humiditye" was accepted for publishing in Advanced Functional Materials. Congratulations to Ziye and all co-authors!
  • June, 2019, High school student Audrey Nguyen joined the lab as a summer research intern. She is the one of the twelve Clark Scholars selected by the Honors College at Tech. Welcome!
  • June, 2019, Undergraduate student Amy Yang from UT Austin joined the lab as a summer research intern. Welcome!
  • June, 2019, Ph.D. student Karl Gardner joined the lab. Welcome!
  • May, 2019, Dr. Li gave an invited presentation on "Microfluidic Chips for Isolation and Release of Circulating Lung-Cancer Cells" at The International Society for Aerosols in Medicine (ISAM) Congress 2109, in Montreux, Switzerland.
  • May, 2019, Ziye Dong successfully defended his Ph.D. Dissertation and is officially Dr. Dong. Congratulations!
  • April, 2019, Dr. Li gave an invited talk on "Nanostructured biodegradable multilayered films for cell isolation and recovery" at ACS Spring National Meeting in Orlando.
  • March, 2019, Dr. Li gave an invited talk at the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department at the Ohio State University. The title of the talk is "Biodegradable multilayered nanofilms for cell isolation and recovery".
  • March, 2019, Our joint book chapter on "Nanomedicine and Nanoemulsion in Increasing the Availability of Antibiotics" was accepted for publication in “Antibacterial Drug Discovery to combat MDR” by Springer.
  • March, 2019, Our paper on "Microfluidic Preparation, Post Shrinkage, and Surface Modification of Monodispersed Alginate Microbeads for 3D Cell Culture" was accepted for publishing in RSC Advances. Congratulations to Dan and Ziye!
  • February, 2019, Our collaborative work with Dr. Kendra Rumbaugh from TTUHSC received an NIH R21 Grant use a new “wound-on-a-chip” model to investigate biofilm formation in wounds and fight antibiotic resistance.
  • January, 2019, Dr. Oladayo Olaniran joined the lab as a visiting scholar. Welcome!
  • January, 2019, Our collaborative work with Dr. Fakhrul Ahsan from TTUHSC received an NIH R01 Grant to develop a biomimetic “lung-on-a-chip” model to study Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH).
  • November, 2018, Ph.D. student Celine R. Garcia joined the lab. Welcome!
  • November, 2018, Our work on effective reduction of blood Cells in a microfluidic Chip for isolation of cancer cells was highlighted in TTU Discovery: “Capturing Cancer Cells in the Act”.
  • November, 2018, Our paper on "Hyperuniform flow fields resulting from hyperuniform configurations of circular disks" was accepted for publishing in Physical Review E. Congratulations to Zhenya!
  • October, 2018, Ziye won the first place in Graduate Student Award in Biomaterials Session (8B) at the AIChE annual conference in Pittsburgh. Congratulations to Ziye!
  • October, 2018, Qingye's paper on "Enhanced Adsorption Behaviors of Co2+ on Robust Chitosan Hydrogel Microspheres Derived from Alkali Solution System: Kinetics and Isotherm Analysis" was published in RSC Advances. Congratulations to Qingye and all co-authors !
  • October, 2018, Our paper on "Effective Reduction of Non-Specific Binding of Blood Cells in a Microfluidic Chip for Isolation of Rare Cancer Cells" was published in Biomaterials Science and featured as inside front cover. Congratulations to Dan and all co-authors !
  • July, 2018, Visiting student Yinggui Wang joined the lab. She is a M. S. student from Prof. Jiangyu Wu's group in the Department of Materials and Engineering at Wuhan Institute of Technology. Welcome!
Bio-materials Science Book Cover
  • July, 2018, Dr. Li visited People's Hospital of Zhengzhou University (Henan Provincial People's Hospital) and gave an invited talk on Biomaterials and Translational Medical Applications.
  • July, 2018, Our paper on "Enhanced Capture and Release of Circulating Tumor Cells Using Hollow Glass Microspheres with Nanostructured Surface" was published in Nanoscale. Congratulations to Ziye and all co-authors !
  • May, 2018, Our lab received Spark Funds from TTU GLEAMM to develop electro-active polymer materials as smart components for microgrid systems.
  • April, 2018, Our paper on "Electroresponsive Homogeneous Polyelectrolyte Complex Hydrogels from Naturally Derived Polysaccharides" was published in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering. Congratulations to Qingye and all co-authors !
  • March, 2018, HyunTaek Lim successfully defended his Master thesis. Congratulations!
  • December, 2017, Dr. Li has been awarded WCOE Whitacre Research Award for research growth. Thanks to all group members for your hardwork!
  • November, 2017, Ziye Dong successfully passed his PH.D. qualify exam. Congratulations!
  • November, 2017, Dr. Li presented our work on exosomes-mediated drug resistance for cancer cells at the CPRIT Innovation Conference in Austin.
  • November, 2017, Dr. Li gave a talk on LbL nanofilms for cancer cells at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Conference in Minneapolis. He also chaired one of the “Biomimetic Materials” sessions.
  • October, 2017, Our work on isolation of cancer cells in blood was highlighted on TTU Discovery: “Fishing for One Bad Cell Out of Trillions of Good Ones”.
  • October, 2017, Dr. Li presented our work on developing biodegradable nanofilms for cell isolation and recovery at the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) Conference in Phoenix. He also chaired one of the “Cancer Technologies” sessions.
  • August, 2017, Our lab received CPRIT High Impact/High Risk Research Awards to develop microchips that can isolate circulating tumor cells and distinguish their subpopulations.
  • August, 2017, Ziye Dong has been awarded a Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) Graduate Student Design and Research Award. Ziye was selected for the award based on his work on isolation and recovery of cancer cells from blood. He will receive the award during the plenary session at the National BMES meeting in October, and deliver an oral presentation during the “Cancer Technologies” session. Congratulations to Ziye!
  • August, 2017, Our review paper on "Engineering Cell Aggregates through Incorporated Polymeric Microparticles" was accepted for publication in Acta Biomaterialia. Congratulations to Caroline and Ziye!
  • July, 2017, Our collaborative paper on "Label-free, high-throughput holographic screening and enumeration of tumor cells in blood" was accepted for publication in Lab on a Chip. Congratulations to Caroline!
  • June, 2017, Our collaborative paper on "Elastocapillary bundling of high aspect-ratio metallic glass nanowires" was accepted for publication in Applied Physics Letters. Congratulations to Ziye!
  • June, 2017, Dr. Li gave an invited talk at Sogang University, Seoul, Korea.
  • June, 2017, Dr. Li gave an invited talk at the Layer-by-Layer 2017 Conference in Seoul, Korea. HyunTaek Lim also presented a research poster.
  • May, 2017, Ziye Dong received the third place in the Graduate Student Research Fair. Congratulations to Ziye!
  • April, 2017, Dr. Li gave an invited talk in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at University of Maryland College Park. The title of the talk was “Biodegradable Multilayered Nanofilms for Cell Isolation and Recovery".
  • April, 2017, Our paper on "Cell Isolation and Recovery Using Hollow Glass Microspheres Coated with Nanolayered Films for Applications in Resource-Limited Settings" was published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. Congratulations to Ziye and all co-authors !
  • January, 2017, Dr. Li's collaboration work was published in Journal of the American Chemical Society. The title of the paper is “Enhanced Isolation and Release of Circulating Tumor Cells Using Nanoparticle Binding and Ligand Exchange in a Microfluidic Chip”.
  • January, 2017, Yuting received the Graduate/Postdoc Travel Award to present our collaborative work on “Biomimetic Adipose Tissue Microchip” in ASBMB 2017 in Chicago. Congratulations to Yuting!
  • December, 2016, Our collaborative paper on "Label-Free Fingerprinting of Tumor Cells in Bulk Flow Using Inline Digital Holographic Microscopy" was accepted for publication in Biomedical Optics Express. Congratulations to Caroline!
  • November, 2016, Our book chapter on "Microfluidic Devices for Isolation of Circulating Tumor Cells (CTCs)" was accepted for publication in “Microfluidics: Fundamental Devices and Applications” by John Wiley & Sons. Congratulations to Caroline!
  • November, 2016, Dr. Li presented our work on “Biomimetic Adipose Tissue Microchip” at the NIH Adipose Tissue Niche Workshop.
  • October, 2016, Dr. Qingye Liu joined the lab as a postdoc research fellow. Welcome Qingye!
  • October, 2016, Our paper on "A benchtop capillary flow layer-by-layer (CF-LbL) platform for rapid assembly and screening of biodegradable nanolayered films" was accepted for publication in Lab on a Chip. Congratulations to Ziye and Tang!
  • August, 2016, Dr. Ahrens and Dr. Li presented our work on circulating tumor cells at the Gordon Research Conference for Rare Cells in Circulation.
  • July, 2016, Our lab received TTU 2016 ORC Pilot & Feasibility Grant to develop an integrated biomimetic human adipose tissue microchip.
  • July, 2016, Visiting Student Yuting Chen joined the lab. She is a M. S. student from Prof. Jiangyu Wu's group in the Department of Materials and Engineering at Wuhan Institute of Technology. Welcome!
  • June, 2016, Visiting Scholar Dan Yu joined the lab. He is an attending physician from People's Hospital of Zhengzhou University. Welcome!
  • February, 2016, Our collaborative paper on "Reversibly tunable coupled and decoupled super absorbing structure" was accepted for publication in Applied Physics Letters. Congratulations to Ziye!
  • February, 2016, Dr. Li gave an invited talk in the School of Pharmacy at TTUHSC at Amarillo. The title of the talk was “Biodegradable nano-films for capture and non-invasive release of circulating tumor cells."
  • December, 2015, Dr. Li's collaboration work was published in Advanced Materials. The title of the paper is “Self-Assembled Wound Dressings Silence MMP-9 and Improve Diabetic Wound Healing In Vivo”.
  • December, 2015, Dr. Anil Khanal joined the lab as a postdoctoral research associate. Welcome!
  • November, 2015, Zhenya Ding successfully transferred to Chemical Engineering Ph.D. program. Congratulations!
  • August, 2015, Our lab received CPRIT High Impact/High Risk Research Awards to study exosome-mediated drug resistance for cancers. Dr. Jungkyu Kim from Mechanical Engineering department is the Co-PI on this 200k grant.
  • August, 2015, Undergraduate research assistant HyunTaek Lim joined the lab. Welcome!
  • July, 2015, Dr. Li's work on circulating tumor cells (CTCs) was highlighted by MaterialsToday : “Nanofilm takes gentle approach to cell capture”.
  • July, 2015, Dr. Li's work from MIT was published in Biomaterials. The title of the paper is “Biodegradable Nano-films for Capture and Non-invasive Release of Circulating Tumor Cells”.
  • June, 2015, Ahasanul Hasan jointed the lab as a rotating student for 10 weeks. Ahasanul is currently a Ph.D student in the department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at TTUHSC. Welcome!
  • April, 2015, Dr. Caroline Chopko jointed the lab as a postdoctoral research associate. Caroline recently graduated from MIT and she is co-supervised by Dr. Vanapalli and Dr. Li. Welcome!
  • March, 2015, Nadia Sultana successfully defended her Master thesis. Congratulations!
  • March, 2015, Dr. Ling Tang's collaboration paper was accepted for publishing in Lab on a Chip. The title of the paper is “Microfluidic Studies of Polymer Adsorption in Flow”. Congratulations!
  • March, 2015, Undergraduate research assistant Vi Cao joined the lab. Welcome!
  • February, 2015, Dr. Li's collaboration work was published in Advanced Materials. The title of the paper is “Tunable Nanostructured Coating for the Capture and Selective Release of Viable Circulating Tumor Cells”.
  • November, 2014, Ph.D. student Ziye Dong joined the lab. Welcome!
  • November, 2014, Dr. Li gave an invited talk in the Electrical Engineering Department at University at Buffalo (SUNY). The title of the talk was “Surface Engineering of Polymer Materials and Microdevices for Biological Applications”.
  • September, 2014, Master student Zhenya Ding and undergraduate student Kabindra Sedhain joined the lab. Welcome!
  • August, 2014, Our collaboration work on circulating tumor cells is funded by CPRIT High Impact/High Risk Research Awards.
  • July, 2014, Undergraduate research assistant Neftaly Zapata joined the lab. Welcome!
  • May, 2014, Dr. Li's work was published in ACS Nano. The title of the paper is “Capillary Flow Layer-by-Layer: A Microfluidic Platform for the High Throughput Assembly and Screening of Nanolayered Film Libraries”.
  • May, 2014, Visiting scholars Xue Zhang and Dr. Ling Tang joined the lab. Welcome!
  • Jan, 2014, Ph.D. students Samira Abedi and Nadia Sultana joined the lab. Welcome!
  • Jan, 2014, Dr. Li started at Texas Tech University

Faculty Member - Professor Wei Li

Dr. Wei Li joined the faculty as a tenuretrack assistant professor in the 2014 spring semester. Dr. Li obtained a Doctor of Philosophy in polymer chemistry and materials at the University of Toronto in 2010. His doctorial thesis focused on the development of droplet-based microfluidic systems for complex reactions and processes. During his doctorate program, he obtained extensive experience in droplet microfluidics for the synthesis of various microparticles, surface modification of microfluidic devices, cell encapsulation, multiphase reaction kinetics, and micro and nano patterning techniques. Following his graduate studies, he received a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Postdoctoral Fellowship to work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the laboratory of Dr. Paula Hammond, where he learned a variety of techniques associated with the nanolayer assembly of biofunctional materials. His work at MIT included the development of a novel microparticle platform to investigate 3D cell microenvironments, the creation of a microfluidic device for the capture and non-invasively release of rare cancer cells, and the invention of high throughput preparation and screening of nanolayered biomaterials.

Dr. Li's research at Texas Tech will combine cutting-edge microfluidics and nanoassembly techniques to develop novel biofunctional polymer surfaces and microdevices for biological applications. He is particularly interested in 3D microenvironments for cells, interactions between cells and surfaces, bio-imaging sensors, and cancer drug screening. He is also excited to be in the classroom working with students and plans to teach courses related to materials and bioengineering, including the core engineering materials science course. Li is also interested in developing a graduate-level course focused on topics of micro and nano engineering for various biological applications.

The Li Lab