Ardemis A. Boghossian
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)


A NanoBioengineering Frontier for Next-Generation Optical Devices


The vast expansion of available synthetic biology tools has led to explosive developments in the field of materials science. No longer confined to engineering just synthetic materials, the increased accessibility of these tools has pushed the frontier of materials science into the field of engineering biological and even living materials. By coupling the tunability of nanomaterials with the prospect of re-programming living devices, one can re-purpose biology to fulfill needs that are otherwise intractable using traditional engineering approaches.

Optical technologies in particular stand to benefit from concomitant nanomaterial engineering and bioengineering approaches. This presentation highlights specific applications in optical sensing and light-harvesting energy technologies that exploit the synergistic coupling of nanobio-hybrid materials. We discuss the development of bio-conjugated single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) for near-infrared fluorescence sensing and the application of these sensors for continuous measurements in living cells and organisms. We further explore the development of living photovoltaics based on bioengineered, photosynthetic organisms with nano-augmented capabilities.


Ardemis Boghossian earned her B.S.E. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Michigan. In 2012, she graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as an NDSEG Fellow with a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering under the supervision of Michael S. Strano. Her graduate work focused on applied nanotechnology, where she engineered nanoparticles for optical biosensing and light-harvesting energy applications. She pursued her research career as an NIH postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in the laboratory of Frances H. Arnold. Working as a protein engineer, she applied methods of directed evolution to engineer cells that can electronically interface with electrodes. Ardemis Boghossian started her independent career at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in 2015, where her group leverages complementary skills in engineering synthetic nanomaterials and biological materials for medical and energy applications.