Saad Bhamla studies biomechanics across species to engineer knowledge and tools that inspire curiosity.
Saad Bhamla is an assistant professor of biomolecular engineering at Georgia Tech. A self-proclaimed "tinkerer," his lab is a trove of discoveries and inventions that span biology, physics and engineering. His current projects include studying the hydrodynamics of insect urine, worm blob locomotion and ultra-low-cost devices for global health. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Economist, CNN, Wired, NPR, the Wall Street Journal and more.
Saad is a prolific inventor and his most notable inventions includes a 20-cent paper centrifuge, a 23-cent electroporator, and the 96-cent hearing aid. Saad's work is recognised by numerous awards including a NIH R35 Outstanding Investigator Award, NSF CAREER Award, CTL/BP Junior Faculty Teaching Excellence Award, and INDEX: Design to Improve Life Award. Saad is also a National Geographic Explorer and a TED speaker. Newsweek recognized Saad as 1 of 10 Innovators disrupting healthcare.
Saad is a co-founder of Piezo Therapeutics.
Outside of the lab, Saad loves to go hiking with his partner and two dogs (Ollie and Bella).
Georgia Institute of Technology
Biotechnology; Complex Systems; Materials and Nanotechnology. The Bhamla Lab explores fundamental and applied research questions through the development of new experimental tools and techniques at the intersection of soft matter, organismic physics and global health. Ultra-fast Organismic Physics Biologists are just starting to systematically examine ultrafast motion across species (jellyfish, mantis shrimp, trap-jaw ants), some of which achieve accelerations exceeding a million g-forces in nanoseconds. At the single-cell level, the physical biology of ultra-fast motility remains poorly understood. What is the fastest motion a single cell can achieve? How do single-cell organisms amplify power and survive repeated high accelerations? These fundamental questions guide our exploration of several non-model unicellular and multicellular organisms to uncover the principles of extreme motility at cellular scales. Biological Soft Matter Our bodies are composed almost entirely of soft, wet, squishy materials. How do the fundamental principles of soft matter and complex fluids enable us to grasp dynamic processes, from the self-assembly of proteins to the stretching of a spider web? We study a spectrum of biological soft matter, from the tears on our eyes to biological foams from insects, with the goal of connecting the microscale structures (lipids, proteins) to their consequences for macroscale biological function (contact lens-eye interaction, microbiome health). As engineers, we leverage this understanding for human-health applications, ranging from diagnostics and monitoring to artificial therapeutic replacements and biomedical devices. Frugal Science and GlobalHealth Today, although information is free to anyone with internet, access to scientific tools and healthcare devices still has many barriers. How do we design and build tools that are scientifically rigorous, but cost a few cents on the dollar? Driven by the spirit of doing “frugal science”, we box ourselves in to find out of the box solutions for global challenges in science education, agriculture, and healthcare. Projects in this area include field-work, science outreach, and citizen-science initiatives. Disciplines: Biotechnology Complex Systems Materials and Nanotechnology