Professor; School of Mechanical Engineering
Todd Sulchek is an associate professor in Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech where he conducts fundamental and applied research in the field of biophysics. His research program focuses on the mechanical and adhesive properties of cell and biological systems and the development of microsystems to aid in their study. His research employs tools, including, MEMS, microfluidics, imaging, and patterning to understand or enable biological systems. His interests include cancer diagnostics, stem cell biomanufacturing, novel therapeutics, and ultracheap engineering tools. He is a member of the interdisciplinary Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience. Dr. Sulchek also holds program faculty positions in Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering and has a courtesy appointment in the School of Biology. He received his Ph.D. from Stanford in Applied Physics under Calvin Quate and received a bachelors in math and physics from Johns Hopkins. He was a postdoc and staff scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Lab. He joined Georgia Tech in 2008 as an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering. He is a recipient of the NSF CAREER award, the BP Junior Faculty Teaching Excellence Award, the Lockheed Inspirational Young Faculty award, and the 2012 Petit Institute Above and Beyond Award. To date he has published 42 journal papers and has filed or been issued 7 patents. Prof. Sulchek is a strong supporter of undergraduate research, and he participates in a variety of undergraduate education activities including the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) and includes over 8 undergraduate authors in the past year.
Georgia Institute of Technology
Biomedical Devices; bio-MEMS; biosensors; Drug Delivery; Advanced Characterization. Dr. Sulchek's research focuses primarily on the measurement and prediction of how multiple individual biological bonds produce a coordinated function within molecular and cellular systems. There are two complementary goals. The first is to understand the kinetics of multivalent pharmaceuticals during their targeting of disease markers; the second is to quantify the host cell signal transduction resulting from pathogen invasion. Several tools are developed and employed to accomplish these goals. The primary platform for study is the atomic force microscope (AFM), which controls the 3-D positioning of biologically functionalized micro- and nanoscale mechanical probes. Interactions between biological molecules are quantified in a technique called force spectroscopy. Membrane protein solubilized nanolipoprotein particles (NLPs) are also used to functionalize micro/nano-scale probes with relevant biological mediators. This scientific program requires the development of enabling instrumentation and techniques, which include the following: Advanced microscopy and MEMs; Nanomechanical linkers, which provide a convenient platform to control biomolecular interactions and study multivalent molecular kinetics; Biological mimetics, which provide a simple system to study cell membranes and pathogens. UltIMaTely, this work is used to optimize molecular drug targeting, improve chem/bio sensors, and develop more efficient pathogen countermeasures.
Research Affiliations: Center for Medical Robotics, Marcus Center for Therapeutic Cell Characterization and Manufacturing (MC3M), Regenerative Engineering and Medicine (REM), Integrated Cancer Research Center, Immunoengineering, Center for ImmunoEngineering