We’re interested in how information passes through the cell membrane and how particle/membrane interactions and material properties can be measured, controlled and exploited in drug delivery applications. To accomplish this, we leverage novel experimental platforms for fabricating artificial cell membranes that provide orthogonal control over their properties and application of external stimuli (electric pulses, introduction of biomolecules, for example). Our research is interdisciplinary, possessing strong intellectual overlap between chemical engineering, physics, biology, and materials science.
Research in the group focuses on interfacial soft matter, where we apply fundamental principles to understand and engineer interfacial processes central to biology and colloid science. We employ a suite of experimental techniques such as fluorescence microscopy, microfluidics, high-speed imaging and electrophysiology based approaches combined with fundamental insights from thermodynamics, fluid mechanics and transport phenomena to interpret results.
Current areas of research include:
1. Biomimetic materials- We aim to understand how information is transported across biological interfaces, whether by membrane fusion or particle translocation. This will not only provide fundamental insight into complex biological processes, but will also enable the reverse-engineering and manipulation of these processes in drug delivery applications.
2. Membrane dynamics and organization- The cell membrane is a complex two-dimensional fluid that organizes spatially and temporally to orchestrate processes such as cell division and protein signaling. Our goal is to develop artificial experimental systems that are faithful to their in vivo counterparts in order to understand the interplay between the lipid microenvironment and function.
Learn more at https://beltramolab.com/
BS University of Pennsylvania, Chemical Engineering, 2009
PhD University of Delaware, Chemical Engineering, 2014
Postdoctoral Training ETH Zurich, Soft Materials, 2014-2017