Bioinspired & Integrative Science

Science today, though based on the classical disciplines, requires highly multidisciplinary environments, where each member has a unique and distinctive specialization, and a solid foundation on science and humanities to explore new fields and develop new relationships with other disciplines.

In the Fermart Lab we leave behind the traditional concept of science as a group of predetermined branches, developing future science and technology from a holistic approach, where the most important technological and scientific advances rely on several of the so called classical disciplines.

Current Interests

  • Biomaterials
  • Bioinspired Engineering
  • Cell-Surface Interactions
  • Solid State Physics
  • Medical and Tissue Engineering
  • Animal Physiology

The Team

Jyothsna Vasudevan

Jyothsna Vasudevan

SUTD-NUS PhD

Jyothsna joined The Fermart Lab in 2016 as NUS-SUTD PhD fellow. She is passionate about understanding the properties of different types of materials and how they can be applied to the domain of living or biological systems. She completed her Master’s degree from the Department of Biomedical Engineering at The National University of Singapore (NUS). Her thesis focused on understanding the physical and chemical properties of biodegradable polyesters and their applications as protein delivery systems.
Prior to her research stint at NUS, she completed her Bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology from SRM University, Chennai. She worked on the synthesizing and characterizing of Chitosan/Diopside scaffolds and their applications as Bone Tissue Engineering substrates. At The Fermart Lab, she is working towards building in vitro lab on chip platforms to study cell migration and cancer metastasis cascade. Besides her research interests, she loves keeping abreast of the latest trends in innovations and technologies, reading, and learning new languages. She is also an aspiring photographer.
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Rupambika Das

Rupambika Das

PhD

Rupambika joined the Fermart lab as PhD candidate in 2017. She is interested in looking into how the bio-compatible biomaterials along with microfluidic applications can be incorporated to make devices which could be used to study biological aspects in a broader dimension. Coming from a biology background with Masters in Biotechnology the current topic of amalgamating biomaterials and fluid mechanics is an interdisciplinary approach. Additionally, she is specialized in molecular and cell biology techniques, AFM, Micropipette Aspiration, LC-MS, Flow cytometry and Tissue culture. Previous experience of work includes studying the red blood cell biomechanics where the shear modulus is calculated in terms of rigidity of reticulocytes and normocytes in three aspects when infected with Plasmodium falciparum, in diabetic conditions and in presence of oxidative agents.
Ashaa Preyadharishini

Ashaa Preyadharishini

PhD

Ashaa graduated with Bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology and Master’s degree in Nanotechnology from Anna University, India with one year exchange studies done at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden. Her master’s thesis was in the production of DNA oligonucleotides and investigating the factors affecting the production at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden. She also has experiences of working in the development of biosensors using liposomes at NTU, Singapore and preparation of nanoparticles for delivering oral insulin and human growth hormone at National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan. After graduation, she joined The Fermart Lab as PhD candidate. Her current research interests are engineering of biomaterials and bio-inspired materials and their applications, bio-sensing.
Naresh Sanandiya

Naresh Sanandiya

Postdoctoral Fellow

Naresh received his Ph.D. (2014) from M. K. Bhavnagar University, India. The PhD research work was carried out in CSIR-Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute, Bhavnagar in polysaccharide chemistry, where he was awarded as CSIR-Senior Research Fellow (CSIR-SRF) by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. He then joined Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), South Korea as postdoctoral research fellow in 2014, and in 2016 he joined The Fermart Lab.
Naresh is currently working on chemical modification of biopolymers for their applications in biomimetic adhesives in wet environments, thixotropic and stimuli-responsive hydrogels. Fabrications of Chitin and cellulose nanofibers and their functional-mediated modification for toxic metal ions adsorption, tissue regeneration, control and site-specific release system.
Hemant Raut

Hemant Raut

SUTD-MIT Postdoctoral Fellow

Hemant joined The Fermart lab in 2016 as SUTD-MIT postdoctoral fellow. His current research focusses on the design and synthesis of bio-inspired composites for critical biomedical applications. His previous research experience includes the development of a distinctive biomimetic dry-adhesive interface that could impart wall-climbing capabilities to robots. He obtained my Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering in 2014 from the National University of Singapore (NUS). During his doctoral research he developed a pattering technique that enabled easy and scalable fabrication of various hierarchical patterns found in nature and was highlighted in Chemical and Engineering News and ScienceDaily. He is author of 15 research papers (13 published and 2 under review) in internationally peer reviewed journals, which have received a total of 860 citations, to date.
Yadunund Vijay

Yadunund Vijay

MIT-SUTD Dual Master

I received my Master’s degree in Advanced Manufacturing and Design from the Mechanical Engineering Department at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Prior to this, I graduated from Singapore University of Technology and Design where I specialized in Mechanical Engineering. As a MIT-SUTD Dual Master’s Fellow, I am currently pursuing my Masters of Engineering by Research at the Singapore University of Technology and Design. My research interests lie at the intersection of machine design and process control & optimization. Website

The Fermart Lab is a multidisciplinary environment of extremely talented and motivated researchers. They form an exceptionally creative and collaborative team, offering great flexibility and opportunities for innovation. Here, researchers from very different cultural and scientific backgrounds, join forces to develop the latest scientific advances and technological applications across disciplines.

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Undergraduate Students

Lieu Wei Ying (Y2017-Freshmore) & Mason Petra Agung (Y2017-Freshmore)

Project Title: “Mussel-inspired biopolymer hydrogel for wet adhesion

Denise Chia (Y2014-EPD)

Project Title: “The role of polymer alignment in structural biomaterials

Research Projects

  • Fungus-like Additive Materials

    Large-scale manufacture with biological materials

    Cellulose is the most abundant and broadly distributed organic compound and industrial by-product on Earth. Yet, despite decades of extensive research, the bottom-up use of cellulose to fabricate 3D objects is still plagued with problems that restrict its practical applications: derivatives with vast polluting effects, used in combination with plastics, lack of scalability and high production cost.

    We have demonstrated the use of cellulose to sustainably manufacture/fabricate large 3D objects. Our approach diverges from the common association of cellulose with green plants and is inspired by the wall of the fungus-like oomycetes, which is reproduced introducing small amounts of chitin between cellulose fibers. The resulting fungal-like adhesive material(s) (FLAM) are strong, lightweight and inexpensive, and can be molded or processed using woodworking techniques. This material is completely ecologically sustainable as no organic solvents or synthetic plastics were used to manufacture it. It is scalable and can be reproduced anywhere without specialised facilities. FLAM is also fully biodegradable in natural conditions and outside composting facilities. The cost of FLAM is in the range of commodity plastics and 10 times lower than the cost of common filaments for 3D printing, such as PLA (polylactic acid) and ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene), making it not only more sustainable but also a more cost-effective substitute.

    This first large-scale additive manufacturing process with the most ubiquitous biological polymers on earth will be the catalyst for the transition to environmentally benign and circular manufacturing models, where materials are produced, used, and degraded in closed regional systems. This reproduction and manufacturing with the material composition found in the oomycete wall, namely unmodified cellulose, small amounts of chitosan –the second most abundant organic molecule on earth — and low concentrated acetic acid, is probably one of the most successful technological achievements in the field of bioinspired materials.

  • Shrilk family of materials

    Man-made Natural Materials

    Plastics production has increased from 0.5 to 380 million tons per year since 1950. The increasing use of plastics, which in most cases are prepared by polymerization of monomers derived from a nonrenewable source, creates major waste management and environmental problems. Most of the plastic produced is used to make disposable items or other short-lived products that are discarded within a year of manufacture. These objects account for approximately 30 percent of the waste we generate, which accumulates in landfills or contaminates large areas of marine habitats – from remote shorelines and heavily populated coastlines to areas of the deep sea that were previously thought to be virtually inaccessible. These factors highlight the unsustainability of the current use of plastics, which is driving a growing interest in biomaterials that are fully biodegradable and recyclable.

    At the Fermart lab we are developing the next generation of materials for sustainable development. Our first version of “Shrilk”, based on the chemistry and molecular design of the insect cuticle, is transparent, biodegradable, and has an ultimate strength in the same range as aluminum alloys, but at half their density. It is made of silk proteins and waste material from the fishing industry (i.e. chitin). Seafood processing factories generate over 250 billion tons of chitin biopolymer that is typically dumped back into the ocean, negatively affecting coastal ecosystems.

    Shrilk represents a groundbreaking approach to sustainable development. It is based on the association of natural components and their molecular design as a sole entity. We demonstrated how structural natural materials with engineering relevance, are only achievable by controlling both characteristics and their relation. This approach, linking together manufacture, biological design, and biomolecules, has started a complete new approach to sustainable and bioinspired materials.

    Shrilk is considered one of the most important advancements for sustainable development in the last decade. It has been reviewed by the most prominent media outlets around the world, and has been referred as “one of the materials that will change the future of manufacturing” (Scientific American), as a “Supermaterial” (National Geographic) and as “the material that will save the world” (BBC).

  • Biomaterials for Medicine

    Biomaterials for tissue engineering and biomedicine

    Biomaterials are used in medical devices or in contact with biological systems. Biomaterials as a field has seen steady growth over its approximately half century of existence and is highly multidisciplinary, as it merges medicine, biology, chemistry, materials science and engineering. While biomaterials were traditionally designed to be inert in a biological environment, new biomaterials capable of triggering specific biological responses at the tissue/material interface have been reaching clinical application.

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