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

Balasubramanian Rukmanikrishnan

Balasubramanian Rukmanikrishnan

Postdoctoral Fellow

I have recently Joined as a Research fellow at The Fermart Lab. In my recent works, I have worked on developing and investigating the structure and functionality of new composite packaging materials. My focus is to develop highly stretchable biopolymers composite films with antioxidants and antimicrobials properties. This overlaps with my other area of work, which is studying and developing sustainable composites of carbon-based and inorganic nanomaterials. More specifically, I have developed sustainable composite films using cellulose pulp. I have demonstrated how the highly brittle structure of cellulose pulp film can be transformed into flexible, transparent and thermally stable cellulose pulp composite films. So far, I have published 36 papers and have 5 patents to my credit. All my research work delves into the study of structure-property relationship of the biopolymers, their manufacturing, product design and technology for various applications.
Akshayakumar Kompa

Akshayakumar Kompa

Postdoctoral Fellow

I recently started working as a postdoctoral fellow at The Fermart lab. My previous research work was focused on the synthesis and characterization of nanostructured materials in powder and thin films form. In addition, fabricated nanomaterials-based devices for high performance photosensor and photocatalytic applications. The core research interest involves structure property correlation, defect engineering, and surface modification of materials for their suitability in applications. Linkedin Profile
Ng Shiwei

Ng Shiwei


Shiwei joined the Fermart Lab as PhD candidate in 2018. He graduated from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. His previous work in microfluidics motivated him to look towards natural phenomenon, and nature in general, for potential solutions to the problems we face. His current research interest is focused on the engineering of bio-inspired materials and biomaterials for various application.
Apurva Anjan

Apurva Anjan


I joined The Fermart lab in September 2022 as a PhD candidate. I am graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad with a master’s degree in Polymer and Biosystems Engineering. I worked there on developing free standing cathode using Bacterial cellulose for Potassium sulfur batteries. My research interest is Bio inspired materials, Batteries. I am quite fascinated with the idea of combining biological aspects and material science. Apart from my research I like swimming and playing tennis.
Ajay Kumar

Ajay Kumar


Ajay recently joined as a PhD student at the Fermart Lab. He is a diligent researcher in the field of Polymer Science. His research interests include biopolymers, nanomaterials, additive manufacturing, biomedical devices, polymer packaging, and wastewater treatment.
After finishing his Master’s degree, he had three years research experience at the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati, India as a Research Fellow and at the Laboratory for Advanced Research in Polymeric Materials (LARPM), Bhubaneswar, India as a Project Associate. He has published articles in peer reviewed international journals.
His current research focuses on the development of novel polymer nanocomposites-based applications using additive manufacturing. Through his research and training, he hopes to apply scientific knowledge for the benefit of humankind.
His interests/hobbies include travelling, vlogging, photography, playing football & cricket, beatboxing etc.
Benjamin Ng

Benjamin Ng

Senior Research Assistant

Benjamin graduated from Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in Engineering Product Development. He joined the Fermart Lab shortly after as a student researcher to further his studies under the Master of Engineering in Innovation by Design (MiBD) program in SUTD. One of his undergraduate projects sparked his interest in biomaterials and their viability as a sustainable alternative to conventional materials. His current research interest is in chitosan based organic-inorganic composites and their various applications.
Cherie Hu Zi Ying

Cherie Hu Zi Ying

Research Assistant

Cherie is an undergraduate student at Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), on track to graduate with a bachelor’s degree Engineering Product Development and a Master of Science in Technology Entrepreneurship in 2023. She joined the Fermart Lab as part of her master program, with an aim to 3D print everyday objects for use in a circular manufacturing model.

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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Jyothsna Vasudevan (Ph.D. Candidate). LinkedIn

Project Title: “Modelling Cancer Cell Migration in Tumor-on-Chip Platforms and Future Integration with Machine Intelligence”

Rupambika Das (Ph.D. Candidate). LinkedIn

Project Title: “Guiding Controlled Stem Cell Differentiation and Preservation for Tissue Engineering Application”

Ashaa Preyadharishini (Ph.D. Candidate).

Project Title: “Characterization, Isolation, and Utilization of Paramecium Aurelia for Detection of Water Pollution”

Komal Agarwal (Ph.D. Candidate). LinkedIn

Project Title: “Tough and Impact-Resistant Helicoidal Electrospun Fiber-Reinforced Composites”

Aravind Kumar Jayasankar (Postdoctoral Researcher). Personal Web

Project Title: “Modelling biomaterials deformation by Finite Element Analysis”

Naresh Sanandiya (Postdoctoral Researcher). LinkedIn

Project Title: “Composites for Additive Manufacturing”

Hemant Raut (Postdoctoral Researcher). LinkedIn

Project Title: “Bio-inspired Composites for Biomedical Implants

Yadunund Vijay (Master Student) SUTD 2018 Best MSc award. LinkedIn

Thesis Title: “Development and Optimization of a Sustainable, Large-scale & Rapid Additive Manufacturing Process using Natural Materials

Naomi Chia (Research Intern) LinkedIn

Undergraduate and Summer Students

Sarah Maheen Siddiqui (Lehigh University, USA)

Project Title: “3D Printing Chitosan for Potential Applications in Tissue Regeneration

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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