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Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory
208 North Wright Street Urbana, Illinois 61801


Office hours 8:30a - 5:00p


Phone: 217-333-3097
Fax: 217-244-6375


Brendan A. Harley

Assistant Professor
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
110 Roger Adams Laboratory, MC-MC 712
600 S. Mathews
Urbana, Illinois 61801
(217) 244-7112
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Research Statement:
Scientists, engineers, and physicians have for decades worked to better understand the onset and progression of disease, prevent further damage after injury, and develop approaches to enhance healing. A critical bottleneck in these efforts is the complexity that arises from the non-uniform properties of the tissues and organs of our bodies. The tissue microenvironment can vary in time – such as during development or with chronic disease – or in space – such as gradients in cell and matrix content found across tumors and musculoskeletal tissue insertional zones.

Such heterogeneities have inspired me to develop approaches to create unique biomaterials that are dynamic, spatially-patterned, and inhomogeneous over multiple length and time scales. To do this my lab is engineering biomaterials at the structural, mechanical, and biomolecular level. We have demonstrated: (1) multi-scale and bio-inspired composite design strategies to balance functional and biomechanical concerns; (2) techniques to create spatially-graded and overlapping patterns of cells, matrix, and biomolecules across biomaterials for regenerative repair of orthopedic insertions and to mimic the tumor microenvironment; (3) biomaterials to regulate temporal processes such as transient growth factor sequestration or the balance of paracrine vs. autocrine signals in an artificial stem cell niche.

These biomaterials provide unique tools to explore the impact of the tissue environment on the behavior of cells in the context of development, disease, and regeneration. They offer promise as materials to be implanted into the body to speed recovery after injury.
Research Interests:
Extracellular Matrix Analogs, Cell and Tissue Engineering
For more information:
Research Synopsis
Harley Group website
Follow me on Twitter @Prof_Harley

Honors, Recognition, and Outstanding Achievements:

  • I.C. Gunsalus Scholar, University of Illinois, 2015 - 2016.
  • Fellow, Center for Advanced Study, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2015 - 2016.
  • University of Illinois Campus Distinguished Promotion Award, 2015.
  • Rising Star Award, Biomedical Engineering Society CMBE Meeting, 2015.
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2014
  • Young Investigator Award, Society for Biomaterials, 2014
  • Everitt Award for Teaching Excellence, University of Illinois College of Engineering, 2014.
  • NSF CAREER award 2013 - 2018
  • President’s Award, Research (Advocate of the Year); American Cancer Society of Illinois 2011
  • Engineering Council Award for Excellence in Advising, College of Engineering, University of Illinois 2011
  • University of Illinois, Teachers Ranked as Excellent 2009 - present
  • Kirschstein National Research Service Award T32 Postdoctoral Fellowship, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, NIH 2006-2008
  • John C. and Elizabeth J. Chato Award for Excellence in Bioengineering, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, MIT, 2006.
  • Fellowship, MIT-Whitaker Health Science Fund 2003-2005
  • Fellowship, Dupont/MIT Alliance 2000-2001