NRC Research Associate Programs
Fellowships Office
Policy and Global Affairs

Participating Agencies

  sign inOpen Printer View

Opportunity at Naval Research Laboratory (NRL)

Transferrable Active Chemical Structures for Bottom-Up Heterogeneous Tissue Engineering


Naval Research Laboratory, DC, Chemistry

RO# Location
64.15.15.C0544 Washington, DC 203755321


name email phone
Keith Eliot Whitener 202-404-4689


The main focus of this program is to develop a platform that can easily and reproducibly target an individual cell within a group of cells, apply a stimulus (chemical, electrical, etc.), and measure its interactions with its neighbors in the context of wound healing, cell stress response, and tissue engineering. Ultimately, we want to answer three questions: 1) How do we controllably and repeatably address an individual cell within a pre-existing group of interacting cells? 2) How does a single cell signal changes in its chemical and physical environment to its neighbors? 3) How do cells in communication react when that communication is interrupted or altered by an external stimulus?

To probe individual cells within a group, we construct transferrable active chemical structures (TACS) that are amenable to the cellular environment. We construct TACS using chemically modified graphene derivatives, which are robust enough to withstand a wide range of microfabrication techniques while also being easily transferrable to biological substrates in a mild fashion. This allows us to build microfabricated structures on graphene materials and transfer them to cells for interrogation. 

We are an interdisciplinary team seeking candidates from a broad range of fields, including device fabrication, materials development, and biochemical and cell characterization. Our device fabrication capabilities include lithography and deposition techniques for semiconductor fabrication, materials printing, dip-pen nanolithography, and block copolymer nanolithography. Surface and bulk materials characterization capabilities include a number of scanning probe microscopies, NMR, Raman/IR microscopy, electron microscopy, and XPS/XRD. We also have a variety of cell and biochemical characterization capabilities at our disposal, including fluorescence microscopy, qPCR, and liquid-cell AFM.


Haridas, et al. Mater. Sci. Eng. C 2020,

Lee, et al. Adv. Mater. Interfaces 2019, 6, 1801974.

Whitener, et al. Nano Lett. 2016, 16, 1455.

2D materials; microfabrication; biointerfaces; tissue engineering; graphene; materials chemistry; cell-cell interaction


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens and permanent residents
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral applicants


Base Stipend Travel Allotment Supplementation
$89,834.00 $3,000.00
Copyright © 2022. National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.Terms of Use and Privacy Policy