The Tian Research Group

About me

I am passionate about optically and electronically mediated systems for biological sensing and modulation. The core of this research lies in designing and fabricating micro- and nanostructured materials and devices, with the ultimate goal of integrating these into biological systems, ranging in scale from individual cells to larger tissues and organs.

The implementation of micro- and nanostructured materials holds transformative potential in the realm of biological sensing and modulation due to their exceptional properties, such as high surface-to-volume ratios, enhanced optical characteristics, and superior mechanical and electrochemical behavior. These properties offer opportunities to improve the sensitivity, specificity, and multiplexing capabilities of biological sensing and modulation systems.

A significant part of my work is designing and fabricating semiconductor devices by employing advanced techniques like photolithography and electron beam lithography, dry and wet etching, chemical vapor deposition and atomic layer deposition, which interrogates biological systems bidirectionally with high spatiotemporal resolution.

My research is rooted in the intersection of materials science, optics, electronics, and biology, and is aimed at leveraging this unique confluence to not only enrich our understanding of materials at biointerfaces but to translate this knowledge into real-world, practical applications, which could potentially benefit the lives of many.


The pioneering translational optical pacemaker being used to address cardiac dysfunctions

My vision for a wireless, light-controlled pacemaker seeks to revolutionize cardiac care, particularly for post-cardiosurgical revitalization and treating on-demand and chronic heart disorders. Utilizing silicon-based optoelectronic membranes, we aim for acute and long-term epicardial pacing with minimal invasion. This device converts light into biocompatible electricity, stimulating heart muscles in a controlled, bioelectrical process. Our one-piece membrane design allows random-access multisite stimulation, enabling individual or simultaneous access to different heart regions.

This cutting-edge pacemaker offers unparalleled accessibility, benefitting children, patients with congenital heart disease, and those with limited intravenous access. It enhances patient comfort during treatment and improves their quality of life.

Our ultra-lightweight membrane design prioritizes safety, eliminating invasive wires and leads to minimize complications such as infection, bleeding, and lead dislodgement. The biodegradable design eliminates the need for pacemaker removal surgeries, reducing complications and patient discomfort.

Our pacemaker is highly adaptable, with a flexible optoelectronic membrane that can be easily positioned on the heart surface for a customized approach. Integration of a wearable LED patch enables non-invasive, remote control, allowing healthcare providers to adjust the device’s settings seamlessly.

The random-access heart stimulation capabilities of our device support precision medicine principles, enabling healthcare providers to tailor therapy to each patient’s unique needs. This results in targeted therapy, adaptability, multi-site stimulation, and a personalized approach to cardiac care, ultimately improving patient outcomes and advancing precision medicine in cardiac care.

Research Projects

Biological modulation

Biological sensing


Advanced biomedical devices

Coming soon!

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