Welcome to iBMF Lab @ CUA

The Integrated BioMicroFluidics (iBMF) Lab, directed by Associate Professor Xiaolong Luo in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, School of Engineering at the Catholic University of America (CUA), aims to develop novel tools that bridges between engineering and biology. We handle fluids in microscale (microfluidics), develop bio-microsystems with novel fabrication strategy (biofabrication), and diagnoses biological events with microscopic and biosensing techniques. We work with biopolymers including polysaccharides extracted from crab/insect shells (chitosan) and sea weed algae (alginate) as well as proteins (collagen) to construct 3D hydrogels, fabricate freestanding membranes, establish bilayer lipid membranes, assemble biomolecules, immobilize living cells, and entrap optically-active nanoparticles in microfluidic networks. We design and fabricate integrated bio-microsystems to understand fundamental science and address practical challenges. Novel bio-microsystems developed in our lab find important applications in protein/metabolic engineering, cell-cell communications, membrane biology and yeast aging studies in synthetic ecosystems, realizing laboratory functions in microsystems (Lab-on-a-Chip) to expedite novel drug discovery and improve human health.

Integrated BioMicroFluidics (iBMF) Lab | Department of Mechanical Engineering | The Catholic University of America

Office: G37 Pangborn Hall | Lab: B20 Pangborn Hall | 620 Michigan Ave NE, Washington, DC 20064

Tel: 202-319-6952 | Email: luox@cua.edu | https://sites.google.com/cardinalmail.cua.edu/ibmf

iBMF News


  • 09/06/2018: Our new paper titled "Oral Mucosa-on-A-Chip to Assess Layer-Specific Responses to Bacteria and Dental Materials " is accepted for publication at Biomicrofluidics. Congratulations to the whole collaborative team at both CUA and ADA!
  • 08/23/2018: Seyed Ali is the finalist for the Student Poster Competition at the 2018 ASME NanoEngineering for Medicine and Biology (NEMB) Conference. Congratulations, Ali!
  • 2018/08/21: Our new paper titled "A Simple Capillary Viscometer Based on the Ideal Gas Law" is accepted for publication at RSC Advances. Congrats to all the students Phu, Luis and Deyvid who had worked on this paper!
  • 06/12/2018: Seyed Ali is selected for NSF-supported Student's Travel Award to 2018 ASME NanoEngineering for Medicine and Biology (NEMB) Conference. The award will provide $750 for support of attending the NEMB 2018 conference in Los Angeles from August 21 – 24. Congratulations, Ali!
  • 06/06/2018: Dr. Luo and Dr. Choy are to be awarded a NIH R15 grant totaling $462K to study synthetic microbiome in the fluitrode platform.
  • 06/04/2018: Undergraduate student Anne Perry joins iBMF. Welcome, Anne!
  • 05/12/2018: Congratulations to Kuanyu (Suker) Li, who graduated with dual degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Philosophy and published a journal paper with first authorship in four years!
  • 05/03/2018: Dr. Luo receives REU Supplement award to the NSF CAREER project, which will support one full-time undergraduate student for summer 2018.
  • 04/20/2018: Dr. Luo serves as the Outside Discussant for the BioCHIPS Gemstone Honors Program at the University of Maryland.
  • 04/20/2018: Dr. Luo gave a presentation at FDA, and the iBMF lab welcome Alexa Guittari as an intern to join the collaborative team with FDA for summer 2018.
  • 04/19/2018: The iBMF lab showcases 2 oral and 3 poster presentations for research performed in or collaborated with iBMF at the The University Research Day (URD).
  • 02/05/2018: Collaborative paper with Hu group about anisotropic whitewood for microfluidics is published at ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.
  • 01/17/2018: Our new paper about "fluitrodes" is accepted for publication on Advanced Biosystems. Big congrats to Phu and Ali for this ground breaking and high quality paper!
  • 01/17/2018: Dr. Luo gave an invited colloquium lecture in the Department of Physics at CUA.
  • 01/04/2018: Congratulations to Thinh Lee, who completed his master thesis in Mechanical Engineering with an undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering! Best wishes to Thinh as a new PhD student at the University of Connecticut!


  • 10/26/2017: Research in iBMF lab is featured on the URD 2017 report in the CUA Magazine in Fall 2017 issue titled "New Platform for Biological Study".
  • 10/14/2017: Congratulations to Jesse and Saba, both gave poster presentations at BMES 2017 Annual Meeting at Phoenix, AZ for the first time! Presentations at BMES 2017 also include research work conducted at iBMF by Manal (presented by Santiago), Ben and Chris the twin, and Thanh (presented by Dr. Luo). Congrats to all!
  • 09/22/2017: Congratulations to Thanh Vo, who completed his master thesis in Mechanical Engineering with an undergraduate degree in Computer Science! Thank you, Thanh, for help setting up the lab, working with high schoolers and getting good research done in two years!
  • 09/21/2017: Dr. Luo gave an invited seminar in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Iowa State University.
  • 08/31/2017: Congratulations to Awatef for the new journal paper about magnetic nanoparticle-loaded alginate beads being accepted for publication at Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces!
  • 08/30/2017: Congratulations to Thinh and Ali, both giving oral presentations at the international conference ICNMM 2017 at Boston, MA for the first time!
  • 08/22/2017: A new paper about chemotaxis with UMD collaborators is published on Biomicrofluidics.
  • 08/09/2017: 2nd joint lab picnic at the sand vollyball courts by the Lincoln Memorial with some members from Choy, Chung, Luo and Raub groups!
  • 06/09/2017: Our new paper about birefringence of flow-assembled chitosan membrane is accepted for publication on Biofabrication. Big congrats to our rising senior Suker as well as graduate students Phu and Santiago for this high quality paper!
  • 05/25/2017: Dr. Luo is promoted to the rank of Associate Professor, effective August 20, 2017!
  • 05/19/2017: Undergraduate student Saba Owens (BME) will join the iBMF lab from summer 2017. Welcome, Saba!
  • 05/15/2017: Undergraduate student Jesse Williams (ME) joins the iBMF lab from summer 2017. Welcome, Jesse!
  • 05/11/2017: Congratulations to Phu Pham, who finished his high quality master thesis! Thank you, Phu, for help setting up and managing the lab and got wonderful research work done in two years! Pictured below is Phu, Ali, Kathleen, Thanh and Dr. Luo at the congratulation lunch for Phu.
  • 04/20/2017: Congratulations to iBMF member Kathleen Sheridan with her senior design team who receive the best poster award at the University Research Day. The poster titled "Laser-Based Tracking System for the Characterization of Nanoparticles" was advised by our close collaborator Dr. Raub in BME Department.
  • 04/20/2017: Congratulations to Dr. Luo who receives the University Young Faculty Scholar's Award presented by the Provost at the Research Day.
  • 04/20/2017: The CUA Research Day showcases 1 oral and 10 poster presentations for research performed in or in collaborated with the iBMF lab.
  • 02/14/2017: Dr. Luo receives REU Supplement award to the NSF CAREER project, which will support one full-time undergraduate student for summer 2017.
  • 01/30/2017: PhD student Seyed Ali Rooholghodos joins iBMF. Welcome on board, Ali!


  • 12/10/2016: Master students Manal Alsamiri and Laurie Wei join iBMF. Welcome, Manal and Laurie!
  • 11/30/2016: A new paper about air bubble steering for membrane biofabrication is accepted for publication on Lab on a Chip. Congrats to the student authors Phu and Thanh!
  • 11/01/2016: Our perspective paper on bacterial chemotaxis is accepted for publication on Biomicrofluidics.
  • 10/10/2016: Luo and Raub labs presented at BMES in Minneapolis, MN!
  • 09/06/2016: PhD student Piao Hu joins iBMF. Welcome, Piao!
  • 08/29/2016: Congratulations to Kuanyu (Suker) for his summer research submission being selected for oral presentation at the Biofabrication 2016 Conference to be held in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA, October 29-31, 2016! Well done, Suker and coworkers!
  • 08/26/2016: Congratulations to Dominic and Kathleen for their undergraduate summer research submissions being selected to present at BMES! This is the second year in a roll that our undergraduate summer research is selected for oral presentation at BMES (one of the 30 oral presentations out 600+ accepted undergraduate presentations in 2016!). Well done, folks!
  • 08/24/2016: The Luo and Raub Labs having fun with the joint lab picnic at the sand vollyball courts by the Lincoln Memorial!
  • 08/16/2016: Our static gradients paper is now accepted for publication on Lab on a Chip! Congratulations to all the student authors Thanh, Phu and Fahad!
  • 07/15/2016: Phu, Thanh and Dr. Luo together presented two oral and two poster presentations at the 14th International Conference on Nanochannels, Minichannels, and Microchannels held during July 10-14, in Washington DC. Well done!
  • 05/19/2016: Welcome graduate student Thinh Le and undergraduate student Kathleen O'Brien to the lab!
  • 05/14/2016: Dr. Luo receives the Kaman Excellence in Research Award in the School of Engineering!
  • 05/02/2016: The iBMF Lab holds its open house and welcomes ME Advisory Board members and SOE faculty visiting the lab! The microfabrication-outside-clean-room facility in iBMF now can do photolithography of photoresist and electrodes (metal deposition has to be done elsewhere) with resolution down to single micrometers, and soft lithography to fabricate microfluidic devices.
  • 01/27/2016: Dr. Luo receives NSF CAREER award for a proposal titled: CAREER "Highly stable lipid bilayers on freestanding cytoskeleton-like membrane"! The $500K funding will support research and education activities for the period of 2016-2021.
  • 01/19/2016: High school students Aaraj Vij and Vishnu Murthy (from Thomas Jefferson High School of Science and Technology) visit iBMF lab and will conduct microfluidic research under Dr. Luo's mentorship. Welcome!
  • 01/15/2016: Graduate student Thanh Vo joins the iBMF lab. Welcome!


  • 11/03/2015: Undergraduates Colleen Cahill and Alex Quicksell join the lab for research. Welcome!
  • 10/13/2015: Check the Departmental News for Alex Laprade's presentation at BMES!
  • 10/06/2015: Congrats to Luis Bautista for successfully completing his master thesis for graduation in October 2015!
  • 09/22/2015: Graduate students Fahad Jambi and Phu Pham join the lab to work on master thesis. Welcome!
  • 09/04/2015: Congrats to Alex Laprade for his summer research work being selected for oral presentation at the Undergraduate Research, Design and Leadership I section at BMES. Alex is among the 29 oral presenters out of 450 submissions of undergraduate research abstracts to BMES. Well done, Alex! See you at Tampa!
  • 08/07/2015: Dr. Luo will present at BMES in October in Tampa, FL for research on bacterial chemotaxis study.
  • 07/25/2015: Dr. Luo gave an invited lecture seminar of his research at Xiamen University!
  • 05/28/2015: iBMF welcomes undergraduate Elizabeth Coyle to join the research team at UMD for research in chemotaxis study.
  • 05/20/2015: iBMF welcomes undergraduates Alex Laprade and Kuanyi (Suker) Li to join the lab for undergraduate research!
  • 05/16/2015: Congrats to Dominic Renner for receiving his B.S. degree with the prestigeous ASME leadership award! Best wishes for his new journey in graduate school in Georgia!
  • 02/10/2015: Dr. Luo's new paper on bacterial signaling in synthetic ecosystem is accepted by Lab on a Chip!


  • 12/06/2014: iBMF launches its new website.
  • 12/05/2014: Luis Bautista join the iBMF lab to work on his master thesis. Welcome!
  • 10/25/2014: Undergraduate Dominic Renner presents his summer research at BMES conference. Congratulations, Dominic!
  • 04/21/2014: Here is what iBMF looked like at this time