Research Areas and Projects


Our research groups perform biological, materials, and computational and molecular modeling engineering, creating  scientific breakthroughs impacting health, energy, and environment.

Biological engineering faculty and students focus on tissue replacement and regeneration. Research projects and opportunites for collaboration are available in our labs in Furnas Hall, collaborator facilities on South Campus, and the downtown Buffalo medical corridor.

Projects include:

Stem Cells

UB study yields neural crest cells from adult skin cells, and could lead to new treatments for Parkinson’s and other brain illnesses

Schematic of Hybrid Delivery Vector

The Pfeifer research group has designed multiple vehicles for vaccine delivery to enhance the final immune response. These delivery devices have included microbial cells engineered to trigger a strong and directed immune response.

fluorescent image showing slex on the stem cell surface

Identifying new technologies to improve stem cell therapy for an array of cardiovascular diseases. 


In a series of experiments at the University at Buffalo, the gene kicked into action dormant cellular processes that are key to preventing weak bones, clogged arteries and other telltale signs of growing old.

Erythromycin diversification.

The Pfeifer research group is interested in establishing the production of the antibiotic erythromycin, studying its altered antibiotic activity, and identifying new antibiotic compounds.

image of a liver

Building the liver, from human pluripotent stem cells, is an enormous scientific challenge and could help for chronic liver diseases like cirrhosis for which is there is no medical treatment.

Development of the liver and pancreas

The endoderm, labeled above at different stages of development, is the least understood germ layer and gives rise to internal organs like the liver, pancreas, and lung.

Comparison images, on left side, TEM images of various types of CPNCs, right hand side is confocal images showing drug-gene co-delivery into cancer cells via cationic CPNCs.

The goal of this project is to develop facile miniemulsion-based approaches for the preparation of well-defined CPNCs for various applications, such as evasion of multidrug resistant cancer cells and drug-gene co-delivery.

Our research in materials engineering includes development of new catalysts, drug delivery carriers and systems, oil dispersants, semiconductors for solar cell and display advancements, and materials for electrochemical energy conversion and storage applications (e.g., fuel cells, water splitting, batteries, and supercapacitors). Projects in this area have applications across disciplines and researchers often collaborate with UB faculty from many other departments and industrial researchers and practitioners. 

Projects include:

Image of core-shell structured oxide support

New vehicle engines are more efficient, and engine exhaust temperatures are lower. Innovative catalysts are needed to control the engine pollutants

The goal of this project is to synthesize functional PLAs (polylactides) and to study their applications in therapeutic delivery.

Large sized graphene tube

NGTs are used as an advanced support to boost Pt cathode performance for proton exchange membrane fuel cells, which holds great promise to meet the US DOE 2020 metric targets for fuel cell vehicle applications. 

pie chart showing sources of greenhouse gas

Natural gas has been widely used in homes, power plants, factories, and transportation due to its low cost and large domestic reserves. A 50% rise in global natural gas consumption is expected between 2010 and 2035 according to the U. S. Energy Information Administration. 

Sorption Enhanced Mixed Matrix Membranes for H2 Purification and CO2 Capture

The goal of this project is to develop sorption enhanced mixed matrix membranes with H₂ permeance of 500 gas permeance units (gpu) and H₂/CO₂ selectivity of 30 at 150-200 °C. 

The goal of this project is to develop a portable, low-cost and energy-efficient nanomembrane patterning scheme, using a laser-chip “stamp”, to achieve excellent antifouling properties for wastewater recovery and reuse.

logs in the forest, awaiting processing

Organic solvents, potentially harmful to the environment, are often used in the pretreatment and processing of cellulosic biomass. Fundamental information is lacking on the interplay between nano-scale solvent-cellulose interactions and large-scale biomass solvent processing.

Schematic of overall approach to promote the visibility of PGM-free Catalysts, from design to illumination

The primary approach is to develop novel atomic metal (e.g., Fe, Mn, Co, and Ni) single site catalyst embedded into highly porous and robust carbon matrix via newly developed metal-organic framework and polymer hydrogel methods. In next three years, UB will receive funding around $1.2 million for three projects.

We apply computer-based modeling and leading-edge data-analysis to understand behavior and solve problems rooted in  transport phenomena, thermodynamics, chemical transformation, and nanotechnology. UB CBE computational faculty and students work in collaboration with members of both the biological and the materials research communities to tackle problems in health, energy, the environment, and more.

Projects include:

Image of computers at the Center For Computational Research at UB

"Next-Generation Materials for Energy, Environment & Water” will establish UB expertise and excellence in rational design of nextgeneration materials.

computer screen with python codes

The Hachmann lab group aims to chart new paths in data-driven in silico research and a rational design paradigm.