Our research aims to understand cell-cell and cell-materials interactions, and to develop biomimetic materials to control cell behavior. By working at the interface of chemistry, materials engineering, biophysics, and cell biology, we are applying multidisciplinary approaches to analyze and manipulate cell communication across the cell membrane for a broad spectrum of research problems–in areas from human diseases to bioenergy. Current research projects include: (1) To understand cell-cell communication and cell-materials interactions. We are applying a combination of spectroscopy, optical imaging, and analytical tools to quantitatively understand how extracellular cues from other cells, tissues, or biomaterials influence signaling in the cell membranes. (2) To develop biomimetic materials to tailor cell behavior. We aim to develop hybrid lipid materials to tune with high specificity how cells interact with their surroundings and thus cellular functions.