Medical Engineering Special Seminar

Thursday March 23, 2017 4:00 PM

Blood, tears, and soap bubbles: Leveraging soft matter physics for fundamental discovery and global health

Speaker: Saad Bhamla, PhD, Bioengineering Department, Stanford University
Location: Annenberg 105
The principles of soft matter physics govern the mechanics of everything around us, from the cells in our bodies to the foam on our coffees. Exploring the microscale structure of these systems allows us to understand their dynamics at the macroscale. In the first part of my talk, I describe a few examples of life at fluid interfaces—from the interaction of the tear film with contact lenses to Marangoni instabilities on soap bubbles—and share how insights about these systems can be harnessed for biomedical applications. In the last part of my talk, I show how soft matter can address the urgent need for healthcare solutions for resource-poor settings. Come and learn how to use paper, strings, and glue to build robust centrifuges that can be used to diagnose infectious diseases like malaria and make healthcare accessible to every single person in the world.

Biography: Saad Bhamla is the Dean's Postdoctoral Fellow in Bioengineering at Stanford University, where he also completed his doctoral work in Chemical Engineering. His research focuses on the experimental dynamics of biological soft matter and its potential for biomedical engineering applications. He has published on the interfacial dynamics of biological fluids, including the human tear film and lung surfactants, and most recently, on electricity-free centrifugation for medical diagnostics. His inventions include a biomimetic platform for the design of next-generation contact lenses, now used by major healthcare companies, and a 20-cent paper centrifuge, currently undergoing field tests in rural African clinics. Bhamla is an Accel Innovation Scholar and recipient of the Innovation in MedTech Award and Stanford's Centennial Teaching Award. For further information, please visit
Series: Medical Engineering Seminar Series
Contact: Christine Garske
For more information visit:
Division of Engineering and Applied Science