Laboratory for Tissue Engineering and Morphogenesis

February 2021

A new video about our lab is available. You can find it here.


Thanks to Haokang and Tasnif for fabulous work!


September 2020

Our review paper "Cell Chirality in Cardiac Development and Disease" published in ALP Bioengineering. You can find it here.


Congratulations to Tasnif and all the co-authors!


August 2020

Dr. Jie Fan, a former postdoc in the lab, accepts a faculty posistion at the University of Michigan - Dearborn.


Huge congratulations!


January 2020

Dr. Wan becomes the chair-elect the Cellular Molecular Bioengineering (CMBE) SIG, Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES).


Dec 2019

Graduate student, Haokang Zhang, wins the prestigious American Heart Association (AHA) predocotoral fellowship. This fellowship will support him for 2 years.




Nov 2019

Haokang Zhang honored with Founders Award! Congratulations!


Sept 2019

Capital Region American Heart Association Research Reception To Feature Leo Wan!

Dr. Wan attended the Capital Region American Heart Association’s inaugural research reception, “The Science Behind Your Giving,” on November 15. He shared his research and had wonderful conversations with potential donors and other scientists. Thanks the organizers for the invitation.


click here for the news.


July 2019

Our lab research featured on The Approach (RPI News)

Click here.

Dec 2018

Another paper publishe in PNAS

The article is titled "Intrinsic cellular chirality regulates left–right symmetry breaking during cardiac looping". This paer reveals a role of cell chirality in cardiac asymmetry looping in the early stage of embryonic development. The paper can be found here. Congratulations, Poulomi and all co-authors!

Nov 2018

Our work Published in PNAS.

The article is titled "Epithelial Cell Chirality Revealed by Three-Dimensional Spontaneous Rotation", can be found here. This paper describes a new approach to determine cell chirality in 3D. Congratulations, Amanda and all co-authors!


October 2018

Our work upublished in Science Advances

The paper "Cell chirality regulates intercellular junctions and endothelial permeability" can be found here. This article demonstrates the role of cell chirality in vascular leakiness. Congratulations, Jie and the team!

Read the news here.


October 2018

Jennifer Rico-Varela, a graduate student in Dr. Leo Wan's lab, has been honored with a presentation award at the 2018 National Diversity in STEM Conference which was held in San Antonio, Texas.

Her award was the only one given to a graduate student in biomedical engineering. About the award: The Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science awarded 105 graduate and undergraduate students for their research and presentation skills. The Presentation Awards recognize the next generation of scientists and STEM leaders for exemplary science, while giving visibility to their investigations and home institutions.

October 2017

Allison Fleck honored with Founders Award! Congratulations!


September 2017

Faculty hightlight: Leo Wan

Do Cells lean left or right? click here.


February 2017

Our work mentioned in WIRED!

Dr. Leo Wan's work on chirality is highlighted in a recent article in the magazine WIRED. The full article can be found here: Leo is a pioneer in studying the left-right asymmetry at a cellular level with microfabricated engineering systems. His research focuses on developing engineering platforms for embryonic development and regeneration medicine. His research has received much attention from developmental biologists in the field of left-right asymmetry. His recent collaboration with TED-Ed,, has received ~500K views.

July 2016

Dr. Wan is promoted to associate professor with tenure at RPI, starting on July 1, 2016.


May 2016

Kathryn Worley's abstract on chiral force generation by epithelial cells was selected as short talk at the Gordon Research Conference: Cell Polarity Signaling in June, 2016.


April 2016

Dr. Leo Wan was invited and gave a talk at the WISC 2016 -- Expanding the Life Sciences Toolkit at SUNY, albany on cell chirality reasearch.


Gurleen Kaur was selected to give a presentation at the Accepted Student Celebration, and shared her experience of working as an undergraduate researcher in our lab. Dr. Leo Wan participated in the panel discussion organized by the vice president of research office.


Februbray 2016

Leo was elected as council member of the Cellular Molecular Bioengineering (CMBE) SIG, Biomedical Engineering Society.

The CMBE-SIG brings together researchers with diverse backgrounds in scientific and clinical interests with a common goal of understanding how physical forces control biological processes and a desire to improve the practice of medicine, human and veterinary, through the results of their research.

Please refer to this page for detail.


January 2016

Dr. Leo Wan has created a TED Ed lesson on "Why are human bodies asymmetrical?". The lesson received over 100k downloads within the first 24 hours, and now reached over 300K views. It can be found here:

Ahmad Abu-Hakhem was won the 2nd best podium presentation at the Gradaute Research Symposium int the BME department at RPI.

October 2015

Amanda Chin honored with Rensselaer's Founders Award

The Founders Award of Excellence was established in 1994 to honor students who embody qualities of creativity, discovery, leadership, and the values of pride and responsibility at Rensselaer. The award consists of a special certificate, recognition by faculty, staff, and peers at the Honors Convocation ceremony, and a cash prize. Approximately 70 wonderful students from the Troy and Hartford campuses – about one percent of our student population – are honored each year as winners of Rensselaer's Founders Award of Excellence.

Congratulations, Amanda!


June 2015

Mike Raymond Won Third Place in MS Poster Competition at SB3C Conference at Snowbird, Utah

Mike Raymond won the third place in the MS poster competition at the Summer Biomechanics, Bioengineering, and Biotransport Conference (SB3C) held in Snowbird, Utah. The title of the poster was "Individual Cell-Based Morphological Analysis to Determine Chirality of Epithelial Morphogenesis".

Two PhD students, Amanda and Katie, attended the meeting and presented their research.

The 2015 Summer Biomechanics, Bioengineering and Biotransport Conference included Plenary Lectures, Symposia, Workshops and Student Design and Paper Competitions. The theme of this year's conference was "Synergy of Modeling and Experiments in Biomechanics, Bioengineering and Biotransport."

May 2015

Leo Wan Won the 2015 School of Engineering Research Excellence Award

Dr. Leo Wan has been selected as a recipient of the 2015 School of Engineering Research Excellence Award.

The SoE awardees will be celebrated at the Faculty Achievement Recognition Dinner on 05/12/2015.

April 2015

New Paper on Integrative Biology

Katie's paper, titled Inhibition of Cell-Cell Adhesion Impairs Directional Epithelial Migration on Micropatterned Surfaces (link), is published on Integrative Biology. Undergraduate student, David Shieh, is a co-author. Congratulations!

January 2015

New Paper Apprears on Scientific Reports

A recent paper titled "Astrocytes Increase ATP Exocytosis Mediated Calcium Signaling in Response to Microgroove Structures" has appeared online. Please click link for abstract and full text. The authors include Ajay, Mike, Fabiano, Tony, and Leo from this lab, Dr Zuidema and Chris McKay from Dr. Gilbert's lab, and Dr. Lu from University of Delaware. Congratulations!


December 2014

Leo Wan Appointed to Editorial Board of Scientific Reports

Leo Wan joined the Editorial Board for Scientific Reports, a journal from Nature Publishing Group, the publishers of Nature. Scientific Reports launched in 2011 as a multidisciplinary, online-only, open access publication covering all areas of the natural sciences.

Leo is also an associate editor of the Springer journal Medical and Biological Engineering and Computing.


Novebmer 2014

Leo Wan Invited to Kavli Symposium and Named Fellow

Leo Wan was recently invited to attend the symposium "Kavli Frontiers of Science" which was organized by the National Academy of Science. Participants of the symposium were also named Kavli fellows.

More details about the Kavli Foundation and their symposia can be found on their web site:


October 2014

Amanda Chin Wins Poster Award at Symposium

Amanda Chin, a second-year graduate student from Dr. Leo Q. Wan's laboratory for Tissue Engineering and Morphogenesis (TEAM), won the First Place Poster Award from the New Frontiers Symposium 2014: New Strategies and Technologies in Cancer Research, held in Albany, NY on Nov 14, 2014. Her abstract was also "deemed to be one of the best", and selected to give a podium presentation at the meeting. This award speaks highly of her research quality and presentation skills. The conference is organized by the Capital Region Cancer Research Group.


October 2014

Leo Wan Receives NIH Director's New Innovator Award

The NIH Director's New Innovator Award is the most prestigious award that a researcher can receive at this stage in their career. Leo is the first researcher at RPI to win this award.

The NIH Director's New Innovator (DP2) Award initiative supports a small number of early stage investigators of exceptional creativity who propose bold and highly innovative new research approaches that have the potential to produce a major impact on broad, important problems in biomedical and behavioral research. The New Innovator Award initiative complements ongoing efforts by NIH and its Institutes and Centers to fund early stage investigators through R01 grants, which continue to be the major sources of NIH support for early stage investigators.


August 2014

Two master students, Tony and Mike, presented at the GE Global Research Symposium.


July 2014

Dr. Eric Sun joined our lab.


Katie gave a podium presentation at the World Congress of Biomechanics in Boston.


June 2014

Leo Wan Appointed as Associate Editor of a Springer journal Medical and Biological Engineering and Computing

Founded in 1963, Medical & Biological Engineering & Computing (MBEC) continues to serve the biomedical engineering community, covering the entire spectrum of biomedical and clinical engineering. The journal presents exciting and vital experimental and theoretical developments in biomedical science and technology, and reports on advances in computer-based methodologies in these multidisciplinary subjects. The journal also incorporates new and evolving technologies including cellular engineering and molecular imaging.

MBEC is an official journal of the International Federation of Medical and Biological Engineering (IFMBE).


March 2014

Amanda Chin won the Most Valuable Teaching Assistant Award for her outstanding performance and very positive feedbacks from course instructors and students in the class. Congratulations!


Katie's abstract was accepted for the World Congress of Biomechanics, which will be held this July in Boston. Two students she mentored won awards (see below). Congratulations!


David Shieh, a sophomore majored in Biology, won the Undergraduate Student Summer Research Fellowship from American Heart Association.Congratulations! Read news here.


Kyle O'Neiil, a high school who worked in the lab last summer, won the Philips Award for Exceptional Research at the Westchester Science and engineering Fair.


February 2014

Ajay Singh's paper on effects of nano-toxcicity on cell chirality was accepted to ACS Nano! Congratulations! Please click here for the paper.


Ahmad's book chapter on "High—Throughput Cell Aggregate Culture for Stem Cell Chondrogenesis" was accepted for publication on Springer Protocols. congratulations!


Ahmad presented a poster at ORS in New Orleans, LA. Two undergraduate students, Amy and Sarah, co-authored the abstract.


January 2014

Leo Wan won the Basil O'Connor Starter Scholar Research Award from March of Dimes. Please click link here.

October 2013

Katie Worley, a second year graduate student in the lab, won the prestigious Founders Award of Excellence for her great research as well as the leadership in outreach activities. This Award was established to honor students who embody qualities of creativity, discovery, leadership, and the values of pride and responsibility at Rensselaer. Congratulations, Katie!


Apple picking at Bowman Farm was a success. We got the chance to taste and compare different types of apples. Thanks to Allison for organzing this event!


September 2013

Summer student Sarah Kamal presented an abstract at the BMES meeting at Seattle, WA.


Dr. Wan was invited to give a talk, titled " Left-Right Asymmetry of the Cell", at the Capital Region Cancer Research group seminar on September 19.


July 2013

Allison Fleck and Amanda Chin joined the lab as graduate students. Welcome!


June 2013

Dr. Wan was selected as a Pew scholar. Click here for details. It was also highlighted on the RPI website: Here. Congratulations!

Previously, he also received the NSF CAREER Award and the AHA Scientist Development Grant.

We had a group dinner at Ala Shanghai, a restaurant offering delicious Chinese food.


May 2013

The Graduation dinner was held at the Country Club of Troy on May 24 to celebrate the achievements of the students graduating this year. Mike and Tony graduated with their BS degrees this year, Mark with a MS degree, and Sarah with both BS and MS degrees. Congratulations!

In addition, a graduate student in the lab, Ahmad Abu-Hakmeh, was named as the Most Valuable Teaching Assistant for his performance and positive feedbacks from course instructors and students in the class. Tony was given the Department Chair's Award for Undergraduate Research because of his active role in the lab and two publications as an undergraduate ( Congratulations to both of you!


April 2013

The second paper "Micropatterning of Cells Reveals Chiral Morphogenesis" is published on Stem Cell Research and Therapy. Mark, an undergraduate student from this lab, is a co-author of the paper. Congratulations!

Dr. Wan led a group of 20 undergraduates from RPI BME to attend the Northeastern Bioengineering Conference at Syracuse, NY. This program is supported by Dean's Grant (PI: Drs. Wan and Thompson) from the Engineering school at RPI.

Dr. Wan also presented a keynote talk on "Engineering Chiral Morphogenesis" at the conference. Tony and Mark presented their posters as well.


March 2013

The lab welcomes the next generation scientist, Meera, the new-born baby girl of Dr. Singh. Congratulations, Ajay!

Two abstracts submitted by undergraduate students, Tony and Mark, in the lab were accepted for presentation at the 39th Annual Northeastern Bioengineering Conference at Syracuse, NY. The co-authors included Katie and two other undergraduates, Kate and Mike. Congratulations!


January 2013

Dr. Leo Wan was selected as a Young Investigator at Frontiers of Bioengineering Workshop at Atlanta, GA.

December 2012

Dr. Leo Wan won the Rising Star Award at the Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering (BMES-CMBE) Conference.

The first paper from the lab, titled "Geometry-force control of stem cell fate", is published on BioNanoScience. It is online now (click here). Congratulations, Katie and Tony! Katie is a first year graduate student, and Tony is a senior undergraduate student.

October 2012

Dr. Wan's proposal "Broad UG Participation Biomedical Research for a Better World" was selected for funding under the Dean's Grants program. This program aims to increase the participation of undergraduate students in biomedical research at RPI.

Mark Guirguis, an undergraduate in the lab, won the prestigious Founders Award of Excellence. This Award was established to honor students who embody qualities of creativity, discovery, leadership, and the values of pride and responsibility at Rensselaer. Congratulations, Mark!

September 2012

Welcome Dr. Ajay Vikram Singh to the lab!

August 2012

Ahmad Abu-Hakmeh joined the lab as a graduate student.

June 2012

Kathryn Worley joined the lab as a graduate student with Rensselaer Fellowship.

January 2012

Mark Guirguis went to South Africa and helped innovate new solutions to unique medical changes (click here).

October 2011

NYSTEM Calendar

Winner of 2011 NYSTEM Stem Cell Image contest. One Image from the chirality project is included in 2012 NYSTEM Calendar (December).

September 2011

Leo Joined Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

June 2011

pnas cover

Leo's paper "Micropatterned Mammalian Cells Exhibit Phenotype-Specific Left-Right Asymmetry" was highlighted on the cover of PNAS, and reported by Columbia University, Engineering school, Medical school, and Science and Technololgy Venture.

May 2011

Columbia Image Contest

“Cell Polarity and Chirality” won the First Place in the 2011 Micro-/Nanotechnology Image Contest at the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center, Columbia University

rpi logo
rpi logo