Susan Muller photo by Tony Rinaldo
Helen Putnam Fellow
University of California at Berkeley
Dynamics, Kinetics, and Manipulation of DNA, Vesicles, Capsules, and Cells Via Microfluidic Trapping Flows

Susan Muller is a professor of chemical engineering at the University of California at Berkeley. She studies the behavior of macromolecules—either naturally occurring biopolymers such as DNA or synthetic polymers such as polystyrene—in complex flows that arise when they are analyzed or processed. Her recent work has focused on designing microfluidic devices for analysis of DNA and proteins, developing tools to study the dynamics of macromolecules in complex flows, and understanding the effects of macromolecules on the hydrodynamic stability of both microscale and large scale flows.

Muller’s lab has shown how to create a range of microfluidic stagnation point flows; that is, flows with a point of zero velocity at which a microscale object may be trapped, held, and subjected to controlled flow or other forces. This offers unique opportunities for studies of the dynamics, kinetics, and manipulation of DNA, vesicles, capsules, and cells. At Radcliffe, she will extend her work on these microfluidic flows to studies of DNA-protein interactions, vesicle break-up, and coalescence and to determining vesicle and capsule membrane properties through their response to controlled deformation.

Muller received a BSE from Princeton University and a PhD in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has conducted research for more than 20 years at AT&T Bell Laboratories and UC Berkeley. As associate dean of the UC Berkeley Graduate Division, she has participated in academic program reviews of more than 40 of Berkeley’s departments and programs and served as an advocate for graduate student life issues.

This information is accurate as of the fellowship year indicated for each fellow.