Lance C. Kam

Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Secretary, Department of Biomedical Engineering

351 Engineering Terrace
1210 Amsterdam Avenue, Mail Code: 8904
New York , NY 10027

Phone: +1 212-854-8611
Fax: +1 212-854-8725

Research Areas:

Micro- and nano-scale fabrication of biological systems. Cell-cell and cell-matrix signaling. Engineering of immune and nervous systems. Nanomedicine. 

Microscale Biocomplexity Laboratory

Micro- and nano-scale systems have an ever increasing role in biomedical science and engineering.  My research group focuses on the use of these systems to understand how cells read and respond to the complex presentation of cues in their extracellular environment.  We focus particularly on the use fabrication approaches, which offer a level of control over multiple spatial scales that is not possible through traditional molecular and self-assembly approaches; these are the scales at which cells operate and the realm of an increasing range of biological phenomena.  These ideas are further developed in the classroom, in courses covering micro-/nano-scale physiology and fabrication.


  • B.S., Physics ; B.S. Mechanical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
  • M.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI
  • Ph.D., Biomedical Engineeing, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY
  • Postdoctoral, Chemistry, Stanford University, Stanford, CA

Research Interests

  • Micro-/nano-scale organization and dynamics of the immune synapse on T cell function.  Translation of these effects to clinical applications of T cell manipulation.
  • Mechanics in cell signaling
  • Supported lipid bilayers as a mimic of cellular membranes.

Research Support

  • NIH R21EB008199 (PI); "Modulation of T Cell function by patterning of costimulatory ligands."
  • NIH PN2EY016586 (Senior Scientist); "Nanomedicine center for mechanical biology." link
  • NSF 0801530 (Co-I); "IGERT: Optical Techniques for Actuation, Sensing, and Imaging of Biological Systems (OTASI)" link
  • NYSTEM (Co-I); Infrastructure development for imaging core
  • RISE (Co-PI); "Bioengineering approaches to study neural circuitry assembly"
  • NIH R21NS050302 (PI); "Neuronal biointerface: micropatterned lipid bilayers."
  • Gatsby Initiative in Brain Circuitry; "Neuron networks on active arrays."

Recent Talks and presentations

  • "Capturing the Nanoscale Organization of the Immune Synapse on Engineered Materials", 2nd International Conference from Nanoparticles & Nanomaterials to Nanodevices & Nanosystems; Rhodes, Greece, 2009
  • "Capturing the Micro- and Nano-scale Structure of the Immune Synapse", Center for Basic and Applied Studies of Biological Membranes "New Tools and Technologies in Biomembrane Science"; Purdue University, 2009.
  • "Nanoscale Engineering of Immune Cell Function", Irving Institute Nanotechnology Seminar Series, 2009

Honors and Awards

  • 1997: Founder’s Award of Excellence, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • 1998: Cover photos, Report of the US-EC Workshop on Nanobiotechnology
  • 2000: Postdoctoral Fellow, NIH Genome Training Program, Stanford University
  • 2001: Postdoctoral Fellow, National Institutes of Health
  • 2002: Cover photos, Accounts of Chemical Research, Vol. 35 No. 3
  • 2002: Co-investigator, Bio-X Interdisciplinary Initiatives Award, Stanford University
  • 2005: Gatsby Initiative in Brain Circuitry Award
  • 2008: Research Initiatives for Science and Engineering Award
  • 2008: Discussion leader, Gordon Research Conference - Biointerface Science

Recent / select Publications

  • Shi, P., Nedelec, S., Wichterle, H., and Kam, L.C., "Combined Microfluidics/protein Patterning Platform for Pharmacological Interrogation of Axon Pathfinding," Lab Chip, in press (2010). link
  • Shi, P., Shen, K., Ghassemi, S., Hone, J., and Kam, L.C., "Dynamic Force Generation by Neural Stem Cells," Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering, 2: 464-74 (2009). link
  • Shen, K., Tsai, J., Shi, P., Kam, L.C., "Self-aligned Supported Lipid Bilayers for Patterning the Cell-Substrate Interface," JACS, 131: 13204-5 (2009). link
  • Kam, L.C., "Capturing the Nanoscale Complexity of Cellular Membranes in Supported Lipid Bilayers,"J Struct Biol, 168: 3-10 (2009). link
  • Tsai, J., and Kam, L.C., "Rigidity-dependent Crisstalk Between Integrin and Cadherin Signaling," Biophys J - Biophys Lett96: L39 (2009). link
  • Shen, K., Qi, J., and Kam, L.C., "Microcontact Printing of Proteins for Cell Biology,"JoVE 22. (2008). link
  • Shen, K., Thomas, V.K., Dustin, M.L., and Kam, L.C., "Micropatterning of costimulatory ligands enhances CD4+ T cell function," PNAS 105: 7791-6. (2008). link
  • Tsai, J., Sun, E., Gao, Y., Hone, J.C., Kam, L.C., "Non-brownian diffusion of membrane molecules in nanopatterned supported lipid bilayers.," Nano Letters 8: 425-30. (2008). link
  • Shi, P., Shen, K, and Kam, L.C., "Local presentation of L1 and N-cadherin in multicomponent, microscale patterns differentially direct neuron function in vitro.," Developmental Neurobiology 67:
  • Hone, J., and Kam, L., "Nanobiotechnology: Looking Inside Cell Walls," Nature Nanotechnology 2: 140-1 (2007). link
  • Perez, T.D., Nelson, W.J., Boxer, S.G., and Kam, L., “E-cadherin Tethered to Supported Lipid Bilayers as a Model for Cell Adhesion,” Langmuir, 21: 11963-8 (2005). ACSPubs
  • Cherniavskaya, O., Chen, C.J., Heller, E., Sun, E., Provenzano, J., Kam, L., Hone, J., Sheetz, M.P., and Wind, S.J., "Fabrication and surface chemistry of Nanoscale bioarrays designed for the study of cytoskeletal protein binding interactions and their effect on cell motility," Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology B 23: 2972-8 (2005). link
  • Kam, L., and Boxer, S.G., “Spatially Selective Manipulation of Supported Lipid Bilayers by Laminar Flow: Steps Towards Biomembrane Microfluidics,” Langmuir, 19: 1624-1631 (2003). ACSPubs
  • Kam, L., Shain, W., Turner, J.N., and Bizios, R., “Selective Adhesion of Astrocytes to Surfaces Modified with Immobilized Peptides,” Biomaterials 23:511-515 (2002). PubMed
  • Ajo-Franklin, C.M., Kam, L., and Boxer, S.G., “High Refractive Index Substrates for Fluorescence Microscopy of Biological Interfaces with High z-Resolution,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 98: 13643-13648 (2001). PubMed
  • Kam, L., and Boxer, S.G., “Cell Adhesion to Protein-micropatterned Supported Lipid Bilayer Membranes,” Journal of Biomedical Materials Research 55: 487-495 (2001). PubMed
  • Kam, L., Shain, W., Turner, J.N., and Bizios, R., “Axonal Outgrowth of Hippocampal Neurons on Micro-Scale Networks of Polylysine-Conjugated Laminin,” Biomaterials 22: (2001) 1049-1054 (2001). PubMed
  • Kam, L., and Boxer, S.G., “Formation of Supported Lipid Bilayer Composition Arrays by Controlled Mixing and Surface Capture,” Journal of the American Chemical Society 122: 12901-12902 (2000). ACSPubs
  • Turner, A.M.P., Dowell, N., Turner, S.W.P., Kam, L., Isaacson, M., Turner, J.N., Craighead, H.G., and Shain, W., “Attachment of Astroglial Cells to Microfabricated Pillar Arrays of Different Geometries,” Journal of Biomedical Materials Research 51:430-441 (2000). PubMed
  • Kung, L.A., Kam, L., Hovis, J.S., and Boxer, S.G., “Patterning Hybrid Surfaces of Proteins and Supported Lipid Bilayers,” Langmuir 16:6773-6776 (2000). ACSPubs
  • James, C.D., Davis, R.C., Meyer, M., Perez, A., Turner, S., Withers, G., Kam, L. Banker, G., Craighead, H.G., Isaacson, M., Turner, J.N., Shain, W., “Aligned Microcontact Printing of Micrometer Scale Polylysine Structures for Controlled Growth of Cultured Neuronson Planar Microelectrode Arrays,” IEEE Transactions in Biomedical Engineering 47:17-21 (2000). PubMed
  • Kam, L., Shain, W., Turner, J.N., and Bizios, R., “Correlation of Astroglial Cell Function on Micro-patterned Surfaces with Specific Geometric Parameters," Biomaterials 20:2343-2350 (1999). PubMed
  • Lu, L., Kam, L., Hasenbein, M., Nyalakonda, K., Bizios, R., Gpferich, A., Young, J.F., and Mikos, A.G.,"Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cell Function on Substrates with Chemically Micropatterned Surfaces," Biomaterials, 20:2351-2361 (1999). PubMed
  • James, C.D., Davis, R.C., Kam, L., Craighead, H.G., Isaacson, M., Turner, J.N., Shain, W., “Patterned Protein Layers on Solid Substrates by Thin Stamp Microcontact Printing,” Langmuir 14: 741-744 (1998). ACSPubs
  • Craighead, H.G., Turner, S.W., Davis, R.C., James, C., Perez, A.M., St. John, P.M., Isaacson, M.S., Kam, L., Shain, W., Turner, J.N., and Banker, G., “Chemical and Topographical Surface Modification for Control of Central Nervous System Cell Adhesion,” Journal of Biomedical Microdevices 1: 49-64 (1998). Link
  • St. John, P., Kam, L., Turner, S.W., Craighead, H.G., Issacson, M., Turner, J.N., Shain, W., "Preferential Glial Cell Attachment to Microcontact-printed Surfaces," Journal of Neuroscience Methods 75: 171-177 (1997). PubMed


  • Boxer, S.G., and Kam, L., “Biosensor arrays and methods”, U.S. Patent # 6,503,452 (issued 2003).
  • Ishii, C., Boxer, S.G., and Kam, L., :Spatially encoded and mobile arryas of tethered lipids", pending (2004).
  • Kam, L., Shen, K, Dustin, M.L., and Thomas, V.K., "Micropatterned T cell stimulation" pending (2008).

Micro- and nano-scale fabrication of biological systems. Cell-cell and cell-matrix signaling. Engineering of immune and nervous systems. Nanomedicine.

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