Thornton Hall E-209
Wilsdorf Hall B003-B009 ​PO Box 400743
UVA Center for Advanced Biomanufacturing Biophysical Microsystems Group Google Scholar Researchgate


Nathan Swami is a Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA. His group seeks to develop electrically functional microfluidic devices and instrumentation for label-free manipulation, sorting and cytometry of biosystems, for applications in biomolecular sensing, in vitro disease modeling and integrative tissue regeneration. Some of the chief enablers in his group include: (1) soft imprint lithography for 3D patterning of biodegradable scaffolds towards patterning cellular interactions for enabling tissue regeneration; (2) electrochemical analysis in microfluidic and droplet systems for biomolecular sensing; and (3) label-free impedance and deformability-based sorting and cytometry of biosystems. Prior to University of Virginia, he served on the scientific staff of the MEMS & Microfluidics group at Motorola Labs and prior to that, he served as a Scientist at Clinical Microsensors, Inc., a Caltech start-up interfacing microelectronics to bio-analysis. He seeks to impact emerging biomanufacturing approaches, as well as detection systems within point-of-care and resource-poor settings for personalizing medical decisions. For more details, see his full list of publications.


B.S. ​Indian Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India, 1991

M.S. ​University of British Columbia, Vancouver, 1993

Ph.D. ​University of Southern California, Los Angeles, 1998

Post-Doc Senior Scientist at Clinical MicroSensors Inc, a Caltech start-up focused on DNA sensors, 1999-2000 and Principal Scientist at Motorola Labs, MEMS & Microfluidics 2000-2003

Research Interests

Signal and Image Processing
Wireless Health
Biomedical Data Sciences
Biotechnology and Biomolecular Engineering (Biomolecular Design, Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering)
Drug Delivery
Quantitative Biosciences
Millimeter-Wave and Terahertz Electronics
Surface and Interface Science and Engineering
Nanomaterials and nanomanufacturing
Bio-inspired systems
Battery/Fuel Cell Technologies/Energy Harvesting
Science, Technology and Society

Selected Publications

“Label-free quantification of intracellular mitochondrial dynamics using dielectrophoresis”; Anal Chem (2017) DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.6b04666. Rohani, A.; Moore, J.; Kashatus, J.; Sesaki, H.; Kashatus, D.; Swami, N. S.
“Microbial analysis in dielectrophoretic microfluidic systems”; Analytica Chimica Acta (2017) 966, 11-33. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aca.2017.02.024; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aca.2017.02.024
“Tracking Inhibitory Alterations during Interstrain Clostridium difficile Interactions by Monitoring Cell Envelope Capacitance”; ACS Infectious Diseases (2016) 2 (8), pp 544–551. Y.-H. Su, A. Rohani, C. Warren, N. S. Swami*
“Aptamer-Functionalized Nanoparticles for Surface Immobilization-Free Electrochemical Detection of Cortisol in a Microfluidic Device”, Biosens. Bioelectron. (2016), 78, pp. 244-252; DOI: 10.1016/j.bios.2015.11.044. B. J. Sanghavi+; J. A Moore; J. L Chavez; J. Hagen; N. Kelley-Loughnane; C. –F. Chou, N. S. Swami*
“High aspect ratio nano-imprinted grooves of poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) control the length and orientation of retraction fibers during fibroblast cell division”, Biointerphases (2015); 10 (4), 041008: 1-8; DOI: 10.1116/1.4936589. Y.-H. Su, P.-C. Chiang, L.-J. Cheng, C.-H. Lee, N. S. Swami, C.-F. Chou*

Courses Taught


Featured Grants & Projects

Subcellular phenotypic analysis for optimizing microbiota interactions To supplement conventional infection control methods based on antibiotics with a strategy based on commensal microbials to inhibit the pathogenic organisms, we seek to influence their ability to colonize the intestine, reduce their ability to secrete toxins, and decrease their intestinal permeability. To speed the discovery process for optimizing such microbiota for antagonistic interactions to inhibit C.difficile infections, this project develops in vitro and in vivo probes for microfluidic monitoring of subcellular alterations to pathogenic bacteria. (NIH 1R21AI130902-01: 1 Ph.D. student and 50% postdoc).
Conformation-specific enrichment and detection of molecular biomarkers The early diagnosis of diseases and detection of their pathogenesis requires quantification of a spectrum of closely related biomarkers, which are present in extremely small quantities (~ng-pg/mL). We seek to selectively enrich particular biomarkers of interest over interfering molecules in the bio-fluid media, using the electrostatics arising from their characteristic size, shape, surface charge and conformation. We focus on cancer and neurological biomarkers. (AFOSR FA2386-15-1-4105: 1 postdoc + 1 Ph.D. student).
Microfluidic isolation and single-particle cytometry of vesicles, cells and multi-cell aggregates To characterize phenotypic heterogeneity, we focus on isolation and analysis of subpopulations for personalized and transplant therapies. Specifically, we use the impedance and deformability responses in microfluidic systems for sorting and analysis. (Paul Manning Launchpad Award). Analogously, we use data science approaches to couple single cell microfluidics that identifies mitochondrial heterogeneity by quantifying emerging subpopulations to image analysis that analyzes perturbations to populations of tumor lines to inhibit tumor development by mitochondria-shaping proteins (NIH).
Nano/micropatterned cellular microenvironments, organ-on-chip & tissue chip systems For control of tissue regeneration, alongside vascular integration, we seek to create biomimetic micro-architectures with patterned neural and muscle activity. For screening of personalized therapies, we seek to develop tissue chips and organ-on-chip systems.