Cache Creek Wilderness


Principal Investigator


Tonya Kuhl

Principal Investigator

Department of Chemical Engineering , Department Chair

Biomedical Engineering

Office: 3112 Bainer Hall

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Research Interests

Direct Measurements of Biological Membrane – Membrane Interactions, Ligand-Receptor Interactions, Polymer Thin-Films, and Small Angle Scattering Studies of Interfacial Films


B.S. Chemical Engineering, University of Arizona

Ph.D. Chemical Engineering, University of California, Santa Barbara

Postdoctoral Fellow, Materials Research Laboratory, University of California, Santa Barbara

Graduate Students


Michael Bull

Chemical Engineering Ph.D. Candidate

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Zhongrui Liu

Materials Science and Engineering Ph.D. Candidate

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Kevin Gu

Chemical Engineering Ph.D. Candidate

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John Miller

Materials Science and Engineering PhD Student

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Michelle (Jiayun) Hou

Chemical Engineering M.S. Student

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Deb Roy

Biophysics PhD Student (Co-advised by Dr. Matthew Coleman)

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Group Cartoon!

Courtesy of Zhongrui Liu


Undergraduate Students

Skye Frank (Chemical Engineering) 2021-

Nicholas Chan (Chemical Engineering) 2022-


Visitng Scholars

Prof. Keishi Suga, Ph.D. 2015,2020

Former Postdoctoral Researchers

Charles F. Laub, 2005-2007 (Staff member, Nanomaterials in the Environment, Agriculture, and Technology, University of California, Davis)

Chad E. Miller, 2005-2009 (California Polytechnic San Luis Obispo, Physics Department)

Nathan W. Moore, 2007-2008 (Staff member Sandia National Laboratory)

Simon Castroph, 2011-2013 (Siemens Healthcare, Frankfurt, Germany)

Dennis Mulder, 2011-2012 (self-employed)

Former Graduate Students

2003 Stephanie Nichols-Smith (Chemical Engineering), Thesis: "An Investigation of the Themodynamic, Mechanical, and Electrostatic Properties of Model Mitochondrial Membranes."(Genentech, Vacaville, California)

2005 Chad E. Miller (Biophysics), Dissertation: "High-Resolution Characterization of Model Lipid Membranes and their Interaction with Cholera Toxin”.(SSRL, then C California Polytechnic San Luis Obispo, Physics Department).

2006 Nathan W. Moore (Chemical Engineering), Dissertation: "Tuning Adhesion Using Tethered Ligand-Receptor Interactions”. (Sandia National Laboratory, Albuquerque, NM)

2008 Suzanne Barber (Materials Science), Dissertation: "Membranes and Colloids:How Polymer Decoration Impacts Adhesion between Complementary Surfaces and Membrane Fusion”. (Scientific Staff, Max Bergmann Center of Biomaterials and Leibniz-Institut für Polymerforschung, Dresden, Germany)

2011 Erik B. Watkins (Biophysics), Dissertation: "Neutron and X-ray Scattering Studies of Model Membranes" (Staff Researcher Los Alamos National Laboratory)

2011 Dennis J. Mulder (Chemical Engineering), Dissertation: "Polymer Brushes in Restricted Geometries: Structure and Lubricity" (self-employed)

2011 Caroline Kim (Chemical Engineering), Thesis: "Lipid Membrane Thermodynamics on pH Responsive Polymer Cushions". (PhD candidate UCLA)

2011 Ayano Hirahara (Materials Science), Thesis: Analysis of a Five-Layer Interferometer in the Surface Force Apparatus by Mathematica and C Language Programs (Japan).

2012 Ian Elliott (Chemical Engineering), Dissertation: "Characterization of High Grafting Density Polymer Brushes Using Molecular Dynamics Simulations and Experimental Methods" (Chevron Research, Richmond CA)

2012 Wei-Po Liao (Materials Science), Dissertation: "Interfacial Interactions of Polymer Brushes in Restricted Geometries" (Samsung, Houston, Texas)

2012 Raquel Orozco-Alcaraz (Chemical Engineering) Dissertation: "Membrane Interactions at the Molecular Level Using the Surface Force Apparatus" (Boehringer Ingelheim, Fremont, CA)

2014 Shoalong Liu (Materials Science), Thesis: "Interaction Forces between Phase Separated Membranes." (Health Care, San Francisco, California).

2016 Daniel Kienle (Chemical Engineering) Dissertation: "Measuring Matter in a Tight Spot: A Novel Approach for Characterizing Ultra-Thin Films and Confined Fluids" (Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Colorado at Boulder)

2016 James Kurniawan (Chemical Engineering) Dissertation: "Interaction Forces between Biomembranes: Surface Force Apparatus Studies of Supported Lipid Bilayers" (Intel, Portland, Oregon)

2016 Pei Pang (Materials Science), Thesis: A Review of Interactions of Polycarboxylate Based Superplasticizers in Concrete Applications

2017 Joao Ventrici de Souza (Chemistry) Dissertation: "Development of Advanced Methodologies for Three-Dimensional Nanoprinting" (Intel, Portland, Oregon)

2018 Allison Belliveau (Materials Science), Thesis: A Thermodynamic Study of Pure Olein and Mixed Olein-Lipid Monolayers.

2019 Amanda Dang (Materials Science) Dissertation: "Applications of Supported Lipid Bilayers and Nanolipoprotein Particles" (Gilead, San Francisco, California)

2020 Ryan Edmonds (Chemical Engineering), Thesis: "Friction Measurements of Model Saliva-Wine Solutions between Polydimethylsiloxane Surface" (Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washington)

2021 Evan Haning (Chemical Engineering), Thesis: "Design and Processing of Functionalized Epoxy Thin Films for Black Lipid Membrane Support and Testing" (Ultima Genomics, Newark, California)

2021 Deepshika Gilbile (Chemical Engineering), Dissertation: "Innovations in Fixed-Target Serial X-ray Crystallography" (BioMarin, San Rafael, California)

2023 Tanner Finney (Chemical Engineering), Dissertation: "Mechanically Sensitive Polydiacetylene Langmuir Films: Structure, Properties and Applications" (Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM)

Former Undergraduate Students

Shia-Yen Teh (Biosystems Engineering, 2003), 2001-2003

Trevor Crabtrey (Chemical Engineering, 2003), 2001-2003

Jeffrey Chomyn (Chemical Engineering, 2003), 2003

Momena Shenshu (Chemical Engineering, 2004), 2004

Melissa Takahashi (Biochemical Engineering, 2004), 2004

Emily Conley

Yelena Semenov

Kaki Cheung (Electrical and Computer Engineering, 2005), 2004-2005

Anthony De La Cruz (Chemical Engineering, 2005), 2004-2005

Bertha Kuo (Biomedical Engineering, 2005), 2004-2005

Melodi King

Saranya Benjauthrit (Chemical Engineering, 2006), 2005-2006

Danny Nou (Mechanical Engineering, 2006), 2005-2006

Yanto Yanto (Chemical Engineering, 2006), 2005-2006

Yan Xu (Chemical Engineering, 2006), 2005-2006

Sean Moore (Chemical Engineering, 2007), 2006-2007

Rosa Parks (Chemical Engineering, 2007), 2007

Laura Judson (Biomedical Engineering, 2008), 2007-2008

Brian Seaby (Chemical Engineering, 2009), 2007-2009

Paul Bulkley-Logston (Chemical Engineering, 2009), 2007-2009

Ta’Sheema Taylor (Biological Systems Engineering, 2011), 2008-2010

Lizabeth Gomez (Bioengineering), summer 2008

Shilpa Banik (Chemical Engineering, 2010) 2009-2010

Shari Williams (Chemical Engineering, 2011) 2010-2011

Eric Cheung (Chemical Engineering, 2012) 2011-2012

Easton Groves (Chemical Engineering, 2013) 2012-2013

William Chan (Chemical Engineering, 2013) 2012-2013

Alessandra Coronas-Wohl (Chemical Engineering, 2013) 2012-2013

Kaylee Thatcher (Chemical Engineering, 2014) 2012

Matthew Stebban (Chemical Engineering, 2014) 2012-2013

Christy Turcios (Chemical Engineering) 2013-2015

Hillary Chan (Chemical Engineering) 2013-2015

Tony Li (Chemical Engineering) 2013-2015

Miguel Angel Turcios (Chemical Engineering) 2013-2014

Daniela Ivey (Chemical Engineering) 2014-present

Araceli Munaier Almeida (2014)

Joe Chen (Chemical Engineering) 2014-2015

Greg Kittleson (Chemical Engineering) 2014-2016

Shawn Mattathil (Chemical Engineering) 2014-2016

Doniko Kingi (Chemical Engineering) 2014-2016

Yeeun Kim (Chemistry) 2014-2015

Stephney Racy (Chemistry) 2014-2016

Robert Wu (Chemical Engineering) 2015-2016

Diego Docto (Chemical Engineering) 2016-2018

Denise Monahan (Chemical Engineering) 2016-2017

Ashley Templeton (Chemical Engineering) 2016-2017

Alexander Tang (Chemical Engineering) 2017-2020

Clara Dresselhaus (Computer Science) 2018-2020

Ellie Ridgway (Chemical Engineering) 2018-2020

Abigail Weiler (Chemical Engineering) 2018-2020

Christopher Dixon (Chemical Engineering) 2019-2021

Uyioenwongo Udoh (Chemical Engineering) 2021-2022

Quinn Spooner (Chemical Engineering) 2021-2022

Patrick Ama (Chemical Engineering) 2021-2022

Dat Dang (Chemical Engineering) 2021-2023