To See a World in a Grain of Sand for Healthy Life


Prof. Luke P. Lee is a professor in Departments of Bioengineering, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, Biophysics Graduate Program, Berkeley Sensor and Actuator Center, Biomedical Institute Global Health Research and Technology at UC Berkeley. He received both his BA in Biophysics and PhD in Applied Physics and Bioengineering from UC Berkeley. He joined the faculty at the UC Berkeley in 1999 after more than a decade of industry experience. He became the Lester John and Lynne Dewar Lloyd Distinguished Professor of Bioengineering in 2005. He also served as the Chair Professor in Systems Nanobiology at the ETH Zürich from 2006 to 2007. He became Arnold and Barbara Silverman Distinguished Professor at Berkeley in 2010 and was reappointed again 2015. He is the founding director of the Biomedical Institute for Global Healthcare Research & Technology (BIGHEART) and served as Associate President (International Research and Innovation) and Tan Chin Tuan Centennial Professor at the National University of Singapore from 2016 to 2018. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering. His work at the interface of biological, physical, and engineering sciences for medicine has been recognized by many honors including the IEEE William J. Morlock Award, NSF Career Award, Fulbright Scholar Award, and the HoAm Prize. Lee has over 350 peer-reviewed publications and over 60 international patents filed. His current research interests are quantum biological electron tunneling (QBET) in living organisms, integrated smart optical system (iSOS) for the early detection of cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, and in vitro neurogenesis, and solving ill-defined problems of global healthcare.

In his plenary talk, Dr. Lee will present how to gaze at the health status of humanity and the Earth in a grain of sand and find solutions in nature for preventive healthy life. Speedy Analytical Nano-optofluidic Diagnostic system (SANDs) can help us to predict and stop the spread of infectious disease. As an example of smart SANDs, integrated molecular diagnostic systems (iMDx) that comprise three key elements are developed: (1) a self-contained sample preparation and liquid biopsy on chip, which allows a rapid sample-to-answer readout platform; (2) ultrafast photonic amplifications of DNA, RNA, and protein biomarkers; (3) interface of smartphone optical system (iSOS). Rapid and accurate molecular-level detection network by smart SANDs for human, agricultural, foods, and environmental health will radically improve global healthcare and empower us to create a new proactive, predictive, and preventive paradigm for enhancing global biosecurity. I will also present the development of organoids Microphysiological Analysis Platforms (MAP), or organoids on chip that will benefit to predict the most effective treatment of diseases for each patient. Human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs)-based organoids MAP provides an ideal model to address fundamental questions of molecular organogenesis and pathogenesis. In addition, patient-derived organoids can recapitulate patient responses and help personalized medicine. Current development of mini-brains MAP, pancreatic islets MAP, kidney organoids MAP, and cancer organoids MAP will be discussed. Smart SANDs and organoids MAPs by the convergence of biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering will impact on quantitative life sciences and precision medicine.