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Todd Sulchek

Associate Professor, George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering

Todd Sulchek

Assistant Professor Todd Sulchek received his B.A. in Physics and Mathematics from Johns Hopkins University in 1996 and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Stanford University, in 2000 and 2002 respectively. He came to Georgia Tech in June 2008 as an Assistant Professor. Prior to his current appointment, he was a staff scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Lab.

Sulchek has developed improvements for high-speed atomic force microscopy before focusing on measurement in biological systems. His research focuses primarily on the measurement and prediction of how multiple individual biological bonds produce a coordinated function within molecular and cellular systems. There are two complementary goals; the first is to understand the kinetics of multivalent pharmaceuticals during their targeting of disease markers; the second is to quantify the host cell signal transduction resulting from pathogen invasion. Several tools are developed and employed to accomplish these goals. The primary platform for study is the atomic force microscope (AFM), which controls the 3-D positioning of biologically functionalized micro- and nanoscale mechanical probes. Interactions between biological molecules are quantified in a technique called force spectroscopy. Membrane protein solubilized nanolipoprotein particles (NLPs) are also used to functionalize micro/nano-scale probes with relevant biological mediators. This scientific program requires the development of enabling instrumentation and techniques, which include the following: advanced microscopy and MEMs, nanomechanical linkers, which provide a convenient platform to control bimolecular interactions and study multivalent molecular kinetics and biological mimetics, which provide a simple system to study cell membranes and pathogens.

Research Areas of Interest:

  • Bioengineering and micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS)
  • Atomic force microscopy
  • Multivalency
  • Pathogen adhesion and endocytosis
  • Cell biomechanics
  • Single molecule biophysics
  • Drug delivery and targeting
  • Cell membrane mimetics
  • Biosensors


Awards and Distinctions: 
  • 2011, National Science Foundation CAREER Award
  • 2006, Excellence in Publication Award, Lawrence Livermore National Lab
  • 2003-2006, Physical Biosciences Fellow, Lawrence Livermore National Lab
  • 2004-2005, Consultant for Project Impact, in making affordable intraocular lenses
  • Director, Sulchek BioMEMS & Biomechanics Labs
  • Faculty, George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering
  • Affiliate Faculty, Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience
  • Affiliate Faculty, Integrated Cancer Research Center
  • Affiliate Faculty, Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering

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Applied Physics, Standford University, 2002
Applied Physics, Stanford University, 2000
Physics and Mathematics, Johns Hopkins University, 1996