Principal Investigator: Jeffrey Moran, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Mechanical Engineering, George Mason University

Ph.D., University of Washington, 2013
B.S.E., Arizona State University, 2007

Self-description in 10 words or less: I’m fascinated by fluid flows driven by invisible forces.

Research Interests: My research is broadly focused on better understanding the interplay between unique microscale phenomena (e.g. self-propelled microparticles, electrically-induced pore formation in cell membranes) and the nanoscale interfacial transport that drives these phenomena. I’m especially interested in self-propelled particles, or active colloids, which propel themselves in liquids without any moving parts. These particles can move in predetermined patterns and deliver cargo to targeted locations. My group seeks a fundamental understanding of the ways in which self-propelled particles affect their surrounding environment, and how changes in their environment in turn affect the particles’ motion. A better understanding of these effects will enable new applications in heat transfer enhancement, water remediation, and even cancer treatment.

Something you won’t find on my CV: When I'm not in the office or the lab, you can find me playing jazz on my upright bass, competing in a triathlon, or hiking in Shenandoah National Park.

Current Lab Members


Shrishti Singh

PhD Student
Bioengineering, George Mason University

Self-description in 10 words or less: A well-fed science enthusiast and researcher in the making.

Research Interests: I have always been interested in learning about problems in cancer biology and I would ponder on them for days to come up with a solution. In my undergraduate, my senior design project involved silver nanoparticles synthesis to tackle tooth decay. Since then, I have been fascinated by materials and the various ways in which we can tailor them for our specific applications. As I pursued my Masters, I realized that my interests can be combined effectively to potentially solve some problems in therapeutic cancer biology and that's what I hope to continue working in. I also have a deep-set interest in biophysics specifically studying interactions between different signalling proteins.

Something you won’t find on my CV: When I am not in the lab, I am often singing some bad Bollywood number while writing my crazy fictional stories! Or I might be making pretty pictures of different proteins (yes, I can do that!).

Lab Alumni


Matthew Baumholtz

Undergraduate Student

I will be an incoming freshman at The University of Chicago; I will be studying Economics and Astrophysics. My research background resides in Soft Robotics. Xavier M. Segel, co-Founder of Haverford School’s soft robotic team, and I lead in the creation of a patented, biocompatible, edible, and biodegradable soft robotic material. The product was submitted to Harvard’s International Soft Robotic Toolkit Competition and was awarded First Place.

Currently, Xavi and I are working on ferrofluidically actuating silicone soft mini-grippers into a spherical shape to capture an object. From this position, the actuator will be tetherlessly controlled using a neodymium magnet. Using this mechanism, we are able to ‘capture and cordlessly control’ any object. This project acts as a proof-of-concept for drug delivery or biocompatible medical device removal.

Outside of research, you can find me in the gym lifting weights or playing basketball.


Xavier Segel

Undergraduate Student

I am currently undertaking a gap year, but will be an incoming freshman at Williams College in the Fall of 2019, where I will be studying Molecular Biology. I have a research background in Physiology and Soft Robotics. I have worked extensively in the Department of Physiology at the University of Pennsylvania, where I looked to overturn existing models of subunit composition within mitochondrial calcium ion channels. In the field of soft robotics, I worked with Matthew N. Baumholtz to developed a new biocompatible, edible, and biodegradable soft material. In 2017, the product was submitted to Harvard’s International Soft Robotic Toolkit Competition and was awarded First Place. It was granted a utility patent and Best Poster Award at the 2018 MRS Spring Conference, Phoenix.

Within Dr. Moran's lab, Matt and I work generally with soft robotics. At the moment we are attempting to merge magnetism into soft robots to achieve a new type of autonomous actuation.

Outside of research, I am hard to find. I frequently rock climb, backpack, and go mountaineering. I will be somewhere in Nepal for the Fall of 2018 and somewhere in Patagonia for the Spring of 2019.