Lee Seung-Wuk
  • DIVISON: Precision Medicine & Healthcare Research Center (TBSI)
  • EMAIL: leesw@berkeley.edu PHONE: Phone: 510-486-4628, fax: (510) 486-6488

Research area: Bionanomaterials

Research expertise and interests: Protein, virus, and bacterial engineering, nanomaterial design

Description of research:

Our research is mainly on biomimetic interfacial nanomaterials. The primary goals of our research program are to create precisely defined bioinspired nanomaterials and utilize them to study complex interfacial phenomena, and to develop novel, functional materials, devices and therapeutics. In our research group, we have used bioengineering approaches to create these biomimetic nanomaterials and investigated the complex interactions at their interfaces at the molecular level. An understanding of these interactions is critically important in the biosciences and bioengineering fields. We utilized phage or bacteria as bioengineering toolkits to interrogate the biointerfaces between protein-protein, protein-inorganic/organic, and cellular materials. Based on our understanding, we apply our knowledge to address various scientific and engineering challenges in energy, biosensors, and bionanomedicines.

A. Protein-Protein Interfaces

The primary goal of this research is to understand the mechanisms nature uses to create diverse hierarchical structures and exquisite functions in a spatially and temporally controlled manner from a simple nanofibrous building block through protein-protein assembly processes.

B. Protein Cellular Interfaces

Based on our understanding of the protein-protein interfaces to form a controllable nanostructure to tune biochemical, chemical, mechanical cues, we apply this system to interrogate the protein-cellular interface. Protein-cellular interfaces play a critical role in the development of regenerative medicines and novel therapeutics.

C. Protein-Organic Material Interfaces

The primary goal of this research is to interrogate protein-organic material interfaces to understand how proteins bind desired chemicals through molecular recognition and to utilize it for the development of sensitive and selective biosensors.

D. Protein-Inorganic Interface

The primary goal of this research is to interrogate protein-inorganic material interface to study the biomineralization process of bones and teeth in the human body.

E. Protein-Electric Interfaces

The primary goal of this research is to interrogate protein structures and electric dipole relationships for the development of clean and green electric energy from the bio-inspiration of collagen-based piezoelectric properties in our body.

My group’s research endeavors have thus far resulted in ~50 published papers and 12 patents. Our research was recognized by many honors, including being chosen as one of twelve research highlights in President Obama’s National Science Foundation Report for US Congress (2014). In addition, our energy research was chosen as one of the top five nanomanufacturing processes by Scientific American (2013). Our research on virus-piezoelectricity was chosen as one of 17 Breakthrough Discoveries in 2012 by iO9. My research efforts were recognized with multiple awards including an NSF CAREER Award (2008-2013), the Hellman Faculty Award (2008), Best Paper Awards in conferences (MRS 2007 and IEEE NEMS 2007 meeting) and an R&D 100 award (2013) and etc. Our ongoing research was featured by many news media, including TV (i.e., ABC7 news, AP news, NTV (Russian national TV), CCTV (Chinese national TV), Euronews (European major news channel), Al Jazeera (Arab major news channel), Korean News (YTN)); radio (i.e., BBC radio, BR (German public radio), WBAL radio (Baltimore, MD based radio channel), and newspapers and magazines (e.g., New York Times, Washington Times, LA Times, USA Today, Forbes, Scientific American, Discovery, The Scientist).


Courses to be offered: Soft Material: Biological Soft Materials, 1unit


Education background:

Ph. D., 2003 The University of Texas at Austin,Chemistry and Biochemistry

M. S., 1997 Korea University, Seoul, Korea,Organic Chemistry

B. S., 1995 Korea University, Seoul, Korea, Chemistry


Professional experiences:

2015-present, University of California, Berkeley, Professor, Bioengineering

2011-2015, University of California, Berkeley, Associate Professor, Bioengineering

2006- 2011, University of California, Berkeley, Assistant Professor, Bioengineering

2009-2014, Center of Integrated Nanomechanical Systems, University of California, Berkeley, Associate Director

2006-present, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Scientist, Physical Bioscience Division

2004-2005, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Postdoctoral Fellow, Molecular Foundry


Honors and awards:

· One of 12 Highlights for President Obama’s US Congress report for the NSF (2014)

· Samsung GRO Award (2013, 2015)

· R&D 100 Awards (2013, 2015)

· One of the 17 breakthrough of the 2012 Scientific Discovery (iO9 Committee; 2012).

· Berkeley Faculty Research Fund Award, University of California, Berkeley (2010)

· Presidential Chair Fellows, University of California, Berkeley (2009)

· National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2008-2013)

· Hellman Foundation Faculty Award (2008)

· First place in MRS 2007 Spring Meeting Top 5 Hot Talk/Cool Papers among 3300 papers (April, 2007)

· Annual Nanotech Briefs' Nano50 award; Innovator Categories (2005).

· Gold Award in MRS 2002 Fall Meeting Graduate Student Competition (December, 2002).

· Best Poster Award at 2002 Spring Materials Research Society Meeting (April, 2002).

· Best Employee Honor by Samsung Electronics (Display Device Division) (1998).


1.       Lee, JH, Warner, CM, Jin HE, Barnes, E, Poda AR, Perkins EJ, Lee, SW, Bioinspired Nanomaterial Design through Phage Engineering and Self-assembly, Nature Protocol in Press (2017).

2.       Lee JH, Fan B, Samdin TD, Monteiro DA, Desai MS, Scheideler O, Jin HE, Kim S & Lee SW. Phage-Based Structural Color Sensors and Their Pattern Recognition Sensing System. ACS Nano, 11, 3632-3641 (2017).

3.       Seo Y, Manivannana S, Kang I, Lee SW & Kim K. Gold Dendrites Co-deposited with M13 Virus as a Biosensor Platform for Nitrite Ions Biosensors and Bioelectronics. 94, 87-93 (2017).

4.       Tom S, Jin HE, Heo K & Lee SW. Engineered Phage Films as Scaffolds for CaCO3 Biomineralization.Nanoscale. 8, 15696-15701 (2016).

5.       Kim WG, Song H, Kim C, Moon JS, Kim K, Lee SW & Oh JW. Biomimetic Self-templating Optical Structures Fabricated by Genetically Engineered M13 bacteriophage. Biosensors & Bioelectronics. 85, 853-859 (2016).

6.       Yoo SY, Jin HE, Choi DS, Kobayashi M, Farouz Y, Wang S & Lee SW. M13 Bacteriophage and Adeno-Associated Virus Hybrid for Novel Tissue Engineering Material with Gene Delivery Functions. Advanced Healthcare Materials. 5(1), 88-93 (2016).

7.       Desai MS, Wang E, Joyner K, Chung TW, Jin HE & Lee SW. Elastin-based Rubber-like Hydrogels.Biomacromolecules. 17(7), 2409-2416 (2016).

8.       Zeng Qiongyu, Desai MS, Jin HE, Lee JH, Chang J & Lee SW. Self-healing Elastin-Bioglass Hydrogels. Biomacromolecules. 17(8), 2619-2625 (2016).

9.       Park C, Heo K, Oh S, Kim SB, Lee SH, Kim YH, Kim Y, Lee J, Han SO, Lee SW, Kim SW. Eco-Design and Evaluation for Production of 7-Aminocephalosporanic Acid from Carbohydrate Wastes Discharged after Microalgae-based Biodiesel Production. Journal of Cleaner Production. 133, 511-517 (2016).

10.   Jin HE, Zueger C, Wong W, Chung WJ, Lee BY & Lee SW. Selective and Sensitive Sensing of Flame Retardant Chemicals Through Phage Display Discovered Recognition Peptide. Nano Letters. 15(11), 7697-7703, (2015).

11.   Jin HE, Jang J, Chung J, Lee HJ, Wang E, Lee SW & Chung WJ. Biomimetic Self-Templated Hierarchical Structures of Collagen-Like Peptide Amphiphiles.Nano Letters. 15(10), 7138-7145, (2015).

12.   Lee JH, Jin HE, Desai MS, Ren S, Kim S & Lee SW. Biomimetic Sensor Design. Nanoscale. 7, 18379-18391, (2015).

13.   Desai MS & Lee SW. Protein-based functional nanomaterial design for bioengineering applications.WIREs Nanomedicine and Nanobiotechnology. 7(1), 69-97, (2015).

14.   Tom S, Jin HE & Lee SW. Aptamers as Functional Bionanomaterials for sensor applications. Engineering of Nanobiomaterials. Grumezescu, A. (2015).

15.   Oh JW, Chung WJ, Heo K, Jin HE, Lee BY, Wang E, Meyer J, Kim C, Lee SY, Kim WG, Zemla M, Auer M , Hexemer A & Lee SW. Biomimetic Virus-Based Colourimetric Sensors. Nature Communication. 5, Article number: 3043 (2014).

16.   Jin HE, Farr R & Lee SW. Collagen mimetic peptide engineered M13 bacteriophage for collagen targeting and imaging in cancer. Biomaterials. 35(33), 9236-9245, (2014).

17.   Chang J, Liu Y, Heo K, Lee BY, Lee SW & Lin L. Direct-Write Complementary Graphene Field Effect Transistors and Junctions via Near-Field Electrospinning. Small. 10(10), 1920-1925, (2014).

18.   Park JP, Do M, Jin HE, Lee SW & Lee H. M13 Bacteriophage Displaying DOPA on Surfaces: Fabrication of Various Nanostructured Inorganic Materials without Time-Consuming Screening Processes. Applied Materials & Interfaces. 6(21), 18653-18660, (2014).

19.   Farr R, Choi DS & Lee SW. Phage-based nanomaterials for biomedical applications. Acta Biomaterialia. 10(4), 1741-1750, (2014).

20.   Choi DS, Jin HE, Yoo SY, & Lee SW. Cyclic RGD Peptide Incorporation on Phage Major Coat Proteins for Improved Internalization by HeLa Cells.Bioconjugate Chemistry. 25(2), 216–223. (2014).

21.   Wang E, Desai MS, Heo K & Lee SW. Graphene-Based Materials Functionalized with Elastin-like Polypeptides. Langmuir. 30(8), 2223-2229. (2014).

22.   Yoo SY, Merzlyak A & Lee SW. Synthetic Phage for Tissue Regeneration. Mediators of Inflammation. 2014, Article ID 192790, (2014).

23.   Warner CM, Barker N, Lee SW & Perkins EJ. M13 bacteriophage production for large-scale applications. Bioprocess and Biosystems Engineering. 37(10), 2067-2072, (2014).

24.   Wang E, Desai MS & Lee SW. Light-Controlled Graphene-Elastin Composite Hydrogel Actuators. Nano Letters. 13(6), 2826–2830, (2013).

25.   Jin HE, Chung WJ & Lee SW. Phage Display for the Discovery of Hydroxyapatite-Associated Peptides.Methods in Enzymology. 532, 305-323, (2013).

26.   Jin H, Won N, Ahn B, Kwag J, Heo K, Oh JW, Sun Y, Cho SG, Lee SW & Kim S. Quantum dot-engineered M13 virus layer-by-layer composite films for highly selective and sensitive turn-on TNT sensors. Chemical Communications. 49, 6045-6047, (2013).

27.   Gutes A, Lee BY, Carraro C, Mickelson W, Lee SW & Maboudian R. Impedimetric graphene - based biosensor for the detection of polybrominated diphenyl ether. Nanoscale. 5, 6048-6052, (2013).

28.   Yang SH, Chung WJ, McFarland S & Lee SW. Assembly of Bacteriophage into Functional Materials. The Chemical Record. 13(1), 43-59, (2013).

29.   Lee BY, Zhang J, Zueger C, Chung WJ, Yoo SY, Wang E, Meyer J, Ramesh R & Lee SW. Virus-based Piezoelectric Energy Generation. Nature Nanotechnology. 7, 351-356, (2012).

30.   Featured in Nature Nanotech News and Views | Piezoelectric devices: Squeezed virus produces electricity by S. Michael Yu

31.   Bhattarai SR, Yoo SY, Lee SW & Dean D. Engineered phage-based therapeutic materials inhibit Chlamydia trachomatis intracellular infection Biomaterials. 33(20), 5166-5174, (2012).

32.   Yoo SY, Oh JW & Lee SW. Phage-Chips for Novel Optically Readable Tissue Engineering AssaysLangmuir. 28(4), 2166-2172, (2012).

33.   Chung WJ, Oh JW, Kwak KW, Lee BY, Meyer J, Wang E, Hexemer A, & Lee SW. Biomimetic self-templating supramolecular structures Nature. 478, 364-368, (2011).

34.   Kwon KY, Wang E, Nofal M, & Lee SW. Microscopic Study of Hydroxyapatite Dissolution as Affected by Fluoride Ions. Langmuir. 27 (9), 5335-5339, (2011).

35.   Kim TH, Lee BY, Jaworski J, Yokoyama K, Chung WJ, Wang E, Hong SH, Majumdar A, & Lee SW. Selective and Sensitive Trinitrotoluene CNT-FET Sensors Using Conjugated Lipid-like Polymer Nanocoatings. ACS Nano. 5 (4), 2824-2830, (2011).

36.   Yoo SY, Kobayashi M, Lee PP, & Lee SW. Early osteogenic differentiation of bone stem cell induced by collagen-derived DGEA peptide on nanofibrous phage tissue matrices Biomacromolecules. 12 (4), 987-996, (2011).

37.   Chung WJ, Kwon KY, Song J, & Lee SW. Evolutionary screening of collagen-like peptides that nucleate hydroxyapatite crystals Langmuir. (2011).

38.   Jaworski J, Yokoyama K, Zueger, C, Chung WJ, Majumdar A, & Lee SW. Polydiacetylene Incorporated with Peptide Receptors for Detection of Trinitrotoluene Explosives. Langmuir. 27 (6), 3180-3187, (2011).

39.   Yoo SY, Merzlyak AM, & Lee SW. Facile Growth Factor Immobilization Platform Based on Engineered Phage Matrices. Soft Matter. 7, 1660-1666, (2011).

40.   Wang E, Lee SH, & Lee SW. Elastin-Like Polypeptide Based Hydroxyapatite Bionanocomposites.Biomacromolecules. 12 (3), 672-680 (2011).

41.   Yoo SY, Chung WJ, Kim TH, Le M, & Lee SW. Facile patterning of genetically engineered M13 bacteriophage for directional growth of human fibroblast cells. Soft Matter. 7 (2), 363-368, (2011).

42.   Chung WJ, Sena, M, Merzlyak A, & Lee SW. Phage as developmental tools for functional nanomaterials. Comprehensive Biomaterials. Ducheyne P, Healy KH, Hutmacher DE, Grainger DE, & Kirkpatrick J eds. (2011). 2010

43.   Chung WJ, Merzlyak A, & Lee SW. Fabrication of engineered M13 bacteriophages into liquid crystalline films and fibers for directional growth and encapsulation of fibroblasts Soft Matter. 6 (18), 4454-4459, (2010).

44.   Chung WJ, Merzlyak A, Yoo SY, & Lee SW. Genetically Engineered Liquid-Crystalline Viral Films for Directing Neural Cell Growth Langmuir. 26 (12), 9885-9890, (2010).

45.   Wang E, & Lee SW. Evolution of Bone Proteins Topics in Bone Biology: Bone and Development. Bronner F, Farach-Carson MC, & Roach HI eds. (2010).

46.   Merzlyak A & Lee SW. Engineering Phage Materials with Desired Peptide Display: Rational Design Sustained through Natural Selection Bioconjugate Chemistry. , 20 (12), 2300-2310, (2009).

47.   Kwon KY, Wang E, Chang N, & Lee SW. Characterization of the Dominant Molecular Step Orientations on Hydroxyapatite (100) Surfaces. Langmuir. 25 (13), 7205-7208, (2009).

48.   Cerruti M, Jaworski J, Raorane D, Zueger C, Varadarajan J, Carraro C, Lee SW, Maboudian R, & Majumdar A. Polymer-Oligopeptide Composite Coating for Selective Detection of Explosives in Water. Analytical Chemistry. 81 (11), 4192-4199, (2009).

49.   Kwon KY, Wang E, Chung A, Chang N, & Lee SW. Effect of Salinity on Hydroxyapatite Dissolution Studied by Atomic Force Microscopy. Journal of Physical Chemistry C. 113 (9), 3369-3372, (2009).

50.   Merzlyak A, Indrakanti S, & Lee SW. Genetically Engineered Nanofiber-Like Viruses For Tissue Regenerating Materials. Nano Letters. 9 (2), 846-852, (2009).

51.   Kwon KY, Wang E, Chung A, Chang N, Saiz E, Choe UJ, Koobatian M & Lee SW. Defect Induced Asymmetric Pit Formation on Hydroxyapatite. Langmuir. 24 (19), 11063-11066, (2008).

52.   Jaworski JW, Raorane D, Huh JH, Majumdar A & Lee SW. Evolutionary Screening of Biomimetic Coatings for Selective Detection of Explosives. Langmuir. 24 (9), 4938-4943, (2008).

53.   Lim SH, Jaworski J, Satyanarayana S, Wang F, Raorane D, Lee SW & Majumdar A. Nanomechincal Chemical Sensor Platform. Nano/Micro Engineered and Molecular Systems, 2007. NEMS 'O7. 2nd IEEE International Conference, 886-889, (2007).

54.   Merzlyak & Lee SW. Phage as templates for hybrid materials and mediators for nanomaterial synthesis. Current Opinion in Chemical Biology. 10 (3), 246-252, (2006).

55.   Publications before Berkeley

56.   Lee, S.-W.; Belcher, A. M. Virus-Based Fabrication of Micro- and Nanofibers Using Electrospinning. Nano Lett. 4, 387-390 (2004).

57.   Nam, K.; Beau, R. P.; Lee, S.-W.; Belcher, A. M. Genetically Driven Assembly of Nanorings Based on the M13 Virus. Nano Lett., 4, 23-27 (2004).

58.   Ni, J.; Lee, S.-W.; White, J. M.; Belcher, A. M. Molecular Orientation of a ZnS-Nanocrystal-Modified M13 Virus on a Silicon Substrate. J. Poly. Sci. Part A: Polymer Physics, 42, 629-635 (2004).

59.   Flynn, C.; Lee, S.-W.; Beau, R. P.; Belcher, A. M. Viruses as Vehicles for Growth, Organization and Assembly of Materials. Acta Materialia, 51, 5867-5880 (2003).

60.   Lee, S.-W.; Wood, B. M.; Belcher, A. M. Chiral Smectic C Structures of Virus Based Films. Langmuir, 19, 1592-1598 (2003). (Featured as Cover)

61.   Lee, S.-W.; Lee, S.-K.; Belcher, A. M. Virus Based Alignment of Inorganic, Organic, and Biological Nano-sized Materials. Advanced Materials, 15, 689-692 (2003).[cover]

62.   Lee, S.-W.; Mao, C.; Flynn, E. C.; Belcher, A. M. Ordering of Quantum Dots Using Genetically Engineered Viruses. Science 296, 892-895 (2002).

63.   Kim, K.-K.; Hong, Y.-R.; Lee, S.-W.; Jin, J.-I.; Park, I.; Sohn, B.-H.; Kim, W.-H.; Park, J.-K. Synthesis and Luminescence Properties of Poly(p-phenylenevinylene) Derivatives Carrying Directly Attached Carbazole Pendants. J. Mat. Chem. 11, 3023-3030 (2001).

64.   Chung, S.-J.; Kwon, K.-Y.; Lee, S.-W.; Jin, J.-I.; Lee, C.-H.; Lee, C.-E.; Park, Y. Highly Efficient Light- Emitting Diodes Based on an Organic-Soluble Poly(p-phenylenevinylene) Derivative Carrying the Electron-Transporting PBD Moiety. Advanced Materials 1998, 10, 1112-1116.



1. Belcher, A. M., Lee, S.-W., Virus-Based Fabrication of Micro- and Nanofibers Using Electrospinning, (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA) 2005, WO 2005/038430 A2. Licensed to Siluria Technologies Inc., Houston, TX.

2. Belcher, A. M., Lee, S.-W., Nanoscaling Ordering of Hybrid Materials Using Genetically Engineered Mesoscale Virus, (The University of Texas at Austin, TX). 2003, WO 2003029431.Liscensed to Cambrios Inc., Mountain View, CA.

3. Belcher, A. M., Lee, S.-W., Iverson, B. L., Lee, S.-K., Fabricated Biofilm Storage Device, (The University of Texas at Austin, TX) 2004, US 2004171139.

4. Belcher, A. M., Smalley, R. E., Ryan, E., Lee, S.-W., Biological Control of Particle Size of Nanoparticles from Semiconductors and Carbon Nanotube, (The University of Texas at Austin, TX) 2003, WO 2003026590.

5. Lee, S.-W., Song, J., Bertozzi, C. R., Hydroxyapatite-Binding Peptides for Bone Growth and Inhibition, (Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, CA) PCT 2007, PCT/US2005/043214.

6. Jaworski, J. W., Lee, S.-W., Majumdar, A., Raorane, D. A., Receptors Useful for Gas Phase Chemical Sensing, (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, CA) 2010 PCT/US2008/060260.

7. Merzlyak, M; Lee, S.-W., Recombinant Bacteriophage Useful For Tissue Engineering, (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, CA) PCT/US2009/038449.

8. Kim, SH; Lee, S.-W. Campisi, J; TIN2-Interacting Interface Mutant Polypeptides, (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, CA) Disclosed in 2009.

9. Lee, S.-W. Lee, BY, Virus-Based Piezoelectric Energy Generation. (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, CA) filed in 2011.

10. Lee, S.-W., Chung, W.-J., Oh, J.-W. Biomimetic Virus-Based Colorimetric Sensors (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, CA) filed in 2014.

11. Lee, S.-W., Wang, E., Desai