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Andy Sarles

James Conklin Fellow and Associate Professor


August 2020-Present
James Conklin Fellow, Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

August 2019-Present
Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

August 2011 – 2019
Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

June 2010 – July 2011
Post-Doctoral Research Scientist, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Research interests revolve around the assembly, characterization, and application of biologically inspired and biomolecular material systems for engineered devices. Specific topics of interest include:

  • Biomimetic membranes for sensing, energy conversion, and actuation
  • Uncovering membrane-nanomaterial interactions
  • Soft, reconfigurable materials for neuromorphic computing



Ph.D., 2010, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

M.S., 2006, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

B.S., 2004, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Professional Service

  • Co-Chair, Emerging Technologies Symposium, ASME SMASIS Conference – 2018
  • Member of Materials Research Society (2008-present) and (American Society of Mechanical Engineers (2008-present)
  • Symposium Chair and Co-Chair, Bioinspired Smart Materials and Systems, ASME Smart Materials Adaptive Structures and Intelligent Systems (SMASIS) Conferences 2013-2015.
  • Secretary, Bioinspired Smart Materials Technical Committee, ASMS Branch within ASME, 2013 – 2015.
  • Reviewer: Langmuir, Smart Materials and Structures, Nature Protocols, Journal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures (JIMSS), Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems (JMEMS), Robotica
  • Proposal Reviewer for the User Proposal Program at the Center for Nanophase Materials Science (CNMS) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Awards and Recognitions

  • Dept. of Mech. Aero. & Biomed. Engr. Outstanding Tenure Track Faculty Award – 2018
  • Tickle College of Engineering Professional Promise in Research Award – 2018
  • NSF CAREER Award – 2018
  • Gary Anderson Early Achievement Award, Adaptive Structures and Material Systems Branch of ASME – 2017
  • UT Research Foundation Innovation Award for Technology Licensing - 2016
  • 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award - 2015
  • College of Engineering Summer Pre-College Service Award – 2014, 2015, 2016
  • MABE Tenure Track Outstanding Gradient Faculty Award - 2013


Najem, J. S.; Taylor, G. J.; Weiss, R. J.; Hasan, M. S.; Rose, G.; Schuman, C. D.; Belianinov, A.; Collier, C. P.; Sarles, S. A., Memristive Ion Channel-Doped Biomembranes as Synaptic Mimics. ACS Nano 2018, 12 (5), 4702-4711.

Venkatesan, G. A.; Taylor, G. J.; Basham, C. M.; Brady, N. G.; Collier, C. P.; Sarles, S. A., Evaporation-induced monolayer compression improves droplet interface bilayer formation using unsaturated lipids. Biomicrofluidics 2018, 12, 024101.

Taylor, G. J.; Heberle, F. A.; Seinfeld, J. S.; Katsaras, J.; Collier, C. P.; Sarles, S. A., Capacitive Detection of Low-Enthalpy, Higher-Order Phase Transitions in Synthetic and Natural Composition Lipid Membranes. Langmuir 2017, 33 (38), 10016-10026.

Nguyen, M.; Srijanto, B.; Retterer, S.; Collier, C. P.; Sarles, S. A., Hydrodynamic trapping for rapid assembly and in situ electrical characterization of droplet interface bilayer arrays. Lab Chip 2016, 16, 3576-3588.

Tamaddoni, N.; Taylor, G.; Hepburn, T.; Michael Kilbey, S.; Sarles, S. A., Reversible, voltage-activated formation of biomimetic membranes between triblock copolymer-coated aqueous droplets in good solvents. Soft Matter 2016, 12, 5096 - 5109.

Venkatesan, G. A.; Sarles, S. A., Droplet immobilization within a polymeric organogel improves lipid bilayer durability and portability. Lab on a Chip 2016, 16, 2116 - 2125.

Tamaddoni, N.; Sarles, S. A., Toward cell-inspired materials that feel: measurements and modeling of mechanotransduction in droplet-based, multi-membrane arrays. Bioinspiration & Biomimetics 2016, 11(3), 036008.

Niroomand, H.; Venkatesan, G. A.; Sarles, S. A.; Mukherjee, D.; Khomami, B., Lipid-Detergent Phase Transitions During Detergent-Mediated Liposome Solubilization. Membrane Biol. 2016, 1-16.

Venkatesan, G. A.; Lee, J.; Barati Farimani, A.; Heiranian, M.; Collier, C. P.; Aluru, N. R.; Sarles, S. A., Adsorption kinetics dictate monolayer self-assembly for both lipid-in and lipid-out approaches to droplet interface bilayer formation. Langmuir 2015, 31(47), 12883-12893.

Tamaddoni, N.; Freeman, E. C.; Sarles, S. A., Sensitivity and directionality of lipid bilayer mechanotransduction studied using a revised, highly durable membrane-based hair cell sensor. Smart Materials and Structures 2015, 24(6), 065014.

Taylor, G. J.; Venkatesan, G. A.; Collier, C. P.; Sarles, S. A.; Direct in situ measurement of specific capacitance, monolayer tension, and bilayer tension in a droplet interface bilayer. Soft Matter 2015, 11(38), 7592-7605.

Mruetusatorn, P.; Polizos, G.; Datskos, P. G.; Taylor, G.; Sarles, S. A.; Boreyko, J. B.; Hayes, D. G.; Collier, C. P., Control of Membrane Permeability in Air-Stable Droplet Interface Bilayers. Langmuir 2015, 31(14), 4224-4231.

Taylor G. J.; Sarles, S. A., Heating-enabled formation of droplet interface bilayers using Escherichia coli total lipid extract. Langmuir, 2015. 31(1): 325-337.

Boreyko J. B., Polizos G., Datskos P. G., Sarles S. A., & Collier C. P. Air-stable droplet interface bilayers on oil-infused surfaces. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(21), 7588-7593.

Mruetusatorn, P.; Boreyko, J. B.; Venkatesan, G. A.; Sarles, S. A.; Hayes, D. G.; Collier, C. P., Dynamic morphologies of microscale droplet interface bilayers. Soft Matter, 10(15), 2530-2538.

Sarles, S. A., The use of virtual ground to control transmembrane voltages and measure bilayer currents in serial arrays of droplet interface bilayers. Smart Materials and Structures, 2013. 22(9), 094023.

Boreyko, J. B.; Mruetusatorn, P.; Sarles, S. A.; Retterer, S. T.; Collier, C. P., Evaporation-induced buckling and fission of microscale droplet interface bilayers. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 135(15), 5545-5548.

Gallena, S.; Tian, W.; Solomon, N. P.; Johnson, A. T.; Vossoughid, J.; Sarles, S. A., Validity of a new respiratory-resistance measurement device to detect glottal-area change. Journal of Voice, 2013. 27(3), 299-304.

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