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Science & Technology Center
Tufts University
Medford, MA 02155

Tel: 617-627-0443
Fax: 617-627-3231

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Brian Timko
Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering


2009 Ph.D., Harvard University, Chemistry
2004 A.M., Harvard University, Chemistry
2002 B.S., Lehigh University, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering


Assistant Professor Brian Timko graduated from Lehigh University with B.S. degrees in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, and from Harvard University with a Ph.D. in Chemistry. He completed his graduate studies in the laboratory of Professor Charles Lieber, where he studied semiconductor nanowires and how they could be stably interfaced with living cells and tissue. He then completed postdoctoral studies with Professor Robert Langer at MIT and Professor Daniel Kohane at Boston Children's Hospital. During that time, he studied nanocomposite materials for cardiac tissue engineering and remotely triggered drug delivery. Subsequently, he was Instructor in Anaesthesiology at Boston Children's Hospital; and in 2016, he joined Tufts University as Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Honors and Awards

  • Nano Research Young Innovator Award in Nanobiotechnology (2018)
  • MIT Sloan Healthcare Innovations Prize (2016)
  • Anesthesia Foundation Distinguished Trailblazer Award, Boston Children's Hospital (2016)
  • Grand Prize and Audience Choice Award, MIT 100k Pitch Competition (2015)
  • NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (F32) (2011)
  • Gold Award, Materials Research Society (2008)
  • Finalist, National Collegiate Inventors Competition  (2007)
  • William H. Peterson Award, American Chemical Society (2006)
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (2002)
  • Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship (2000)
  • Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship (2000)

Research Interests

Brian Timko's research interests lie at the intersection of materials science, chemistry and biology, with a major focus on nanotechnology and nanoscale interfaces between solid-state and biological systems. Central to our laboratory's strategy is the bottom-up paradigm, whereby nanomaterials are synthesized with rationally-controlled electrical, optical and chemical properties, then assembled into biological systems at physiological conditions. This strategy is leveraged to achieve advances in three interrelated areas:

  • Nanoelectronics for biosensing. Semiconductor nanowires can be elucidated as field-effect transistors (NW-FETs), which function as highly-sensitive detectors of local electric field changes. Briefly, NWs are synthesized with rationally-controlled geometry and chemical composition, assembled onto biocompatible substrates, then individually addressed with lithographically-defined metallic interconnects. We exploit NW-FETs to achieve extra- or intracellular electrophysiology in living cells or tissue, or to monitor chemical signals in real-time.
  • Nanocomposites for tissue engineering. Nanomaterials enhance tissue scaffolds since they recapitulate the electrical, chemical and topographic cues present in native extracellular matrix. We are implementing 3D bioprinting techniques to achieve vascularized, nanocomposite tissues that mimic or extend the function of native tissue.
  • Externally-triggered drug delivery systems. Remotely-activated drug delivery systems would enable the patient or physician to control the timing and dose of drug release. We are developing systems that incorporate gold nanomaterials or superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles, which inductively couple with light or magnetic fields, respectively. These systems enable dosing with either sustained or pulsatile release profiles, where timing and dose size is controlled by the external stimulus.

Professional Positions

2016-present Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Tufts University School of Engineering
2013-2016 Instructor in Anaesthesiology, Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School
2009-2013 Postdoctoral Fellow, Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, MIT
2009-2013 Postdoctoral Fellow, Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School


BME 5 Junior Design and Research I
BME 7/8 Senior Design and Research

Professional Memberships

  • American Chemical Society
  • Materials Research Society
  • American Institute of Chemical Engineers
  • Alpha Chi Sigma
  • Sigma Xi