Dr. Leon Bellan


Dr. Leon M. Bellan received his B.S. in Physics at Caltech in 2003 and his Ph.D. in Applied and Engineering Physics at Cornell in 2008.  At Cornell, he studied applications and properties of electrospun nanofibers in the laboratory of Prof. Harold Craighead.  His work focused on microstructure and mechanical characterization of single nanofibers, electrospinning jet dynamics measurements, and the use of nanofibers for nanofabrication purposes.  Near the end of his time at Cornell, Dr. Bellan developed a process to fabricate 3D microfluidic networks using cotton candy as a sacrificial material.


After completing his Ph.D., Dr. Bellan joined the laboratory of Prof. Robert Langer at MIT as a postdoctoral researcher to further develop the sacrificial cotton candy technique.  At MIT, Dr. Bellan expanded the range of materials compatible with the fabrication process to include hydrogels.  These microfluidic networks in hydrogel biomaterials could be used as artificial vascular systems in engineered tissue, providing embedded cells with nutrients and gasses necessary for survival.


In August 2013 Dr. Bellan joined the Mechanical Engineering department at Vanderbilt University as an Assistant Professor.  His research interests currently focus on the development of scalable micro/nanofabrication techniques for the production of smart materials with novel functionality.