My long term professional goal is to lead academic research that probes cell behavior using custom bio-microsystems and cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET). In my PhD I designed, fabricated, and characterized innovative electroactive polymer micro-actuators. In the Pruitt lab at Stanford I studied metrology of cell forces and techniques to interface between silicon devices with biological cells. In the Dunn lab, I am applying microfluidic platforms to study developmental biology and using protein micropatterning to improve the throughput of cellular cryo-ET.

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

  • Co-chair, SURPAS JEDI Committee (2021 - Present)

Professional Education

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Tel Aviv University (2016)
  • Ph.D., Tel Aviv University, Materials Engineering and Nanotechnologies (2017)
  • M.Sc., Tel Aviv University, Materials Engineering and Nanotechnologies (2014)
  • B.Sc., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Physics (2008)

Stanford Advisors

All Publications

  • Lattice micropatterning for cryo-electron tomography studies of cell-cell contacts. Journal of structural biology Engel, L., Vasquez, C. G., Montabana, E. A., Sow, B. M., Walkiewicz, M. P., Weis, W. I., Dunn, A. R. 2021: 107791


    Cryo-electron tomography is the highest resolution tool available for structural analysis of macromolecular complexes within their native cellular environments. At present, data acquisition suffers from low throughput, in part due to the low probability of positioning a cell such that the subcellular structure of interest is on a region of the electron microscopy (EM) grid that is suitable for imaging. Here, we photo-micropatterned EM grids to optimally position endothelial cells so as to enable high-throughput imaging of cell-cell contacts. Lattice micropatterned grids increased the average distance between intercellular contacts and the thicker cell nuclei such that the regions of interest were sufficiently thin for direct imaging. We observed a diverse array of membranous and cytoskeletal structures at intercellular contacts, demonstrating the utility of this technique in enhancing the rate of data acquisition for cellular cryo-electron tomography studies.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jsb.2021.107791

    View details for PubMedID 34520869

  • Lattice Micropatterning of Electron Microscopy Grids for Improved Cellular Cryo-Electron Tomography Throughput Engel, L., Vasquez, C. G., Montabana, E. A., Sow, B. M., Walkiewicz, M. P., Weis, W. I., Dunn, A. R. CELL PRESS. 2021: 173A
  • MEMS device for applying shear and tension to an epithelium combined with fluorescent live cell imaging JOURNAL OF MICROMECHANICS AND MICROENGINEERING Garcia, M. A., Sadeghipour, E., Engel, L., Nelson, W., Pruitt, B. L. 2020; 30 (12)
  • Spatially controlled stem cell differentiation via morphogen gradients: A comparison of static and dynamic microfluidic platforms JOURNAL OF VACUUM SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY A Cui, K. W., Engel, L., Dundes, C. E., Nguyen, T. C., Loh, K. M., Dunn, A. R. 2020; 38 (3)

    View details for DOI 10.1116/1.5142012

    View details for Web of Science ID 000522020800001

  • Spatially controlled stem cell differentiation via morphogen gradients: A comparison of static and dynamic microfluidic platforms. Journal of vacuum science & technology. A, Vacuum, surfaces, and films : an official journal of the American Vacuum Society Cui, K. W., Engel, L. n., Dundes, C. E., Nguyen, T. C., Loh, K. M., Dunn, A. R. 2020; 38 (3): 033205


    The ability to harness the processes by which complex tissues arise during embryonic development would improve the ability to engineer complex tissuelike constructs in vitro-a longstanding goal of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. In embryos, uniform populations of stem cells are exposed to spatial gradients of diffusible extracellular signaling proteins, known as morphogens. Varying levels of these signaling proteins induce stem cells to differentiate into distinct cell types at different positions along the gradient, thus creating spatially patterned tissues. Here, the authors describe two straightforward and easy-to-adopt microfluidic strategies to expose human pluripotent stem cells in vitro to spatial gradients of desired differentiation-inducing extracellular signals. Both approaches afford a high degree of control over the distribution of extracellular signals, while preserving the viability of the cultured stem cells. The first microfluidic platform is commercially available and entails static culture, whereas the second microfluidic platform requires fabrication and dynamic fluid exchange. In each platform, the authors first computationally modeled the spatial distribution of differentiation-inducing extracellular signals. Then, the authors used each platform to expose human pluripotent stem cells to a gradient of these signals (in this case, inducing a cell type known as the primitive streak), resulting in a regionalized culture with differentiated primitive streak cells predominately localized on one side and undifferentiated stem cells at the other side of the device. By combining this approach with a fluorescent reporter for differentiated cells and live-cell fluorescence imaging, the authors characterized the spatial and temporal dynamics of primitive streak differentiation within the induced signaling gradients. Microfluidic approaches to create precisely controlled morphogen gradients will add to the stem cell and developmental biology toolkit, and may eventually pave the way to create increasingly spatially patterned tissuelike constructs in vitro.

    View details for DOI 10.1116/1.5142012

    View details for PubMedID 32255900

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7093209

  • Extracellular matrix micropatterning technology for whole cell cryogenic electron microscopy studies JOURNAL OF MICROMECHANICS AND MICROENGINEERING Engel, L., Gaietta, G., Dow, L. P., Swif, M. F., Pardon, G., Volkmann, N., Weis, W., Hanein, D., Pruitt, B. L. 2019; 29 (11)
  • Extracellular matrix micropatterning technology for whole cell cryogenic electron microscopy studies. Journal of micromechanics and microengineering : structures, devices, and systems Engel, L. n., Gaietta, G. n., Dow, L. P., Swift, M. F., Pardon, G. n., Volkmann, N. n., Weis, W. I., Hanein, D. n., Pruitt, B. L. 2019; 29 (11)


    Cryogenic electron tomography is the highest resolution tool available for structural analysis of macromolecular organization inside cells. Micropatterning of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins is an established in vitro cell culture technique used to control cell shape. Recent traction force microscopy studies have shown correlation between cell morphology and the regulation of force transmission. However, it remains unknown how cells sustain increased strain energy states and localized stresses at the supramolecular level. Here, we report a technology to enable direct observation of mesoscale organization in epithelial cells under morphological modulation, using a maskless protein photopatterning method (PRIMO) to confine cells to ECM micropatterns on electron microscopy substrates. These micropatterned cell culture substrates can be used in mechanobiology research to correlate changes in nanometer-scale organization at cell-cell and cell-ECM contacts to strain energy states and traction stress distribution in the cell.

    View details for DOI 10.1088/1361-6439/ab419a

    View details for PubMedID 32879557

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7457726

  • Local electrochemical control of hydrogel microactuators in microfluidics JOURNAL OF MICROMECHANICS AND MICROENGINEERING Engel, L., Liu, C., Hemed, N., Khan, Y., Arias, A., Shacham-Diamand, Y., Krylov, S., Lin, L. 2018; 28 (10)
  • Spectroscopic ellipsometry study of spin coated P(VDF-TrFE-CTFE) thin films and P(VDF-TrFE-CTFE)/PMMA blends MICROELECTRONIC ENGINEERING Ben-David, M., Engel, L., Shacham-Diamand, Y. 2017; 171: 37-43
  • Engineered hybrid cardiac patches with multifunctional electronics for online monitoring and regulation of tissue function NATURE MATERIALS Feiner, R., Engel, L., Fleischer, S., Malki, M., Gal, I., Shapira, A., Shacham-Diamand, Y., Dvir, T. 2016; 15 (6): 679-+


    In cardiac tissue engineering approaches to treat myocardial infarction, cardiac cells are seeded within three-dimensional porous scaffolds to create functional cardiac patches. However, current cardiac patches do not allow for online monitoring and reporting of engineered-tissue performance, and do not interfere to deliver signals for patch activation or to enable its integration with the host. Here, we report an engineered cardiac patch that integrates cardiac cells with flexible, freestanding electronics and a 3D nanocomposite scaffold. The patch exhibited robust electronic properties, enabling the recording of cellular electrical activities and the on-demand provision of electrical stimulation for synchronizing cell contraction. We also show that electroactive polymers containing biological factors can be deposited on designated electrodes to release drugs in the patch microenvironment on demand. We expect that the integration of complex electronics within cardiac patches will eventually provide therapeutic control and regulation of cardiac function.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/NMAT4590

    View details for Web of Science ID 000376528000021

    View details for PubMedID 26974408

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4900449

  • High surface area thermoplastic polymer films fabricated by mechanical tearing using nano-porous silicon MICROELECTRONIC ENGINEERING Hakshur, K., Engel, L., Shacham-Diamand, Y., Ruschin, S. 2016; 150: 71–73
  • A Cardiovascular Occlusion Method Based on the Use of a Smart Hydrogel IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING Jackson, N., Verbrugghe, P., Cuypers, D., Adesanya, K., Engel, L., Glazer, P., Dubruel, P., Shacham-Diamand, Y., Mendes, E., Herijgers, P., Stam, F. 2015; 62 (2): 399–406


    Smart hydrogels for biomedical applications are highly researched materials. However, integrating them into a device for implantation is difficult. This paper investigates an integrated delivery device designed to deliver an electro-responsive hydrogel to a target location inside a blood vessel with the purpose of creating an occlusion. The paper describes the synthesis and characterization of a Pluronic/methacrylic acid sodium salt electro-responsive hydrogel. Application of an electrical bias decelerates the expansion of the hydrogel. An integrated delivery system was manufactured to deliver the hydrogel to the target location in the body. Ex vivo and in vivo experiments in the carotid artery of sheep were used to validate the concept. The hydrogel was able to completely occlude the blood vessel reducing the blood flow from 245 to 0 ml/min after implantation. Ex vivo experiments showed that the hydrogel was able to withstand physiological blood pressures of > 270 mm·Hg without dislodgement. The results showed that the electro-responsive hydrogel used in this paper can be used to create a long-term occlusion in a blood vessel without any apparent side effects. The delivery system developed is a promising device for the delivery of electro-responsive hydrogels.

    View details for DOI 10.1109/TBME.2014.2353933

    View details for Web of Science ID 000348297000001

    View details for PubMedID 25203979

  • A study toward the development of an electromechanical poly(vinylidene fluoride-trifluoroethylene-chlorofluoroethylene) buckling membrane actuator JOURNAL OF MICROMECHANICS AND MICROENGINEERING Engel, L., Kruk, S., Shklovsky, J., Shacham-Diamand, Y., Krylov, S. 2014; 24 (12)
  • Thermoplastic nanoimprint lithography of electroactive polymer poly(vinylidene fluoride-trifluoroethylene-chlorofluoroethylene) for micro/nanoscale sensors and actuators JOURNAL OF MICRO-NANOLITHOGRAPHY MEMS AND MOEMS Engel, L., Krylov, S., Shacham-Diamand, Y. 2014; 13 (3)
  • Actuation of a novel Pluronic-based hydrogel: Electromechanical response and the role of applied current SENSORS AND ACTUATORS B-CHEMICAL Engel, L., Berkh, O., Adesanya, K., Shklovsky, J., Vanderleyden, E., Dubruel, P., Shacham-Diamand, Y., Krylov, S. 2014; 191: 650–58
  • Nano-imprinting lithography of P(VDF-TrFE-CFE) for flexible freestanding MEMS devices MICROELECTRONIC ENGINEERING Shklovsky, J., Engel, L., Sverdlov, Y., Shacham-Diamand, Y., Krylov, S. 2012; 100: 41–46
  • Freestanding smooth micron-scale polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) membranes by thermal imprinting JOURNAL OF MICROMECHANICS AND MICROENGINEERING Engel, L., Shklovsky, J., Schrieber, D., Krylov, S., Shacham-Diamand, Y. 2012; 22 (4)