Creating innovative bio-convergent technologies for better human life



Biological Microenvironment
engineering Laboratory (BiMiL)
Pilnam Kim

Associate Professor

BiMiL aims to understand the intrinsic mechanisms of biological morphogenetic processes and develop interdisciplinary research projects that will delineate the universal role in developmental morphogenesis and reveal new insights into tissue engineering

Research Area


1) Active implants & smart scaffolds

Biomedical Scaffolds are used to provide mechanical and biological structures for cell attachments, proliferation, differentiation, and migration by regulating the bioactive molecules such as protein and growth factors. Also, scaffolds provide cues to control the morphology and function of newly formed tissue in regenerative medicine. The fabrication technologies are developed to improve the biomedical scaffold design by controlling mechanical properties and chemical composition that is suitable for rapid nutrient diffusion and cell survival. Indeed, the effect of the process parameters on the micro or nano-structure and on the resulting drug release profiles and cell recruitment, mechanical and physical properties, and other relevant properties, are emphasized. In the BiMiL, we try to enhance the functionalities and develop the tools available for clinically important biomedical applications. We focus particularly on developing injectable and functional scaffolds for cancer therapy and nerve regeneration.

2) in vitro & ex vivo disease models

Tissue engineering integrates many fields of science and engineering in order to design, develop, and test tissue replacements for diseased-damaged tissue or in-vitro drug screening models. In the BiMiL, we try to address this problem by utilizing biologically inspired design principles to develop in vitro or ex vivo model system that reconstitute structural, mechanical, and functional complexity of critical tissues and organs. Using the model system, we elucidate the cellular response to biological stimuli depending on the geometry and mechanical properties surrounding environments and morphological cues. Moreover, we try to explore the use of these models for testing the efficiency and safety of therapeutic drugs, as well as for understanding microscopic mechanism of human disease.


3) Biomimetic fabrication of biomaterials


Self-organized pattern formation is a growing interdisciplinary field of research about phenomena that can be observed in Nature. In the biological world, patterns can range from simple to complex, forming the basic building blocks of life. Research on self-organization tries to describe and explain the complex patterns and behaviors that arise from a collection of entities without an external organizer. The frequency and degree with which process regulation, precision, and robustness are encountered in pattern formation raises many questions. Is there a universal principle underlying such phenomena? Can we explain how such processes evolve and reproduce well-organized patterns in artificial systems? To address these questions, rather than attempting to copy the structure via technically developed fabrication processes, we try to mimic their intrinsic structures and environmental conditions that lead to the self-architecture or pattern formation. The BiMiL is particularly interested in biological patterns, involving networking or branching, and hierarchical geometries where mechanical stress plays a crucial role on the dynamics. We try to explore the use of these approaches for designing complex and optimized engineered micro/nanostructures. Moreover, by incorporating multi-scale elastic fabrication methods and spontaneous pattern formation in a biologically inspired manner, we could create versatile soft origami or structures, which can achieve target-deformation and target-function under changes in various external conditions.



Key Achievements

  • 1. P. Kim, M. Abkarian, H. A. Stone*, “Hierarchical folding of elastic membranes under biaxial compressive stress”, Nat. Mater. 10, 952–957 (2011)
  • 2. H. N. Kim*, K.-J. Jang, J.-Y. Shin, D. Kang, S. M. Kim, I. Koh, Y. Hong, S. Jang, M. S. Kim, B.-S. Kim, H. E. Jeong, N. L. Jeon, P. Kim*, and K.-Y. Suh, "Artificial Slanted Nanocilia Array as a Mechanotransducer for Controlling Cell Polarity", ACS Nano, 11, 730, (2017)
  • 3. J. Cha, H. Kim, N. Hwang, P. Kim*, "Mild Reduction of the Cancer Cell Surface as an Anti-invasion Treatment", ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 10, 35676 (2018)
  • 4. J. Cha, P. Kim*, "Time series assessment of the effects of hypoxic stress on glioma tumorsphere development within engineered microscale niches", Biomaterials, 194, 171 (2019)
  • 5. M. Jang, G. Choi, Y. Y. Choi, J. E. Lee, D. H. Han, H. Lee, J.-H. Cheong, P. Kim*, "Extracellular vesicles (EVs)-bioadhesives nanoaggregates for microRNA-based cancer diagnosis", 11, 79, NPG Asia Materials (2019)