Mingjun Zhang is an associate professor of biomedical engineering in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering. His research interests are in the general area of nano-bioscience. He is particularly interested in applying systems and controls engineering principles in the study of plants and animals. He has enjoyed considerable success in using such results as biological inspiration in addressing other technical challenges. Zhang recently received a prestigious Office of Naval Research Young Investigator award where he will explore inspirations from micro-scale biological systems in the development of energy efficient swimming mechanisms.
His most recent results, entitled “High-Speed Microscopic Imaging of Flagella Motility and Swimming in Giardia lamblia Trophozoites,” are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, and provide new insight into the actual mechanics of how microorganisms swim. These results while useful in themselves would also bear on the concept of applying the swimming mechanics of microorganisms to the mechanisms of nano- and micromachines that would be designed to swim. A significant additional outcome of this published work is that the second and third co-authors are undergraduate Chancellor’s Honors students here at UTK.
Zhang’s work was also recently featured in the Quest article “Why the Ivy Clings and Climbs.”
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