Abraham Phillip Lee

picture of Abraham Phillip Lee

Chancellor's Professor, Biomedical Engineering
The Henry Samueli School of Engineering

Chancellor's Professor, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering
The Henry Samueli School of Engineering

Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley, 1992, Mechanical Engineering

Phone: (949) 824-9691
Fax: 949-824-1727
Email: aplee@uci.edu

University of California, Irvine
NSII 3120
Mail Code: 2715
Irvine, CA 92697
Research Interests
micro/nanofluidics, biosensors, point-of-care diagnostics, BioMEMS, cell sorting, targeted therapeutics, cell sorting, cell engineering, liquid biopsy
Academic Distinctions
Fellow, National Academy of Inventors (NAI)
Fellow, Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES)
Fellow, American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
Fellow, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE)
Fellow, Royal Society of Chemistry
Editor-in-Chief, Lab on a Chip journal (2017-2020)
Department Chair, Biomedical Engineering, UCI (2010-2019)
Lawrenece Livermore National Lab
Research Abstract
Over the years, Dr. Abraham “Abe” Lee has pioneered research in MEMS, BioMEMS and microfluidics/Lab-on-a-Chip technologies. Early in his career he developed microactuators for micro-surgical devices and later applied these technologies to the manipulation of biological objects that were intrinsically in a liquid environment, and thus transitioned into the Lab on a Chip/microfluidics field. The vision was always to “communicate” with living systems at the micro- and nanoscale and in the process understand their functions and how they collectively contribute to how life works. The natural outcome was the understanding of how living systems can be repaired when “malfunction” occurs as a result of disease, injury, or decay. Notable microfluidic technologies that were developed and pioneered in Dr. Lee’s Lab include magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) micropump, dielectrophoresis (DEP) for cell sorting, droplet microfluidics, and cavity-bubble acoustic streaming transducers (CAST).

More recently, Dr. Lee’s research interest can be generally regarded as “microfluidic precision medicine” and include sorting and purification of stem cells, single cell analysis, hybrid particles for ultrasound-assisted drug delivery, point-of-care diagnostics, blood sample preparation, liquid biopsy and microfluidic devices for perfused vascular 3D tissue constructs. An emerging theme is microfluidic cell engineering for cell therapy, with two projects highlighting this area: development of artificial antigen-presenting cells and non-viral cell transfection microfluidic platforms that are high efficiency, high throughput, high viability, with uniform and controlled dosage delivery to each single cell of the population. We are currently working with collaborators on whole blood liquid biopsy of cancer patients by separating healthy WBCs, leukemic cells, CTCs and companion biomarkers. The holy grail is to be able to sample a patient’s drop of blood, and quickly assess the treatment options in real-time.
Available Technologies
Awards and Honors
Pioneers of Miniaturisation Prize (2009)
Short Biography
Dr. Lee joined UCI from the National Cancer Institute, where he served as Senior Technology Advisor in the Office of Technology and Industry Relations (OTIR). Specifically, Dr. Lee was responsible for identifying new opportunities in interagency collaborations, new strategies to promote technology maturation, and provide expert advice on promoting technology development within NIH. Before joining NCI, Dr. Lee was a program manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) (1999-2001) in the Microsystems Technology Office (MTO). At DARPA, he started the $59M BioFlips (Bio-Fluidic Chips) Program and was one of three founding program managers managing the “Fundamental Research at the Bio:Info:Micro Intersection” program. These programs set the technical foundations that were instrumental in shaping the nation’s leadership position in micro-fluidics and BioMEMS. His research has contributed to the founding of several start-up companies. He owns 55 issued US patents and is author of over 120 journals articles. Professor Lee was awarded the 2009 Pioneers of Miniaturization Prize and is an elected fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), the American Society of Mechanical Engineering (ASME), and the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES).

At UCI, Dr. Lee is the Director of the Center for Advanced Design and Manufacturing of Integrated Microfluidics (CADMIM), an NSF Industry/University Collaborative Research Center. He served as the Editor-in-Chief for the Lab on a Chip journal (Royal Society of Chemistry) from 2017-2020 and Department Chair of Biomedical Engineering at UCI from 2010-2019. He was Conference Chair of The 21st International Conference on Miniaturized Systems for Chemistry and Life Sciences (MicroTAS 2017) held in Savannah, Georgia.
Google Scholar Publication List: https://scholar.google.com/citations?hl=en&user=sTd1twsAAAAJ&view_op=list_works&sortby=pubdate
1. Yue, T., Zhao, D., Phan, D.T.T. et al. A modular microfluidic system based on a multilayered configuration to generate large-scale perfusable microvascular networks. Microsyst Nanoeng 7, 4 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41378-020-00229-8
2. R Jiang, S Agrawal, M Aghaamoo, R Parajuli, A Agrawal, AP Lee, " Rapid isolation of circulating cancer associated fibroblasts by acoustic microstreaming for assessing metastatic propensity of breast cancer patients", Lab on a Chip, 2021, Advance Article, DOI: 10.1039/D0LC00969E
3. Xuan Li, Mohammad Aghaamoo, M.S.; Shiyue Liu, B.S.; Do-Hyun Lee, Abraham Phillip Lee,"Lipoplex-Mediated Single-Cell Transfection via Droplet Microfluidics", Small 2018, 1802055, © 2018 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co
4. Do-Hyun Lee, Xuan Li, Ning Ma, Michelle A. Digman, Abraham P. Lee,, "Rapid and label-free identification of single leukemia cells from blood in a high-density microfluidic trapping array by fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy", Lab Chip, 2018, 18, 1349-1358, DOI: 10.1039/C7LC01301A
5. Xiaolin Wang, Duc Phan, Steven C. George, Christopher C. Hughes, Abraham P. Lee, “Engineering anastomosis between living capillary networks and endothelial cell-lined microfluidic channels", Lab on a Chip, 2016, 16, 282-290.
6. Shia-Yen Teh, Robert Lin, Lung-Hsin Hung, and Abraham P. Lee, “Droplet Microfluidics”, Lab on a Chip, vol. 8 (2), pp. 198-220, 2008.
7. X. Li, Y.Tao, D.-H. Lee, H.K. Wickramsinghe, A.P. Lee, “In situ mRNA isolation from a microfluidic single-cell array using an external AFM nanoprobe,” Lab on a Chip, 2017, 17, 1635-1644, DOI: 10.1039/C7LC00133A.
8. D. Vallejo, S.H. Lee, D. Lee, C. Zhang, C. Rapier, S. Chessler & A.P. Lee, "Cell-sized lipid vesicles for cell-cell synaptic therapies", Technology, Vol.5, No.4, December 2017
9. Albert T.-S. Hsieh, Patrick Pan, Abraham P. Lee, "A real-time characterization method to rapidly optimize molecular beacon signal for sensitive nucleic acids analysis", Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, vol. 406, no.13, pp.3059-3067, May 2014.
10. Javier L. Prieto, Jente Lu, Jamison L. Nourse, Lisa A. Flanagan, and Abraham P. Lee, “Frequency Discretization in Dielectrophoretic Assisted Cell Sorting Arrays to Isolate Neural Cells,” Lab on a Chip, 2012, 12, 2182-2189.
Professional Societies
American Institute of Biological and Medical Engineeirng
Other Experience
Program Manager
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency 1999—2001

Senior Technology Advisor
National Cancer Institute 2001—2001

Group Leader, Senior Research Staff
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory 1992—1999

Graduate Programs
Biomedical Engineering

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Research Centers
Integrated Nanosystems Research Facility
California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology
Center for Advanced Design & Manufacturing of Integrated Microfluidics
Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Institute for Immunology
Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (ICTS)
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