Faculty Directory

DeVoe, Don

DeVoe, Don

Wilson H. Elkins Professor
Associate Chair of Research & Administration
Fischell Institute Fellow
Mechanical Engineering
Fischell Department of Bioengineering
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Maryland Robotics Center
Robert E. Fischell Institute for Biomedical Devices
5226 A. James Clark Hall

Prof. DeVoe is a Wilson H. Elkins Professor and Associate Chair of Research & Administration in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park. He holds affiliate appointments in the Department of Bioengineering and Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and is a core faculty member of the Fischell Institute for Biomedical Devices. Dr. DeVoe received his Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 1997 with a focus on microsystems technology. His current research interests in the development of MEMS and microfluidic systems include nucleic acid diagnostics, cancer immunology, exosome analysis, liposomal nanomedicines, and advanced technologies for studying viral aerobiology. He was named an Elkins Professor by the University System of Maryland in 2020, and is a recipient of the 2013 University System of Maryland Regents Award for Research. Dr. DeVoe was named a 2008 Kavli Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, and was recognized with the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from the National Science Foundation in 2000 for advances in microsystems technology. He is a Senior Editor for the IEEE/ASME Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems (J. MEMS), and currently serves as Treasurer for the Chemical and Biological Microsystems Society (CBMS). He is a Fellow of the Royal Socity of Chemistry (RSC).


  • Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 1997
  • M.S., University of Maryland, College Park, 1993
  • B.S., University of Maryland, College Park, 1991


  • University of Maryland Distinguished Scholar-Teacher Award (2023)
  • Fellow, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering / AIMBE (2022)
  • Fellow, Royal Society of Chemistry / RSC (2021)
  • Wilson H. Elkins Professorship (2020)
  • University System of Maryland Regents Award for Research (2013)
  • Kavli Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences (2008)
  • NSF Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers for advances in microsystems technology (2000)
  • NSF CAREER Award (1999)


  • Treasurer - Chemical and Biological Microsystems Society (CBMS)
  • Senior Editor - Journal of MicroElectroMechanical Systems (J. MEMS)



  • MEMS and microsystems technology
  • Microfluidic systems
  • Additive manufacturing at the micro/nano scales
  • Disposable diagnostics
  • Scalable nanomedicine development

Microhydrocyclones for Scalable Exosome Isolation

Exosomes have emerged as a powerful drug delivery vehicle, with enormous potential for efficient delivery of diverse therapeutic cargos to targeted cells. Despite the promise of exosome-based nanotherapeutics, existing techniques for exosome isolation cannot support the throughput required by the drug development process. Progress in the field is endangered by the need for technological advancements enabling high-throughput and scalable exosome isolation. In this project, a novel microscale hydrocyclone (µHC) technology is being developed to increase the throughput of exosome separations by orders of magnitude over existing methods, thereby enabling rapid, efficient, and scalable continuous-flow isolation from a range of biological samples. The µHC technology leverages nanoscale additive manufacturing using in situ direct laser writing, supporting the fabrication of complex and high resolution 3D features directly within thermoplastic microfluidic substrates. 

Synthetic Biogenesis of Eukaryotic Cells

We are developing techniques to perform bottom-up engineering of eukaryotic cell-like organelles, enabling complex systems mimicking the structure and function of biological cells. The project is focused on achieving synthetic biogenesis using engineering principles while leveraging new technologies for creating artificial organelles with control over structure and molecular content, together with techniques for combining biological isolates with the engineered structures and methods for integrating these organelles, including assembling the biological functions that link organelles together. Specifically, we are developing the tools and methods needed to construct the lipid-based structures mimicking the nucleus, endoplasmic reticulum, and mitochondrion, and exploring the pathways of communication between them. 

Continuous-Flow Microfluidic Synthesis of Liposomal Nanomedicines

Therapeutics employing nanoscale unilamellar lipid vesicles (liposomes) as drug carriers are the most widely studied and successful class of nanomedicines. However, the transition of liposomal nanomedicines from the lab bench to clinical use remains constrained by the lack of nanomanufacturing methods capable of scaling across the full production range. Current techniques for liposome synthesis, drug encapsulation, surface functionalization, and nanoparticle concentration/purification must be re-engineered at each scale, introducing manufacturing costs and engineering challenges that present significant barriers to the development of new liposomal drugs. Overcoming this gap is fundamentally a nanomanufacturing challenge. In this effort we developed continuous-flow microfluidics technology as a unique scalable approach to bridge this nanomedicine manufacturing gap. The technology leverages multi-domain transport across multiple size scales to establish steep and controllable gradients within a sequence of continuous-flow microfluidic flow cells, enabling gradient-driven nanoparticle self-assembly, passive and active drug loading, nanoparticle functionalization, and drug purification and concentration. 

Trap Array Chips Enabling Rapid, Automated, and Portable Antibiotic Resistance Screening

Antibiotic resistance represents a major and growing threat to public health, with drug-resistant pathogens significantly increasing rates of morbidity and mortality for infected patients. A major challenge associated with the increase in antimicrobial drug resistance is the lack of rapid assays for identifying causative pathogens and their drug resistance profiles during the earliest stages of treatment. Due to the complexity, limited multiplexing capacity, and low throughput of existing assays, the full clinical utility of PCR as a tool for guiding the treatment of bacterial infection has not yet been realized. In this project we developed a low-cost and disposable thermoplastic microfluidic platform employing a novel trap array technology addressing these constraints and opening the door to routine clinical application of PCR for antibiotic resistance screening. The trap array platform supports thousands of simultaneous PCR reactions using primers for multiple antibiotic-resistance gene targets, without the need for external pumping, valving, substrate preparation, or reagent introduction, and is currently being expanded to a million-well platform for digital PCR.

ENME476 Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS)

Fundamentals of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). Introduction to transducers and markets. MEMS fabrication processes and materials, including bulk micromachining, wet etching, dry etching, surface micromachining, sacrificial layers, film deposition, bonding, and non-traditional micromachining. Introduction to the relevant solid state physics, including crystal lattices, band structure, semiconductors, and doping. The laboratory covers safety, photolithography, profilometry, wet etching

ENME481/740 Lab-on-a-Chip Microsystems

Fundamentals and application of lab-on-a-chip and microfluidic technologies. A broad view of the field of microfluidics, knowledge of relevant fabrication methods and analysis techniques, and an understanding of the coupled multi-domain phenomena that dominate the physics in these systems.

ENME489B Mechatronics and the Internet of Things (IoT)

The field of mechatronics integrates dynamical systems, transducers, computation, control, and design to realize systems where complexity is shifted from solely mechanical components to the merged domains of mechanics, electronics, and software. This project-driven course will provide a structured hands-on environment to strengthen students’ understanding of mechatronics principles, and extend these concepts to the Internet of Things (IoT) in which sensors and actuators are embedded into physical objects together with wireless communications, enabling remote interaction with these objects through the Internet. 

Recent Publications (see http://www.researcherid.com/rid/A-2891-2011 for a full listing)

  1. J.Y. Han, S. Warshawsky, D.L. DeVoe, "In Situ Photografting during Direct Laser Writing in Thermoplastic Microchannels," Sci Rep, 11, 10980, 2021.

  2. S. Padmanabhan, A. Sposito, M. Yeh, M. Everitt, I. White, D.L. DeVoe, "Reagent integration and controlled release for multiplexed nucleic acid testing in disposable thermoplastic 2D microwell arrays," Biomicrofluidics, 15, 014103, 2021.

  3. J.Y. Han, D.L. DeVoe, "Plasma isolation in a syringe by conformal integration of inertial microfluidics" Annals of Biomedical Engineering, 49, 139-148, 2021.

  4. S. Padmanabhan, J.Y. Han, I. Nanayankkara, K. Tran, P. Ho, N. Mesfin, I. White, D.L. DeVoe, "Enhanced sample filling and discretization in thermoplastic 2D microwell arrays using asymmetric contact angles," Biomicrofluidics, 14, 014113, 2020.

  5. J.Y. Han, B. Krasniqi, J. Kim, M. Keckley, D.L. DeVoe, "Miniaturization of hydrocyclones by high resolution 3D printing for rapid microparticle separation," Adv. Mater. Technol., 1901105, 2020.

  6. H. Babahosseini, S. Padmanabhan, T. Misteli, D.L. DeVoe, "A programmable microfluidic platform for multisample injection, discretization, and droplet manipulation," Biomicrofluidics, 14, 014112, 2020.

  7. J.Y. Han, M. Wiederoder, D.L. DeVoe, "Isolation of intact bacteria from blood by selective cell lysis in a microfluidic porous silica monolith," Microsystems & Nanoengineering, 5, 30, 2019.

  8. O.M. Barham, M. Mirzaeimoghri, D.L. DeVoe, "Piezoelectric disc transformer mdeling utilizing extended Hamilton's principle," IEEE Trans. Power Electron., 34, 6583-6592, 2019.

  9. Z. Chen, J.Y. Han, L. Shumate, R.R. Fedak, D.L. DeVoe, "High-throughput liposome synthesis using a 3d printed microfluidic vertical flow focusing device," Adv. Mater. Technol., 1800511, 2019.

  10. H. Babahosseini, T. Misteli, D.L. DeVoe, "Microfluidic on-demand droplet generation, storage, retrieval, and merging for single-cell pairing," Lab Chip, 19, 493-502, 2019.

Other professional society fellows

  • Royal Society of Chemistry