Jenna L. Rickus

Dr. Jenna Rickus is an Assistant Professor, with joint appointments in Biomedical Engineering and Agricultural and Biological Engineering. She earned her Ph.D. from UCLA in Neuroengineering, a joint program between the Interdepartmental Program for Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering. She was dually trained in materials science and engineering and cellular/molecular neurobiology laboratories. While at UCLA she developed new optical nanocomposite materials and microscale devices for continuous neurotransmitter measurements to study Parkinson's disease.

Dr. Rickus co-founded and is currently co-leading the Physiological Sensing Facility (PSF) ( which is located in the newly constructed Bindley Bioscience Center ( ). The PSF is a highly interdisciplinary and collaborative environment that operates at the interface of bionano(& micro)technology and bioscience to engineer new tools for studying and controlling living systems.

Dr. Rickus' research group is focused on controlling and mimicking cells as an engineered dynamic system. Current research projects include a hybrid cellular silicon implantable device for closed-loop control of neurotransmitter release to treat epilepsy; mimicking cellular function in non-living materials to develop advanced and stable biosensors for bacterial toxins; modeling and controlling neurotransmitter release at a single cell level; hand-held implanted fiber optic sensors for studying muscle metabolism; and biology-inspired hybrid nanocomposite biomaterials to control neuronal fate and function.

Dr. Rickus has been dually trained in biology and engineering throughout her career. She has a strong interest in new approaches to education that merge the two disciplines in a synergistic manner. She hopes to train a new generation of engineers/biologists who are both comfortable dealing with the complex world of biology and who can think and function quantitatively. Dr. Rickus teaches courses on nonlinear dynamics in biological systems, biosensors, and quantitative cell biology.