Laboratory: Materials characterization (SEM, TEM, AFM, XRD, Raman Spectroscopy, FTIR, 

   DSC), cleanroom (PECVD, RIE, E-beam Evaporator), mechanical characterization (Instron, DMA)

Technical: micro-fabrication, photo lithography, laser setup, machining (CNC lathe, CNC mill,

   laser cutter, waterjet, 3D printer), spinal cord surgery in rodents, tissue culture,

   immunohistology, electrophysiology

Programming: MATLAB, Python, CAD, Solidworks, Photoshop, and Illustrator

SEM images of carbon nanofibers

in polymer matrix

Design of component for #D printer with Solidwork


chi1989 at gmail dot com

I'm a PhD candidate at MIT. I am interested in developing materials and fabrication process for electronic devices interfacing with various objects. I am currently in Prof. Polina Anikeeva lab. My thesis is developing technology and materials for flexible optoelectronics interfacing with nerves systems. I completed my MS/BS in Materials Science and Engineering at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and did my undergraduate research and master thesis with Prof. John Rogers there. My master thesis was on elastomer-based skin strain sensors. (Here is my CV)


Methods and Apparatus for Stimulating and Recording Neural Activity (US 13/919,594)

Selected Publications:

Lu, C., Park, S., Richner, T., Derry, A., Brown, I., Hou, C., Rao, S., Kang, J., Mortiz, C. T., Fink, Y., Anikeeva. P., Flexible and Stretchable Nanowire       

   Coated Fibers for Optoelectronic Probing of Spinal Cord Circuits. (Accepted by Science Advances, 2017)

Park, S., Guo, Y., Jia, X., Choe, H.-K., Grena, B., Kang, J., Park, J., Lu., C., Canales, A., Chen, R., Yim, Y.-S., Choi, G. B., Fin, Y., Anikeeva, P. One-step

   Optogenetics with Multifunctional Flexible Polymer Fibers (Nature Neuroscience 2017, IF 16.724)

• Canales, A., Jia, X., Froriep, U. P., Koppes, R. A., Tringides, C. M., Selvidge, J., Lu, C., Hou, C., Wei,  L., Fink, Y., Anikeeva, P., 

   Multifunctional Fibers for Simultaneous Optical, Electrical and Chemical Interrogation of Neural Circuits In Vivo. 

   (Nature Biotechnology 2015, IF: 41.514, selected for cover)

Lu, C., Froriep, U. P., Koppes, R. A., Canales, A., Caggiano, V., Selvidge, J., Bizzi, E., Anikeeva, P., 

   Polymer Fiber Probes Enable Optical Control of Spinal Cord and Muscle Function In Vivo . 

   (Advanced Functional Materials 2014, IF: 11.8 selected for cover)

• Xu, L., Gutbrod, S. R., Bonifas, A. P., Su, Y., Sulkin, M. S., Lu, N., Chung, H.J., Jang, K.-I., Liu, Z., Ying, M., Lu, C., Webb, R. C., Kim, J.-S., Laughner, J.  

    I., Cheng, H., Liu, Y., Ameen, A., Jeong, J.W., Kim, G.-T., Huang, Y., Efimov, I. R., Rogers, J. A.,

   3D Multifunctional Integumentary Membranes for Spatiotemporal Cardiac Measurements and Stimulation Across the Entire Epicardium.     

   (Nature Communications 2014, IF: 11.47)

Lu, N.*, Lu, C.*, Yang, S., Rogers, J. A., 

   Highly Sensitive Skin‐Mountable Strain Gauges Based Entirely on Elastomers.

   (Advanced Functional Materials 2012, IF: 11.8, *authors contributed equally)

• Kim, D.–H., Ghaffari, R., Lu, N., Wang, S., Lee, S. P., Keum, H., D’Angelo, R., Klinker, L., Su, Y., Lu, C., Kim, Y.-S., Ameen, A., Li, Y., Zhang, Y., De Graff,

   B., Hsu, Y.-Y., Liu, Z., Ruskin, J., Xu, L., Lu, C., Omenetto, F. G., Huang, Y., Mansour, M., Slepian, M. J., Rogers, J. A.

   Electronic Sensor and Actuator Webs for Large-Area Complex Geometry Cardiac Mapping And Therapy. 

   (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2012, IF: 9.67)

Conference presentation:

Material Research Society (oral presentation) 2016 (Boston, MA)

   Flexible Fibers for Optoelectronic Probing of Spinal Cord Circuits

Society for Neuroscience (poster) 2016 (San Diego, CA)

   Flexible fibers for Optoelectronic Probing of Spinal Cord Circuits

Gordon Conference (poster) 2016 (Sunday River, ME)

   Flexible fibers for Optoelectronic Probing of Spinal Cord Circuits

Material Research Society (oral presentation) 2015 (San Francisco, CA)

   Optical Control and Neural Recording in the Spinal Cord In Vivo using Integrated Polymer Waveguides and Carbon Nanoparticle Composites

MTL Annual Research Conference (oral presentation + poster) 2015 (Quincy, MA)

   In Vivo Optical Control of Spinal Cord and Muscle Function with Polymer Fiber Probes

Neurotech (poster) 2014 (Cambridge, MA)

   Control of Spinal Cord Function with Optoelectronic Polymer Fiber Probes 

Neural Interfaces Conference (oral presentation + poster) 2014 (Dallas, TX)

   Control of Spinal Cord Function with Optoelectronic Polymer Fiber

Boston Taiwanese Biotechnology Association (oral presentation + poster) 2014 (Cambridge, MA)

   All-polymer Neural Probe for Stimulation and Recording in Spinal Cord 

Material Research Society (oral presentation) 2013 (Boston, MA)

   Highly Flexible Polymer Neural Probes for Spinal Cord Stimulation and Recording 


Aug. 2010 -Dec. 2011

Urbana-Champaign, IL

Jan. 2009 - Feb. 2009

Hsinchu, Taiwan

Jul. 2009 -Aug. 2009

Darmstadt, Germany

Jun. 2010 - Aug. 2010

Taipei, Taiwan

Dec. 2009- Jan. 2010

Taipei, Taiwan

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Teaching Assistant of MSE 307, 308 (Materials Laboratory I, II)

• Prepared lectures and laboratory courses on materials characterization for junior students (class size 100+ students)

• Assessed students’ performance and provided feedback

Deloitte (Enterprise Risk Service) 

• Analyzing companies with activity-based-costing (ABC)

Deloitte (Audit) Taipei, Taiwan

Summer Intern

• Prepared semi-annual financial statement for clients

Technische Universität Darmstadt Surface Science

Summer Intern in Dr. Thomas Mayer's Group

• Fabricated and characterized organic thin-film solar cell to increase energy conversion efficiency

Archers Systems


• Measured and examined the surface microstructure of thin-film solar cell

• Tested power conversion efficiency of thin-film solar cell

MIT Department of Materials Science and Engineering 

Research Assistant in Prof. Polina Anikeeva’s Group 

• Flexible optoelectronic probes for stimulation and recording in brain and spinal cord

• Technical areas: materials characterization, microelectronic fabrication, fiber drawing technology, in vivo study

• Mentored seven undergraduate researchers (two in Ph.D. program)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Research Assistant in Prof. John Rogers Group

• Synthesized and characterized conductive polymer composites for applications on skin strain sensors

• Designed and fabricated multifunctional epidermal sensors for cardiac applications

Sep. 2007 -May. 2012

Urbana-Champaign, IL

Oct. 2012 -Present

Cambridge, MA


Prof. Yoel Fink

Prof. Guoping Feng

Prof. Emilio Bizzi

Dr. Vittorio Caggiano

University of Washington - Seattle:

Prof. Chet Moritz

Dr. Tom Richner


Flexible Optoelectronic Probe

While the majority of the neural engineering efforts of the past decade have focused on interfaces with the brain, fundamental understanding of the spinal cord neural dynamics remains limited by the tools capable of recording and modulation in this organ. In addition to its sophisticated neurophysiology, the flexibility and repeated deformation of the spinal cord present a challenge when engineering implantable devices. Fueled by advances in optogenetics, optoelectronic probes have recently enabled cell-specific neural stimulation compatible with concomitant recording of neural activity. The mechanics of the spinal cord, however, remain difficult to match with hard materials traditionally used in optoelectronics.

Here, we address the elastic modulus mismatch by designing flexible multifunctional neural probes capable of conforming to the spinal cord geometry and its mechanical properties, while providing optical stimulation and neural recording.

Borrowing from the thermal drawing process (TDP) used by the telecommunication industry to heat and pull on glass to draw it into kilometers of fiber optic cable, our works design and define the macroscale geometry of novel neural probes and reduce the size by three to four orders of magnitude to produce flexible optoelectronic polymer fibers.

Epidermal/Cardiac Sensors 

Traditionally, electrical components are made of brittle and tough materials such as silicon, while biological tissues and organs are soft and non-homogeneous. The significant mismatch between the mechanical properties of conventional electronic materials and tissues is one of the biggest obstacles impedes the development of biomedical and wearable electronics. 


To enable biomedical applications and facilitate wearable electronics, we propose novel fabrication processes and mechanical designs. By integrating serpentine structures and electrical components such as strain sensors, micro-LEDs, and other sensors on top of elastomer substrates, we are able to fabricated flexible devices  and used them to interface with human organs. 


We fabricate electrical components with MEMS processes, followed by transfer printing process.  Transfer printing process allows us to integrate electrical components with elastomer/polymer substrates. These integrated systems are designed and used to monitor vital signals,  deformations, and movements of human body. 


Left: Flexible Fibers: Polymer Fiber Probes Enable Optical Control of Spinal Cord and Muscle Function In Vivo (Adv. Funct. Mater. 42/2014, back Cover).

MiddleMultifunctional Fibers for Simultaneous Optical, Electrical and Chemical Interrogation of Neural Circuits In Vivo. (Nat. Biotech. 33-3/2015

Right: A flexible waveguide coupled with laser (473 nm).

Figures: Top: All-polymer strain sensors on the human wrist. Bottom:  Images of a representative 3D multifunctional integumentary membrane integrated on a Langendorff-perfused rabbit heart.

2012-2017 (expected)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

PhD in Materials Science and Engineering (Program in Polymers and Soft Matter) 
Thesis Advisor: Prof. Polina Anikeeva
Thesis Committees: Prof. Polina Anikeeva, Prof. Yoel Fink, Prof. Michael Rubner
Project: Flexible Materials for Optoelectronic Probing of Spinal Cord Circuit

(Google Scholar)



© 2023 By Rachel Smith. Proudly created with

Chi (Alice) Lu

PhD Candidate



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