Yifan Dai

Yifan Dai

Assistant Professor

Biomedical Engineering

  • Lab location
    Brauer Hall, Room 2028


PhD, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Case Western Reserve University, 2020
BS, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Case Western Reserve University, 2017


Decodes and encodes the physical chemistry of biological soft matter to understand biology and engineer precision medicine


Yifan Dai’s research focuses on two distinct aspects: 1) exploring and studying the physical chemistry of biology to understand how chemical functions are encoded in biological soft matter; 2) developing fundamental capabilities for synthetic biology to design smart medicine capable of sensing and responding to cellular states for the improvement of human well-being.

The first part of Dai's research studies the chemical features of biological soft matter, such as biomolecular condensates. Dai focuses on establishing function-feature correlations to understand the underlaying physicochemical principles of cellular functions. The second part of his research integrates electrochemistry into synthetic biology. He designs strategies to engineer biological components at different scales (biomolecules, molecular/genetic circuits and cells) capable of sensing and responding to change of local/global electrochemical equilibrium. These efforts will improve our understandings on cellular functioning mechanisms and enable new capabilities to control cellular behaviors.


Yifan Dai joins the faculty in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Washington University in July 2023. Most recently, he was a postdoctoral fellow in biomedical engineering at Duke University.