Biointerfaces Institute

Redefining collaboration in the physical and life sciences

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Research Facilities

BI is changing the research paradigm by collocating faculty from different scientific and engineering disciplines under one roof. This 'lab without walls' approach allows daily, face-to-face interactions between people who develop technologies – the toolbox people – with people who have significant biomedical research problems to solve. These “interfaces” among researchers of diverse disciplines, spurs interdisciplinary collaborations and drives innovation.


Understanding that research infrastructure is a critical asset for catalyzing collaborations and for supporting breakthrough biomedical research, BI leverages its footprint at the University of Michigan’s North Campus Research Complex (NCRC)following a space model that enables researchers to undertake their cutting-edge research, while providing a platform that encourages cross-cutting interdisciplinary collaboration amongst BI researchers and allows for engagement with other non-BI academic and industrial researchers to accelerate innovation and translation. comprises of three space designations:

Base Space: Research space (wet lab or computational lab) assigned to individual faculty member

Shared Space: combination of office, research">Integration Space: flexible research space to host new collaborative research between BI member and with non-BI academic and industry researchers

Over 40% of BI’s research space is designated as Shared Space.  


BI leverages its large footprint to house laboratories for wet chemistry, biologic engineering, cell and tissue culture, drug delivery research, microfluidics, and nanotechnology. BI offers instruments for shared use to support BI's research goals.  Four main research centers were established that offer access and training to specialized instruments, available for use by BI researchers as well as to the broader UM and external partner community.

The centers house state of the art equipment that aligns with BI’s core research areas.


Characterization and analysis of nanomaterials:  It houses several instrument suites for particle characterization (e.g., zeta, potential, and concentrations), thermal analysis (e.g., melting point, glass transition, and degradation temperatures), and optical analysis (e.g., native state of proteins and biological activities). The Nanotechnicum also maintains a radioactive lab for determining the degree of protein resistance of medical devices, quantifying ligand attachment to surfaces, or labeling nanoparticles. The Nanotechnicum’s state-of-the-art instrumentation is managed and maintained by BI staff with long-term expertise in different areas of nanomaterials. Over 182 researchers from 21 research groups (15 BI, 16 non-BI University Labs, and 2 external industry users) have been trained to use its 11 instruments.

Single Cell Genomics Lab (SCGL) 

Multidisciplinary expertise and state-of-the-art microfluidics, imaging, and sequencing technologies: Research conducted in the SCGL addresses critically important aspects of tumor initiation, multi-clonal expansion, and metastasis. The SCGL has the capability to evaluate novel, more effective targeting and personalized therapy for oncology patients. The SCGL is a collaboration between BI and the Translational Oncology Program and is one of only four centers worldwide that has the required scientific expertise and cutting edge capabilities to conduct pioneering work in single cell genomics. The establishment of the SCGL was made possible through a strategic partnership with the Fluidigm Corporation, which has donated several of the key instruments including two Biomark HD Systems and three C1’s.

Visualization Laboratory (VisLab)

Optical Imaging and Analysis Laboratory 

Imaging and characterization a wide range of materials from colloids to tissues: Instruments in this lab include a confocal laser scanning microscope, a confocal laser Raman microscope, a super-resolution optical microscope using structure illumination microscopy (SIM), and several optical microscopes (with cell incubator for cell tracking). These tools are vital for a wide range of applications in both materials synthesis and human health. The SIM was acquired through BI and US Department of Defense DURIP funding.