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Faculty Profile


Some of the research interests Dr. Wan specializes in are:

  • Cellular biomechanics: Mechanical characterization and adhesion measurements of cancer cells, bacterial strains, drug delivery micro-capsules / liposomes, murine oocytes, biological tissues
  • Water filtration: Adhesion, physisorption-chemisorption of pathogens to collector (sand) in the presence of intersurface forces and liquid flow through a porous medium
  • Thin film adhesion and characterization: Mechanical reliability and lifespan of coated or encapsulated micro-/nano-devices, microelectronics parts, grapheme devices, photovoltaic panels, electrospun fiber meshes (armor protection fabrics), nano-structures
  • Subsurface mechano-sensing: Mechanics of palpation to detect solid inclusion in soft tissues (e.g. breast cancer) in association with X-ray mammography, mechanical instability of lesion due to large elastic deformation and visco-rubber-elasticity
  • Shell adhesion: Mechanical behavior and adhesion-detachment of natural (e.g. cornea) and artificial shells (e.g. contact lenses)
  • Fundamental intersurface forces: Contact mechanics, adhesion mechanics, and colloidal science, fracture and delamination in the presence of long range surface forces and water meniscus, application in electronics and biomedical sciences


  • Ph.D. (1993), Chemical Physics, University of Maryland at College Park
  • B.Sc. (1st Hon), Physics, University of New South Wales, Australia

Research & Scholarship Interests

Cellular biomechanics; water filtration; thin film adhesion and characterization; subsurface mechano-sensing; shell adhesion; fundamental intersurface forces
Affiliated With

Department Research Areas

College Research Initiatives

Honors & Awards

  • 2014 COE Faculty Fellow
  • 2006 Faculty Excellence Award, Missouri University of Science and Technology MST
  • 2006 AMAE Faculty Excellence Award, Academy of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineers, MST
  • National Science Foundation CAREER Award

Teaching Interests

  • Mechanics of Cells and Tissues
  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Thermodynamics

Professional Affiliations

  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers International
  • American Society of Engineering Education
  • Adhesion Society

Selected Publications

  • Y Li, X Wang, A Onnis-Hayden, KT Wan, AZ Gu, "Universal Quantifier Derived from AFM Analysis Links Cellular Mechanic Properties and Cell-Surface Integration Forces with Microbial Deposition and Transport Behavior", Environmental Science & Technology, in press, doi: 10.1021/es403511a (2014)
  • L Sallaway, S Magee, J Shi, F Quivira, K Tgavalekos, DH Brooks, S Muftu, W Meleis, RH Moore, D Kopans, KT Wan, "Detecting Solid Masses in Phantom Breast Using Mechanical Indentation", Experimental Mechanics, in press, DOI: 10.1007/s11340-013-9786-6 (2014).
  • G Li, KT Wan, "Adhesion Map for Thin Membranes", Journal of Applied Mechanics 81 [2] 021018, doi:10.1115/1.4025303 (2014).
  • J Shi, S Müftü, AZ Gu, KT Wan, "Adhesion of a Cylindrical Shell in the Presence of DLVO Surface Potential", Journal of Applied Mechanics80 [6] 061007, doi:10.1115/1.4023960 (2013).
  • G Li, C Yilmaz, X An, S Somu, S Kar, YJ Jung, A Busnaina, KT Wan, "Adhesion of Graphene Sheet on Nano-Patterned Substrates with Nano-Pillar Array", Journal of Applied Physics 113, 244303 DOI: 10.1063/1.4811718 (2013).
  • M. Robitaille, N. Belisle, S. Dang, E. Faigle, C. Morck, P. Uth, K.-T. Wan, "An Optical Topographic Technique to Map the 3-D Deformed Profile of a Convex Lens under External Loading, Experimental Mechanics, 55, 2015, 641-646
  • G. Li, C. Yilmaz, X. An, S. Somu, S. Kar, Y. Jung, A. Busnaina, K.-T. Wan, "Adhesion of Graphene Sheet on Nano-patterned Substrates with Nano-Pillar Array, Journal of Applied Physics, 113, 2013, 244303 
  • M. Robitaille, J. Shi, S. McBride, K.-T. Wan "Mechanical Performance of Hydrogel Contact Lenses with a Range of Power Under Parallel Plate Compression and Central Load", Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, 22, 2013, 59-64

Related News

July 27, 2017

MIE PhD students Jianfeng Sun, Ran Ran, and undergraduate student Derek Tran have created a new microscope analyzer to test water for contaminants quicker than conventional methods. Source: News @...

July 19, 2017

MIE Professors Kai-Tak Wan and Sinan Muftu were awarded a $350K NSF grant to explore the "Mechanics of fusion of dissimilar lipid bilayers and multi-lamellar vesicles". This is part of a...

November 1, 2016

MIE Professor Kai-tak Wan was awarded a patent for his "Equi-biaxial membrane stretcher".