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Jessica Winter

  • Professor, Chemical & Biomolecular Eng
  • Professor, Biomedical Engineering
  • 453 CBEC, 151 W Woodruff Ave, Columbus, Ohio, 43210, United States
    453 CBEC, 151 W Woodruff Ave
    Columbus, Ohio 43210
  • 614-247-7668




  • B.S., Northwestern University, 1997 
  • M.S., University of Texas at Austin, 2001 
  • Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin, 2004

Key Honors and Distinctions

  • Established leader in nanobiotechnology with applications to cancer.

Top Awards and Honors

  • Invited by National Science Foundation's Office of Legislative and Public Affairs to share her quantum dots imaging innovation with 200 congressional staff members at "Arc of Science: Research to Results," Washington, DC, 2017.
  • Cancer Today, AACR, cover story, 2016
  • Faculty Diversity Excellence Award, The Ohio State University College of Engineering, 2016
  • 2016 Engineering Rising Star Award, Design News (includes cover story)
  • AIMBE College of Fellows, 2016
  • Top Forty Under Forty list, Business First, 2015
  • Elected Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2015
  • Women Chemists Rising Star Award, American Chemical Society, 2014
  • Inventor of the Year, TechColumbus Innovation Awards, 2013
  • OSU Early Innovator Award, 2012
  • OSU Distingsuihed Undergraduate Research Mentor, 2011
  • OSU Lumley Research Award, 2010
  • Elected Senior Member of IEEE, 2009
  • ACS Progress/Dreyfus Lectureship Award, 2008  


Research Interests

"Biology is not simply writing information; it is doing something about it. A biological system can be exceedingly small. Many of the cells are very tiny, but they are very active; they manufacture various substances; they walk around; they wiggle; and they do all kinds of marvelous things---all on a very small scale. Also, they store information. Consider the possibility that we too can make a thing very small which does what we want---that we can manufacture an object that maneuvers at that level!" --Richard P. Feynman, "There is Plenty of Room at the Bottom"

Professor Winter's primary research interest is the exploration of the relationship between nanoparticles and biological elements.

This work is divided into three areas:

  • Development of nanoscale neural prosthetic devices
  • Patterned chemical and physical cues for improved neural adhesion and synapse formation
  • Creation of oriented, nanopatterned surfaces using biological elements

Nanoscale Neural Prosthetics
The nerve cell is a fascinating model system for subcellular manipulation because it responds to chemical, mechanical, and electrical cues. Neurons have been integrated with electronic components to create hybrid electronic devices that have been used for computation, neuroscience research, and as prosthetics. Adding nanoscale manipulation to those devices will provide new insight into the biomolecular basis of disease, allow for biosensors that might detect a single molecule, harness neural networks for computation, and lead to prosthetic devices that integrate with their hosts at the cellular-level. The first area focuses on the development of nanocomponents to directly manipulate the contents of nerve cells. My initial work in this area examines the selective binding of nanoparticles to subcellular structures (i.e., ion channels, neurotransmitters, and chemical-containing vesicles). It is straightforward to attach nanoparticles to the surface of cells, but targeting specific elements in the cell's interior is more challenging. The majority of nanoparticles introduced into the cytoplasm (the fluid inside of a cell) are eventually sequestered into endosomes or lysosomes, preventing their interaction with intracellular proteins. I am exploring alternative delivery and targeting methods using techniques developed for gene therapy.

Patterning for Neural Adhesion and Synapse Formation
There is a substantial body of evidence that nanometer spacing of chemical sequences of physical patterns can effect cellular gene expression, adhesion, and migration. I am investigating the effects of nano-patterned physical and chemical cues on neuron-neuron and neuron-electrode interactions. I am particularly interested in patterns which enhance physical and electrical interfaces among nerve cells and underlying electronic devices. This technology has the potential to greatly increase the sensitivity of nerual recording devices, biosensors, and prosthetics.

Bio-Inspired Surfaces
The third area examines one of the most critical problems facing nanotechnology: how do we organize and arrange objects at the nanoscale? Nature has created several elegant schemes to organize elements in this size regime. For example, protein folding, DNA replication, and transport along microtubules all occur with remarkable fidelity. I am exploiting some of these methods to create "bio-inspired" surfaces. These surfaces use biomolecules to assemble and manipulate nanoparticles into coherent structures. Ultimately these structures may serve as tissue engineering substrates, biomaterial coatings, or as elements of electronic devices.


  • 2016

    American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers Fellow. .

  • 2016

    Cancer Today, Cover Story. .

  • 2016

    Diversity Award. .

  • 2016

    Engineering Rising Star. .

  • 2015

    40 Under 40. .

  • 2014

    20 People to Know in Technology. .

  • 2014

    Women Chemists Rising Star Award. .

  • 2014

    AAAS Fellow. .

  • 2014

    Heaven-and-Earth Distinguished Lecture. .

  • 2013

    Top 25 STEM Professors in Ohio. .

  • 2013

    COE Harrison Award. .

  • 2013

    Senior Member Status. .

  • 2013

    TechColumbus Inventor of the Year. .

  • 2013

    Archer Award. .

  • 2012-2013

    Semi-finalist Columbus Tech Innovation Awards, Woman in Technology. .

  • 2010-2013

    Semi-Finalist Innovator of the Year. .

  • 2012

    Ohio State University Early Innovator Award. .

  • 2011

    Distinguished Undergraduate Research Mentor. .

  • 2010

    David C. McCarthy Engineering Teaching Award. .

  • 2010

    COE Lumley Research Award. .

  • 2009

    Senior Member Status. .

  • 2008

    Outstanding Undergraduate Achievement Mentor. The Ohio State University.

  • 2008

    ACS Progress/Dreyfus Lectureship Award. .

  • 2007

    OSU Office of Technology Enhanced Learning and Research (TELR) Professional Development Grant (OSU). The Ohio State University.

  • 2001-2004

    NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. .

  • 2003

    MRS Gold Graduate Student Award. .

  • 2003

    Graduate Student Award. .

  • 1999-2001

    IGERT Graduate Research Fellowship. .

  • 2001

    Rom Rhome Endowment for Professional Development in Material Science Travel Award. .

  • 2000

    IGERT Travel Award. .