Assistant Director, Agency
Victor Ugaz's research involves manipulating fluid flow in tiny channels the size of a human hair.
Harnessing microfluidic phenomena makes it possible to build pocket-sized systems that can perform sophisticated chemical and biochemical tests outside the confines of a conventional lab. But achieving precise control over the flow of liquids at these small size scales is extremely challenging. Therefore, he works to understand fundamental transport phenomena in microfluidic systems, and how they can be exploited.
Specific areas of interest include the following: • learning how to control transport of charged biomolecules (DNA, proteins) in micro- and nano-scale surroundings to achieve faster and more efficient separations, • harnessing microscale convective flow fields to execute thermally driven biochemical reactions such as the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in a faster and more efficient manner, • designing novel geometries to mix chemical species in microchannels by exploiting secondary flow phenomena, • developing new techniques that help understand how to manipulate and tailor the bulk properties of hydrogels by controlling their nanoporous morphology, and • constructing 3D vascular networks for biomedical applications using novel manufacturing methods.
Ugaz has served as chair of Texas A&M’s Professional Program in Biotechnology, an interdisciplinary, cross-disciplinary program that leads to a master’s degree in biotechnology.
He joined the university’s engineering faculty in January 2003. He earned a BS and MS from the University of Texas at Austin and a PhD from Northwestern University.