Microscope

Research & Initiatives

Find out more about current and upcoming research in the Alexander Research Team below!

If you are interested in collaborating with or joining the Alexander Research Team, or if you are interested in using equipment housed in our lab, please visit the contact page. We would love to hear from you!

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Decoding Dietary Fiber Assemblies

Each plant species has a unique hierarchical fiber network that undergoes unique disassembly/ assembly processes – yet the predominant classification of dietary fiber remains as simple as ‘soluble’ and ‘insoluble’. The lack of specificity in understanding the connection between structure & function of dietary fiber limits the ability to ‘prescribe’ food as a natural way to combat illness or improve treatment outcomes. We aim to address this challenge by advancing understanding of how the disassembly/ assembly of hierarchical structures in fibrous food influences functionality, with a focus on toxin binding.

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Multifunctional Materials for Absorption of Metabolic Toxins

Human gut microbiota are known to exacerbate pathologies such as kidney failure, cancer, and diabetes. This is often caused by the accumulation of metabolic toxins that cannot be efficiently cleared from the body in its weakened state. Despite this knowledge, there is a scientific void in the development of therapeutics targeted at removing metabolic toxins from the human body. Our team designs multi-functional materials targeted at removing metabolic toxins from the digestive system and sustaining healthy gut microbiota.

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Creative Manufacturing for Environmental Remediation

While we humans love monodisperse spherical, rectangular, and cylindrical materials, nature has evolved extremely diverse shapes that are ultimately guided by the function of the material. With new techniques such as additive manufacturing and refined techniques like casting molds, we have a unique opportunity to step outside the box of traditional composite shapes to explore how geometry on the macroscopic level influences functionality in dynamic environments. This is an important yet underutilized strategy to tailor materials for responsive behavior in heterogeneous environments like soil.

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Uniting Mechanics & Functionality in Soft Biomaterials

Stay tuned for updates on this exciting new research platform!