Dr. Biswal’s research program focuses on using chemical, biological, and engineering approaches to study soft materials such as colloids, polymers, lipids, and surfactants. One of her main research area has been in developing new materials using colloidal particles. These synthetic materials are chains of patterned magnetic colloids that have rigidity and length specificity, and are able to demonstrate capability for folding, self-assembly, and specific chemical and biorecognition. Another area of interest is the use of microcantilever beams to investigate the lipid-dependent mechanisms responsible for vesicle rupture and bilayer fusion to form supported lipid bilayers and monolayers. These supported lipid bilayers have been widely studied as model systems for elucidating the properties of lipids, membranes and membrane proteins. Multiphase flow systems in microfluidic systems are used to study foam stability and polymer gelation. A new area of research our group has moved into is use new assembly methods to develop novel materials for batteries and solar technology.
Dr. Biswal is an Associate Professor in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, teaching in areas of mass and energy balances, polymer physics, and transport phenomena. Biswal joined the Rice faculty in 2006. She earned doctorate in chemical engineering from Stanford University in 2004 and received her undergraduate degree in chemical engineering at the California Institute of Technology. She completed her postdoctoral research in mechanical engineering at the University of California at Berkeley. She has won a 2007 Young Investigator Award from the Office of Naval Research and a 2009 National Science Foundation CAREER Award.