Tirrell Group: Sarah Perry

Postdoctoral Fellow

Tirrell Group

Start date:

January 2011 (Berkeley), March 2012 (UChicago)


  • Address

    Current position: Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts Amherst

  • Email
    perrys at uchicago.edu


My research utilizes self-assembly, molecular design, and microfluidic technologies to generate biologically relevant microenvironments for the study and application of biomacromolecules. Individually, microfluidics represents an enabling technology for the time-resolved analysis of enzyme structural dynamics, while control over molecular interactions in self-assembling polyelectrolyte systems can be used to examine the interplay between biomacromolecules and the intracellular environment. Together, these capabilities can be coupled to generate artificial organelle-like structures for use in applications ranging from biochemistry to bioenergetics, biocatalysis, and biomedicine. Furthermore, this work has tremendous pedagogical potential to inspire students to work at the intersection of chemistry, biology, and engineering.


Sarah L. Perry received BS degrees in Chemical Engineering and Chemistry from the University of Arizona, as well as a MS in Chemical Engineering working on gas phase methods for chemically passivating silicon surfaces for semiconductor manufacturing. She received her PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign working on microfluidic platforms for the crystallization and study of membrane protein crystallization with Prof. Paul J.A. Kenis. She began working as a postdoc for Prof. Matthew Tirrell in the Bioengineering Department at the University of California at Berkeley and moved with the lab to the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago. Her initial research in the Tirrell Group focused on the use of self-assembling DNA-lipid films for use in transfection. Currently she is working to develop design rules to understand the structure and self-assembly of biomimetic complex coacervate systems for use as artificial organelles or nanoreactors.

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