UCSB Engineering

Hyongsok (Tom) Soh

Ruth Garland Professor

Mechanical Engineering

Hyongsok (Tom) Soh


UCSB Department of Mechanical Engineering
Room 2231D, Engineering Sciences Building
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-5070

tel: (805) 893-7985
fax: (805) 893-8651

Personal web site

Research Description

The goal of our research laboratory is to develop novel materials and devices to improve the condition of human health, using methods that hold the promise for early detection and personalized treatment for many diseases including Alzheimer’s, cancer, and diabetes. We do so through focusing on the following research themes:

Directed Evolution of Materials:
We use evolutionary principles to synthesize new materials that do not exist in nature but can perform complex and useful functions. Our lab has pioneered the use of microfluidics technology and high-throughput sequencing to accelerate the process of directed evolution. In particular, we are interested in evolving polymer materials that can perform molecular recognition and shape-changes(conformation-switching) because these materials offer exciting avenues to improve molecular diagnostics and targeted therapies.

Integrated Biosensors:
Our lab develops advanced biosensors that are highly sensitive and specific with rapid results. In order to achieve this, we utilize microfluidics technology such that multiple biophysical and biochemical processes can be integrated into a single disposable device which can operate at the point-of-care. Recently, our laboratory pioneered the development of real-time biosensors that can continuously measure specific biomolecules directly in living animals.

Research Groups


Dr. Soh received his B.S. with a double major in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science with Distinction from Cornell University, and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. Prior to joining UCSB in 2003, Dr. Soh served as the technical manager of MEMS Device Research Group at Bell Laboratories. His current research interests are in analytical biotechnology, especially in high throughput screening, directed evolution and integrated biosensors. He is Co-Director at the Center for Stem Cell Biology & Engineering and Associate Director of the California Nanosystems Institute (CNSI). He is the recipient of MIT Technology Review TR 100 Award (2002), ONR Young Investigator Award (2004), Beckman Young Investigator Award (2005), ALA Innovator Award (2009), NIH Director TR01 Award (2009), John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (2010), NIH Edward Nagy Award (2011), Garland Endowed Chairship at UCSB (2011), and Humboldt Research Fellowship (2012).


  • Biomolecular Science and Engineering Program
  • Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies
  • California Nanosystems Institute
  • Co-Director, Center for Stem Cell Biology and Engineering, University of California at Santa Barbara

Selected Publications

See complete list of publications