Northwestern Events Calendar


BME Seminar Series: Dr. Hee-Sun Han

When: Thursday, February 29, 2024
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM CT

Where: Technological Institute, Tech L361, 2145 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Naomi Vasciannie  

Group: McCormick - Biomedical Engineering Department (BME)

Category: Academic, Lectures & Meetings


"Micro- and Nano-technologies for data-driven systems biology"


My research focuses on developing biophysical and analytical tools for data-driven systems biology. We integrate advances in chemistry, engineering, and data science to characterize native biological systems at unprecedented resolution and details and to quantitatively profile the fundamental mechanisms that govern the system’s ensemble behavior. We have pioneered 'Single Virus Genomics' by developing microfluidic platforms that enable direct profiling of individual virus genomes, bypassing the need for virus culture. This technology allows large-scale, unbiased profiling of single virus genomes, enabling a quantitative assessment of viral evolution and infection dynamics. In parallel, we are actively developing and applying spatial omics tools to leverage spatial information to identify the key molecular and cellular features that drive system-level phenotypes. Molecular and cellular interactions are mediated by physical contact. Thus, the spatial organization of molecules and cells is strongly linked to their functional organization. In my talk, I will present our technical innovations in achieving single virus sequencing and demonstrate the application of this novel technology in the quantitative assessment of influenza reassortment. Reassortment is a crucial mechanism for zoonosis, facilitating the transmission of viruses from animals to humans. Thus, analysis of reassortment statistics between natural influenza strains provides valuable insights into influenza evolution and emerging human strains. In addition, I will present insights gained from a spatial transcriptomics map of the honey bee brain, demonstrating how spatial information reveals new biological insights into the collective performance of molecules and cells in system-level functions.


Hee-Sun Han is currently serving as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is leading the ‘Spatial Omics Initiative’ at the Carle R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology and is also a faculty member in the Neuroscience Program and the Center for Biophysics and Quantitative Biology. Leading a multidisciplinary team comprising chemists, engineers, biophysicists, and neurobiologists, Han focuses on developing and applying new biophysical technologies to dissect and quantitatively analyze the fundamental mechanisms that govern the ensemble behavior of native biological systems. Her group has pioneered ‘Single Virus Genomics’ and is driving innovations in spatial transcriptomics. In recognition of her contributions, Han received the Johnson&Johnson WiSTEM2D Award in Science, given to a single recipient in each category worldwide, and the NIH Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award. She serves as an early career advisory board member for Analytical Chemistry (ACS). Han obtained her PhD degree in Physical Chemistry at MIT as a Samsung Scholar and a KFAS Scholar, under the guidance of Prof. Moungi Bawendi, a 2023 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry. Following her Ph.D.. she pursued postdoctoral training with Prof. David A. Weitz at Harvard. Her academic journey commenced at Seoul National University in Korea, where she graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry, earning summa cum laude honors and valedictorian recognition.

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