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New research faculty Timperman exploring proteomics, nano/microfluidics


Allen Xu, BioE intern

From the analysis of proteins in seawater to the study of bacteria in microfluidic arrays, Aaron Timperman’s work spans a variety of fields. An expert in proteomic and micro/nanofluidics, Timperman comes to Illinois from the University of Notre Dame, where he was the director of research in Advanced Diagnostics and Therapeutics.

Aaron Timperman joined the Illinois Bioengineering faculty as a research associate professor in August 2017.
Aaron Timperman joined the Illinois Bioengineering faculty as a research associate professor in August 2017.

An Illinois alumnus (PhD analytical chemistry 1995), Timperman made a significant impact early in his career at West Virginia University, where he developed precise, detailed methods of analyzing of proteins dissolved in seawater that play a key role in carbon cycling. Additionally, he developed intergrated micorfluidic/nanofluidic systems to improve the detection of trace-level species.

At Notre Dame, Timperman developed inexpensive, portable, and energy efficient microfluidic separation devices, that have the potential to be used for medical diagnostics and basic research. He also created arrays of microfluidic chambers to test the response of bacteria under a variety of conditions to different types of stress. These systems can be used to improve screening of potential antibiotics and to better understand the response of bacteria to different stressors.

As a research associate professor at Illinois, Timperman will continue his research in proteomics and microfluidic systems.

“One of the biggest issues we face is biocomplexity, and how we handle it,” he said. “While great improvements have been made in genomics, we’re still really lacking in analytical technology for other disciplines of systems biology, and proteomics in particular. Most of the molecules in a living organism cannot be easily identified at any given time. Our goal is to contribute to the development of new instrumentation that could be used in fundamental research as well as point of care diagnostics.”

According to Timperman, he returned to his alma mater because of its world-class faculty and excellence in research. “There are great faculty to collaborate with and high quality graduate students,” Timperman said. “The people here are the key to great research.”