Philip LeDuc

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Philip LeDuc
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William J. Brown

(1970-06-05) June 5, 1970 (age 53)
  • BSc, MSc (Mechanical engineering)
  • Ph.D
Alma mater
  • North Carolina State University
  • John Hopkins University
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenges Award
  • Beckman Young Investigator Award
  • Barbara Lazarus Award
  • The George Tallman Ladd Research Award
  • Benjamin Richard Teare Teaching Award

Philip LeDuc (born June 5, 1970) is the William J. Brown Professor at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). He is the Founding Director of the Center for the Mechanics and Engineering of Cellular Systems. He is in the department of Mechanical Engineering, but also has appointments in Biological Sciences, Computational Biology, Biomedical Engineering, and Electrical and Computer Engineering at CMU. In his lab, LeDuc works at the intersection of mechanical engineering and biology.


LeDuc earned his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in mechanical engineering from North Carolina State University in 1993 and 1995, respectively. In 1998, he completed his Ph.D. at John Hopkins University. LeDuc also has worked in industry in product design and systems integration, while working with several Fortune 100 companies. From 1999 to 2002, LeDuc was a research fellow at Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School.

In 2002, LeDuc became an assistant professor in the mechanical engineering department at CMU. He was promoted to associate professor in 2007 and then full professor in 2011. He is now the William J. Brown Professor at CMU [1].

LeDuc has received numerous awards in recognition of his scientific accomplishments, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenges Award (2nd professor ever at Carnegie Mellon to win this award),[2] National Science Foundation CAREER,[3] Beckman Young Investigator Award (2nd professor ever at Carnegie Mellon to win this award).[4] LeDuc is an elected fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society,[5] American Society of Mechanical Engineers,[6] and American Institute for Medical Biological Engineering,[7] At CMU, he has served as the Faculty Chair for the College of Engineering and is the founding director of the Center for the Mechanics and Engineering of Cellular Systems. He also has been a founder of many companies including Lifeware Labs and Innovalgae.

LeDuc has been on and helped organize many scientific meetings including for the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the United States Congress. He also has been on the Board of Directors for the Biomedical Engineering Society and American Institute for Medical & Biological Engineering as well as on the Scientific Advisory Council for the Beckman Foundation.

LeDuc also has numerous awards for outstanding research, mentorship and teaching at CMU. These include the Barbara Lazarus Award (only awarded to one faculty member per year at Carnegie Mellon),[8] The George Tallman Ladd Research Award, Benjamin Richard Teare Teaching Award, as well as the Biophysical Society MARC Minority Faculty Mentor Award.

His wife, Rachel, and Philip have a daughter and two sons. He has also been involved with many philanthropic organizations including raising money for non-profit organizations and mission trips to Africa and Armenia.[9]


Two areas that have always interested LeDuc are the mechanics of machines and the wonders of nature [10]. His interest in mechanics, first beginning as a youth taking apart machines like lawn mowers, has intersected with his fascination with nature at the cellular and molecular levels. In this, he focuses on merging mechanical engineering with biology. He approaches this intersection by envisioning cells and molecules as “systems” that can be investigated with some of the same fundamental approaches used on machines such as planes, trains, and automobiles looking for unifying principles. The biological systems range from mammalian cells to microorganisms to developmental biology systems (e.g. neurons, magnetic bacteria, energy generating bacteria, Xenopus laevis, stem cells, mangrove plants) and applying principles from mechanical engineering fields (e.g. solid mechanics, control theory, fluidics, heat transfer, design) to understand how these principles may apply across diverse nature-based systems. He pursues these goals through developing and utilizing unique custom-built systems as well as nanotechnology, microtechnology, synthetic biology, computational biology, etc. These intersections are especially fascinating to him as biological systems have evolved for distinct reasons (the “initial and boundary conditions” are different). In addition, as an engineer, he is truly interested in building new systems from the knowledge that is obtained to build new machines. Thus, he thinks about nature-inspired design principles at the molecular and cellular levels to work toward generating novel approaches for contributing to technology development and medical applications. His goal is focused on how one mechanical engineer approaches nature-based systems at the cellular and molecular levels.

Selected works

LeDuc is the author of over 110 peer-reviewed publications. [11] Some selected ones are:

  • Justus, K.B., Lewis, D., Majidi, C.*, LeDuc, P.R.,*, Tan, C.* A Biosensing Soft Robot: Integrating Chemical and Optical Responsive Synthetic Cells with Soft Robotics. Science Robotics 4: eaax0765 (2019).
  • Wood, A.R., Garg, R., Justus, K., Cohen-Karni, T., LeDuc, P.R.*, Alan J. Russell, A.J.* Intact Mangrove Root Electrodes for Desalination. RSC Advances 9: 4735-4743 (2019).
  • Shorr, A.Z., Sönmez, U., Minden, J.S.*, LeDuc, P.R.* High-throughput Mechanotransduction in Drosophila Embryos with Mesofluidics. Lab on a Chip 19: 1141-1152 (2019, cover).


LeDuc is the inventor of numerous patents.[12] Some selected ones are:

  • S. Takayama, E. Ostuni, P.R. LeDuc, K. Naruse, D. Ingber, and G.M. Whitesides, “Differential Treatment of Selected Parts of a Single Cell with Different Fluid Components,” U.S. Patent 6,653,089
  • C.M. Cheng, B. Li, and P.R. LeDuc, “Optical Fabrication of Three-Dimensional Polymeric Microstructures with Out of Plane Profile Control,” U.S. Patent 8,192,922 B2
  • Y.T. Kim, W. Messner, and P.R. LeDuc, “Methods, Apparatuses, and Systems for Three-Dimensional Chemical Pattern Control using Two-Dimensional Modular Microfluidics,” U.S. Patent 8,695,618
  • Y. Zeng, P.R. LeDuc, K.H. Chiam, “Thin-film Method for Dynamic and Reversible Control of Substrate Stiffness for Cell Culture,” Patent 9,976,113
  • N. Naserifar, C. Majidi, C.J. Bettinger, P,R, LeDuc, G.K. Fedder, “Integrated Electronic Device with Flexible and Stretchable Substrate,” Patent 16,572,652


  1. "Philip LeDuc". Carnegie Mellon University.
  2. "LeDuc awarded Gates Foundation Grant". AIMBE.
  3. "LeDuc NSF CAREER". National Science Foundation.
  4. "Beckman Young Investigator Award". Beckman Foundation.
  5. "LeDuc named BMES Fellow". Carnegie Mellon University.
  6. "LeDuc named ASME Fellow". Carnegie Mellon University.
  7. "LeDuc named AIMBE Fellow". AIMBE.
  8. "LeDuc wins Barbara Lazarus Award". Carnegie Mellon University.
  9. "Mission trips".
  10. "Philip LeDuc Research". Carnegie Mellon University.
  11. "Publication history". Google Scholar.
  12. "Patent history". Google Scholar.

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