Henry Hess

PROFESSOR OF BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING

351 Engineering Terrace

Tel(212) 854-7749
Fax(212) 854-8725

Henry Hess focuses on engineering at the molecular scale, in particular the design of active nanosystems with biomolecular motors, the study of active self-assembly, and the investigation of protein-resistant polymer coatings. 

Research Interests

Engineering at the molecular scale, in particular the design of active nanosystems incorporating biomolecular motors, the study of active self-assembly, and the investigation of protein-resistant polymer coatings.

He directs Columbia’s Hess Laboratory on Nanobiotechnology – Synthetic Biology and teaches two related courses: “Fundamentals of Nanobioscience and Nanobiotechnology” and “Current topics in Nanobioscience and Nanobiotechnology”. His lab has used motor proteins in synthetic environments for the controlled transport of nanoscale cargo and continues to advance the design of such hybrid bionanodevices and materials. Applications for these hybrid systems can be found in medicine and biotechnology. They can also provide proof-of-concept for technological applications where temperature stability and durability are beyond the limitation of many components. Current areas of focus also include energy conversion and friction and wear.

Hess received a diploma in physics from Technical University of Berlin and in 1999, he earned a PhD in physics from Free University of Berlin.  He was a research assistant professor of bioengineering at the University of Washington from 2002 – 2005 and an assistant professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Florida from 2005 until 2009 when he joined the biomedical engineering faculty at Columbia Engineering. 

Research Experience

  • Research Assistant Professor, Bioengineering, University of Washington, 2002 – 2005
  • Postdoctoral Researcher, Bioengineering, University of Washington, 2000 – 2002
  • Visiting Scholar, Chemistry, University of Washington, 1995 – 1995, 1996, 1998
  • Undergraduate Researcher, Technical University Berlin, Institute for Bionics, 1994

Professional Experience

  • Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering, Columbia Engineering, 2009 –
  • Assistant Professor, Materials Science and Engineering, University of Florida, 2005 – 2009
  • Research Assistant Professor, Bioengineering, University of Washington, 2002 – 2005

Professional Affiliations

  • German Physical Society
  • Alexander von Humboldt Association of America 
  • Materials Research Society
  • American Chemical Society

Honors & Awards

  • Invitation to the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative “Synthetic Biology,” 2009
  • Distinguished Mentor Award of the UF/HHMI “Science for Life” program, 2007
  • Philip Morris Forschungspreis (with Viola Vogel), 2005
  • Feodor Lynen postdoctoral fellowship of the A. von Humboldt foundation, 2000, renewed 2001
  • Wolfgang-Paul-Award of the German Society for Mass Spectrometry for best PhD thesis, 2000 
  • Erwin-Stephan-Award of the Technical University Berlin for outstanding graduates, 1996 
  • Scholarship from the “Deutsche Studienstiftung,” 1991-1993 

Selected Publications

The hybrid approach has the advantage that techniques, materials, and devices unique to either biology or technology can be merged into a revolutionary combination.

Henry Hess
PROFESSOR OF BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING