Leila F. Deravi

Leila DeraviAssistant Professor

Analytical Chemistry and Materials Chemistry

Parsons Hall Room S209
Department of Chemistry
University of New Hampshire
Durham, NH  03824







  • B.S., 2005, University of Alabama
  • Ph.D., 2009, Vanderbilt University
  • Postdoctoral Research Assistant, 2010-2013, Harvard University
  • Research Associate 2013-2014, Harvard University


Research Interests

Integrating the structure dependent function of self-assembling proteins and biopolymers into flexible devices for applications ranging from catalysis to wearable electronics

Current Research Interests

Our laboratory is an interdisciplinary group that works at the interface of bio-analytical chemistry, materials science, and design. Our primary research focus is building the structure dependent function of self-assembling proteins into macromolecular materials. Two of our ongoing projects to support this goal are described here.

Printing protein-based materials

We incorporate piezoelectric inkjet printing using a Dimatix Materials Printer (DMP 2800) to build custom protein based materials. As part of the materials design, our group formulates custom protein inks and examines the fluid physical parameters using rheology and an optical tensiometer prior to printing. Based on the bulk structure and composition of the protein based materials, they are then integrated with non-biological components (metals or metal oxides) to be used for applications including catalysis, diagnostic assays, flexible displays, or implantable sensors.

Piezoelectric inkjet printing

Figure 1.  Inkjet printing to fabricate protein based materials.  A.  DMP 2800 in the lab. 
B.  An illustration of the iterative design process of loading and printing the protein inks using the DMP cartridges.


DMP cut

Figure 2. The DMP 2800 hard at work in the laboratory. The movie shows real time printing action!


Building optical displays inspired by cephalopods

Cephalopods such as squid, octopus, and cuttlefish are capable of rapid (~100 msec) and adaptive changes in coloration by varying the local distribution of dermal pigments and proteins to reflect, absorb, and transmit light. We study the role of the cephalopod chromatophore organ in potentiating changes in coloration and apply our understanding to inform the design of new photonic materials.

Chromatophores, Nanospherical pigment granules

     Figure 3. Investigating the contribution of chromatophore organs in adaptive coloration. 
A. Chromatophores (inset) are isolated from squid Loligo pealei. Scale bar of inset, 1mm.
B. Nanospherical pigment granules are extracted and purified from L. pealei chromatophores and are studied the laboratory. Scale bar 1µm.


Seungkuk Ahn, Leila F. Deravi, Sung-Jin Park, Borna E. Dabiri, Joon-Seop Kim, Kevin Kit Parker, Kwanwoo Shin. “Self-Organizing Large-Scale Extracellular-Matrix Protein Networks.” Advanced Materials 2015, DOI:10.1002/adma.201405556.  Selected  for cover (2015)

Leila F. Deravi, Andrew P. Magyar, Sean P. Sheehy, George R. R. Bell, Lydia M. Mäthger Alan M. Kuzirian, Roger T. Hanlon, Evelyn L. Hu, Kevin Kit Parker, “Progress towards elucidating the structure-function relationships of a natural nanoscale photonic device in cuttlefish chromatophores.” SPIE Biophotonics 2015, DOI: 10.1117/12.2081387.

Leila F. Deravi, Andrew P. Magyar, Sean P. Sheehy, George R. R. Bell, Lydia M. Mäthger, Stephen L. Senft, Trevor J. Wardill, William S. Lane, Alan M. Kuzirian, Roger T. Hanlon, Evelyn L. Hu, Kevin Kit Parker, “The optical behavior of a natural nanoscale photonic device in cuttlefish chromatophores” Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 2014, DOI:10.1098/rsif.2013.0942.

Leila F. Deravi, Holly M. Golecki, Kevin Kit Parker, “Protein-based Textiles: Bio-inspired and Bio-derived Materials for Medical and Non-Medical Applications” Journal of Chemical and Biological Interfaces, 2013, DOI:10.1166/jcbi.2013.1009.

Ashutosh Agarwal, Yohan Farouz, Alexander P. Nesmith, Leila F. Deravi, Megan L. McCain, Kevin Kit Parker, “Micropatterning Alginate Substrates for in vitro Cardiovascular Muscle on a Chip” Advanced Functional Materials, 2013, DOI: 10.1002/adfm.201203319.

Leila F. Deravi, Tianxiang Su, Jeffrey A. Paten, Jeffrey W. Ruberti, Katia Bertoldi, Kevin Kit Parker. “Differential Contributions of Conformation Extension and Domain Unfolding to Properties of Fibronectin Nanotextiles” Nano Letters, 2012, DOI: 10.1021/nl302643g.

Leslie A. Hiatt, Jennifer R. McKenzie, Leila F. Deravi, Reese S. Harry, David W. Wright, David E. Cliffel, “A Printed Superoxide Dismutase Coated Electrode for the Study of Macrophage Oxidative Burst” Biosensors and Bioelectronics, 2011,  DOI: 10.1016/j.bios.2011.12.038.

Joshua D. Swartz, Leila F. Deravi, David W. Wright, “The Bottom-Up Synthesis of Biologically Active Multilayer Films using Inkjet Printed Templates” Advanced Functional Materials, 2010, DOI: 10.1002/adfm.200902169.

Leila F. Deravi, David W. Wright, Jan L. Sumerel, “Printing Bioinks with Technologically Relevant Applications,” The Chemistry of Inkjet Inks, Ed. Shlomo Magdassi: World Scientific Inc., 2009, 269-283.

Leila F. Deravi, Joshua D. Swartz, David W. Wright, “The Biomimetic Synthesis of Metal Oxide Nanomaterials,” Nanomaterials for the Life Sciences: Vol 2. Ed. Challa Kumar: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KgaA, 2009, 3-54.

Leila F. Deravi, Jan L. Sumerel, Sarah L. Sewell, David W. Wright. “Piezoelectric Inkjet Printing of Biomimetic Inks for Reactive Surfaces” Small 2008, DOI: 10.1002/smll.200800536.

Leila F. Deravi, Jan L. Sumerel, Aren E. Gerdon, David E. Cliffel, David W. Wright. “Output analysis of materials ink-jet printer.” Appl. Phys. Letts. 2007, 91(11), 113114/1-113114/3.

Jan L. Sumerel,  John Lewis, A. Doraiswamy,  Leila F. Deravi, Sarah L. Sewell, Aren E. Gerdon, David W. Wright and Roger J. Narayan. “Piezoelectric Ink Jet Processing of Materials for Medical and Biological Applications.” Biotechnology 2006. 1(9), 976-87.