Meet the Scholars

Updated: September 24, 2015

John Franklin Zimmerman

John Franklin Zimmerman

CBC Scholar: Class of 2014
PhD Candidate, Department of Chemistry, The University of Chicago
Advisor: Bozhi Tian


Recent reports have shown the importance of nanoconstructs in the development of next generation biomaterials: such as drug delivery carriers, engineered tissue scaffolds and biosensors. Expanding on these early successes, my research interests lie in further exploring the nano-bio interface and in developing new nanoscale devices capable of  interacting electrically with cellular systems. As programmable devices, semiconducting nanomaterials and silicon nanowires (SiNWs) in particular, offer a promising platform for both the local monitoring and stimulation of cellular electrical pathways. SiNW demonstrate low cytotoxicity, especially when compared to other group III-V or II-VI semiconductors, and have well understood synthetic parameters, allowing for the implementation of a wide array of different device configurations, and in turn enabling a more cohesive biointerface. It is my goal that by exploring these systems I will be able to open up hitherto unavailable options for modulating cell behavior in the emerging fields of synthetic biology and tissue engineering, with promising implications for the design of future cellular level biomedical diagnostic and treatment techniques.


Zimmerman JF, Murray GF, Wang Y, Jumper JM, Austin JR 2nd, Tian B. Free-Standing Kinked Silicon Nanowires for Probing Inter- and Intracellular Force Dynamics. Nano Lett. 2015 Aug 12;15(8):5492-8. (PubMed)

Zimmerman J, Parameswaran R, Tian B. Nanoscale semiconductor devices as new biomaterials. Biomater. Sci. 2014, 2, 619-626. (

Zimmerman J, Tian B. Nanowire Based Biosensors. In: Semiconductor Nanowires, From Next-Generation Electronics to Sustainable Energy. Invited Review Chapter. Wei Lu (Editor), Jie Xiang (Editor). 2014 Royal Society of Chemistry Publishing. ISBN: 978-1-84973-815-6 (


  • Chicago Biomedical Consortium (CBC) Scholar, 2014


  • Physics With a Bang Volunteer Instructor, University of Chicago, Fall 2012 & 2013
  • Nixya’awii High School Science Outreach Volunteer Instructor, Whitman College, Spring 2010
  • Boy Scout Laboratory Demonstration Instructor, Whitman College, Spring 2009


  • Chemistry Tutor, University of Chicago, Fall 2013 – Present
  • General Chemistry Teaching Assistant,  University of Chicago, Fall 2011 – Spring 2012
  • Chemistry Tutor, Whitman College, Fall 2010 – Spring 2011