The University of Utah Department of Mechanical Engineering is pleased to welcome the arrival of Dr. Henry Fu. Dr. Fu’s research group is interested in microscale fluid dynamics and mechanics, especially as applied to microbial biology, soft and complex biomaterials, and microrobotics for biomedical applications.Before joining the University of Utah, Fu was an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno. While there, he was awarded the National Science Foundation CAREER award in 2013, was appointed Ralph E. Hoeper Professor of Engineering in 2015, and received the Regent’s Rising Researcher Award in 2016. Prior to his time in Nevada, Dr. Fu was a postdoctoral research associate at Brown University, and received a Ph.D. in physics from the University of California, Berkeley. His Bachelor of Arts (AB) and Master of Arts (AM) degrees are from Harvard University in Chemistry and Physics, and Chemistry, respectively.
Dr. Fu’s research group has been particularly active in looking at the propulsion and locomotion of swimming microorganisms such as bacteria and sperm. He says his interest in this topic arises because “the motility of microorganisms affects our lives in so many ways – from our conception through fertilization to infection by bacteria to ecology and the environment.” He is especially interested in investigating situations when microorganisms must navigate complex biological materials, such as when bacteria encounter mucus or tissue during an infection.
“My interest in locomotion and propulsion also extends to engineered systems,” Fu says. “We’ve started working on projects involving microrobotic systems that may eventually be propelled through the bloodstream or tissues to deliver drugs or perform microsurgeries. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to collaborate on these topics with the strong robotics group in the department.”Dr. Fu will be teaching courses in fluid mechanics at the U. “I enjoy trying to make difficult concepts seem natural and understandable. It’s great to see how students really become familiar with new things and new ideas throughout a semester.” Outside of research and teaching, Dr. Fu enjoys spending time with his family, including his two young sons. He also tries to make time to indulge in backpacking and outdoor adventures, and is definitely looking forward to exploring the mountains around Utah.