CANCELLED - Microwaving a Biological Cell Alive


Please refer to the agenda below for parking information.

IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society Distinguished Lecture

“Microwaving a Biological Cell Alive ‒ Broadband Label-free Noninvasive Electrical Characterization of a Live Cell”

Prof. James Hwang
Cornell University

   Tuesday March 24, 2020

   A. V. Williams Building, Room 2460
   University of Maryland
   College Park MD 20814

   6:30 - 7:15 PM : Social / Networking
   7:15 - 8:45 PM : Lecture / Q&A

The night begins at 6:30 pm with a reception followed by the lecture from 7:15 - 8:45 pm.
There is no charge to attend this talk. IEEE members and non-members are welcome.

As usual, complimentary light food and beverages will be served at the reception, so please register for a head count.

This IEEE Distinguished Lecture is sponsored by the following Washington area local IEEE Chapters:
    IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Chapter of Washington/Northern VA
    IEEE Circuits and Systems Chapter of Washington/Northern VA/Baltimore
    IEEE Nanotechnology Council Chapter of Northern VA/Washington 
  IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Chapter of Washington/Northern VA

For previous lectures, see the Chapter website at

  Date and Time




  • Date: 24 Mar 2020
  • Time: 06:30 PM to 08:45 PM
  • All times are (GMT-05:00) US/Eastern
  • Add_To_Calendar_icon Add Event to Calendar
  • 8223 Paint Branch Drive
  • College Park, Maryland
  • United States 20814
  • Building: A.V. Williams Building
  • Room Number: 2460
  • Click here for Map

  • MTT Secretary Bob Benoit

    Also see the MTT Chapter website at

  • Co-sponsored by the following Washington and Northern Virginia local IEEE Chapters:

    Microwave Theory and Techniques Chapter

    Circuits and Systems Chapter

    Nanotechnology Council Chapter

    Engineering in Medicine and Biology Chapter


Prof. James Hwang Prof. James Hwang of Cornell University, Department of Materials Science and Engineering


Microwaving a Biological Cell Alive ‒ Broadband Label-free Noninvasive Electrical Characterization of a Live Cell

Microwaves are not just for cooking, smart cars, or mobile phones. We can take advantage of the wide electromagnetic spectrum to do wonderful things that are more vital to our lives. For example, microwave ablation of cancer tumors is already in wide use, and microwave remote monitoring of vital signs is becoming more important as the population ages. This talk will focus on a biomedical use of microwave at the single-cell level. At low power, microwaves can readily penetrate a cell membrane to interrogate what is inside a cell, without cooking it or otherwise hurting it. It is currently the fastest, most compact, and least costly way to tell whether a cell is alive or dead. On the other hand, at higher power but lower frequency, the electromagnetic signal can interact strongly with the cell membrane to drill temporary holes of nanometer size. The nanopores allow drugs to diffuse into the cell and, based on the reaction of the cell, individualized medicine can be developed and drug development can be sped up in general. Conversely, the nanopores allow strands of DNA molecules to be pulled out of the cell without killing it, which can speed up genetic engineering. Lastly, by changing both the power and frequency of the signal, we can have either positive or negative dielectrophoresis effects, which we have used to coerce a live cell to the examination table of Dr. Microwave, then usher it out after examination. These interesting uses of microwave and the resulted fundamental knowledge about biological cells will be explored in the talk.


James Hwang is Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Cornell University. He graduated from the same department with a Ph.D. degree. After years of industrial experience at IBM, Bell Labs, GE, and GAIN, he spent most of his academic career at Lehigh University. He cofounded GAIN and QED; the latter became the public company IQE. Between 2011 and 2013, he was the Program Officer for GHz-THz Electronics at the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research. He has been a visiting professor at Cornell University in the US, Marche Polytechnic University in Italy, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, National Chiao Tung University in Taiwan, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, East China Normal University, and University of Science and Technology in China. He is an IEEE Life Fellow and a Distinguished Microwave Lecturer. He is also a Track Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques. He has published more than 350 refereed technical papers and been granted eight U.S. patents. He has researched for decades on the design, modeling and characterization of optical, electronic, and micro- electromechanical devices and circuits. His current research interest focuses on electromagnetic sensors for individual biological cells, scanning microwave microscopy, and two-dimensional atomic-layered materials and devices.


Address:Cornell University, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Ithaca, New York, United States, 14853


6:30 - 7:15 PM : Reception / Networking
7:15 - 8:45 PM : Lecture / Q&A
All times are US/Eastern.

There is no registration fee but please register so we have a head count for food & beverage. 

Directions and parking

Refer to
for directions to visitor parking.

The A.V. Williams Building is Building #115 on the campus map.

There are several parking lots nearby that offer free unrestricted parking after 4pm.
Options include lots H, 11b, CC1, FF2, and lots B and RR in the Regents Drive Garage.
Lot H is the closest to the building. Handicapped parking is available in GG2.

Be careful to check the signs in the parking lots for updated information when you arrive.
Some parking lots may be closed due to unadvertised campus events.
Available lots have signs indicating that they are "Unrestricted after 4PM".

Comprehensive parking information is at