Discover CALS

See how our current work and research is bringing new thinking and new solutions to some of today's biggest challenges.

  • Biological and Environmental Engineering
  • Entomology
  • Environment
Chris Roh ’12, assistant professor, Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering

Academic focus:

Biofluid mechanics, entomology, bio-inspired engineering, in vivo engineering

Research summary:

Insects’ well-adapted interactions with abiotic and biotic surroundings offer inspiration for innovative engineering designs and concepts. Among the primary abiotic components of nature are fluids. In air, water or in between, insects’ small sizes contend with multiple fluid forces. Through morphological and behavioral adaptations, insects have found numerous ways of foraging, evading, communicating and feeding in dynamic fluid environments. My main research interest is to study these adaptations and apply the findings to different disciplines, such as agriculture, ecology, biomedical and aeronautical engineering.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

Hiking with my family.

What are your current outreach/extension projects?

I don’t have an outreach or extension project yet, but when I was a student here, I was part of the naturalist outreach program by Dr. Linda Rayor. As part of the program, I went to local schools to talk about how spiders move. I want to continue to communicate my research and passion for bugs to K-12 future scientists and engineers.

What are three adjectives people might use to describe you?

Creative, funny, helpful

What (specifically) brought you to Cornell CALS?

It was always my dream to be able to research and teach here. The wide range of expertise at CALS is uniquely equipped to tackle complex but important problems in agriculture and life science that can only be solved by interdisciplinary work. I am excited to immerse myself in the Ag Quad and work with world experts in entomology, plant science, agriculture, soil science and many more!

What do you think is important for people to understand about your field?

That amazing conceptual advancements and findings await in the ways insects navigate and interact with the world.

Why did you feel inspired to pursue a career in this field?

I like learning about insects and fluid mechanics. Both are complex systems, and they interact with each other in unexpected ways. Fluid forces shape insects, which contributes to their diversity. Insects perturb fluid in clever ways that inspire engineers. When I stare at bugs and fluid phenomena, they throw lots of questions at me.

What’s the most surprising/interesting thing you’ve discovered about Cornell and/or Ithaca so far?

Ithacans slow down in front of the school.

If you had unlimited grant funding, what major problem in your field would you want to solve?

Growing biosensors inspired by bugs. Google lens for bugs.

Learn more about Chris’ research on The Roh Lab website or visit his profile page.

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