Eric Dufresne

Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science, Biomedical Engineering, Physics & Cell Biology
Room / Office: Mason M5
Office Address:
9 Hillhouse Avenue
New Haven, CT 06511
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 208284
New Haven, CT 06520
Phone: (203) 432-4351
  • Ph.D., University of Chicago
  • B.S., Yale University


Dufresne’s research focuses on understanding, controlling and exploiting the properties of soft materials. 

At the macroscale, soft matter exhibits a mixture of fluid and solid properties, while at the microscale its structure and dynamics are dominated by thermal fluctuations. Dufresne’s laboratory manipulates soft materials from the bottom up by altering the interactions of their components and from the top down by applying optical forces. 

Current research topics: interfacial forces; self-assembly of colloidal and biological materials; mechanical singularities; mechanics of cells and tissues.

Selected Awards & Honors:

  • 2014 Soft Matter Lectureship, Royal Society of Chemistry
  • 2014 Graduate Mentor Award in the Natural Sciences, Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
  • 2013 Dylan Hixon '88 Prize for Teaching Excellence in the Natural Sciences
  • NSF Career Award, 2006, for "Self-assembly and Direct Fabrication of Stimuli-Responsive Colloidal Materials Governed by Proteins." 
  • 2002 R&D 100 Award for the BioRyx200 system, with David G. Grier and Ward A. Lopes 

Selected Publications:

Selected Patents:

  • "Apparatus and Method for Fabricating, sorting, and Integrating Materials with Holographic Optical Traps", 6,863,406, 2005: With D.G. Grier
  • "Apparatus for Using Optical Tweezers to Manipulate Materials", 6,846,084, 2005: With D.G. Grier, J.E. Curtis, and B.A. Koss
  • "Apparatus for Manipulating Materials with Visible Light", 6,626,546, 2003: With D.G. Grier, J.E. Curtis, B.A. Koss
  • "Apparatus for Using Optical Tweezers to Manipulate Materials", 6,626,546, 2003: With D.G. Grier
  • "Method for Applying Optical Gradient Forces and Moving Material", 6,624,940, 2003: With D. G. Grier
  • "Apparatus for Using Optical Tweezers to Manipulate Materials", 6,416,190, 2002: With D.G. Grier
  • "Apparatus for Applying Optical Gradient Forces", 6,055,106, 2000: With D.G. Grier