Skip to main content


R. Kirk Pirlo

Assistant Professor

Full-Time Faculty

School of Engineering: Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering


Email: R. Kirk Pirlo
Phone: 937-229-2627
Kettering Laboratories Room 524
Website: Visit Site



Kirk Pirlo is a native of West Virginia and received his B.S. in physics from West Virginia University in 2005. He earned his Ph.D. in bioengineering at Clemson University in 2009. He was a National Research Council Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Bioenergy and Biofabrication Section at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, where he developed ‘biopapers’ and multi-mode bioprinters. He joined the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) as Federal Research Biologist in the Bioenergy and Biofabrication Section in 2011 and in 2013 began the role of Principle Investigator developing biomaterials, bioreactors and bioprinting technologies to benefit the warfighter. From 2015-2019, he served as the government chief technology officer for BioFabUSA. He joined the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at the University of Dayton in August 2019 and heads research in the Biomatter Manipulation Technologies group. He is currently engaged in the development of novel biomaterials and biofabrication processes with an emphasis on affordable, scalable, biochip arrays for research and pharmaceutical testing.

Google Scholar, ORCID, LinkedIn

Selected Patents

  • Cell and Biofactor Printable Biopapers. US10167464B2, 2019.
  • Temperature Controlled Electrospinning Substrate. US20180302953A1, 2018.
  • Biopapers as a Substrate for Tissue Culture. US20170183622A1, 2017.
  • Modular Bioreactor for Culture of Biopaper Based Tissues. US20170158999A1, 2017.
  • Cell and Biofactor Printable Biopapers. US8669086B2, 2014.

Selected Publications

  • Fincher, J. A., Korte, A. R., Dyer, J. E., Yadavilli, S., Morris, N. J., Jones, D. R., Shanmugam, V. K., Pirlo, R. K., & Vertes, A. (2019). Mass spectrometry imaging of triglycerides in biological tissues by laser desorption ionization from silicon nanopost arrays. J Mass Spectrom.
  • Gaston, J. D., Bischel, L. L., Fitzgerald, L. A., Cusick, K. D., Ringeisen, B. R., & Pirlo, R. K. (2017). Gene expression changes in long-term in vitro human blood-brain barrier models and their dependence on a transwell scaffold material. J Healthc Eng, 5740975.
  • Bischel, L. L., Coneski, P. N., Lundin, J. G., Wu, P. K., Giller, C. B., Wynne, J., Ringeisen, B. R., & Pirlo, R. K. (2016). Electrospun gelatin biopapers as substrate for in vitro bilayer models of blood−brain barrier tissue. Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A, 104(4), 901–909.
  • Cockrell, A. L., Pirlo, R. K., Babson, D. M., Cusick, K. D., Soto, C. M., Petersen, E. R., Davis, M. J., Hong, C. I., Lee, K., Fitzgerald, L. A., et al. (2015). Suppressing the Neurospora crassa circadian clock while maintaining light responsiveness in continuous stirred tank reactors. Sci Rep, 5(1), 10691.
  • Cusick, K. D., Fitzgerald, L. A., Pirlo, R. K., Cockrell, A. L., Petersen, E. R., & Biffinger, J. C. (2014). Selection and evaluation of reference genes for expression studies with quantitative PCR in the model fungus Neurospora crassa under different environmental conditions in continuous culture. PLoS ONE, 9(12), e112706.
  • Pirlo, R. K., Wu, P. K., & Ringeisen, B. R. (2014). Computer aided design and manufacturing of soft, three-dimensional, multilayer, biological constructs via laser printing onto laser machined composite biopapers. J Imaging Sci Technol, 58(4), 404011–404017.
  • Ringeisen, B. R., Pirlo, R. K., Wu, P. K., Boland, T., Huang, Y., Sun, W., Hamid, Q., & Chrisey, D. B. (2013). Cell and organ printing turns 15: Diverse research to commercial transitions. MRS Bulletin, 38(10), 834–843.
  • Pirlo, R. K., Wu, P., Liu, J., & Ringeisen, B. (2012). PLGA/hydrogel biopapers as a stackable substrate for pinting HUVEC networks via BioLP. Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 109(1), 262–273.
  • Ma, Z., Pirlo, R. K., Wan, Q., Yun, J. X., Yuan, X., Xiang, P., Borg, T. K., & Gao, B. Z. (2011). Laser-guidance-based cell deposition microscope for heterotypic single-cell micropatterning. Biofabrication, 3(3), 034107.
  • Pirlo, R. K., Sweeney, A. J., Ringeisen, B. R., Kindy, M., & Gao, B. Z. (2011). Biochip∕laser cell deposition system to assess polarized axonal growth from single neurons and neuron∕glia pairs in microchannels with novel asymmetrical geometries. Biomicrofluidics, 5(1).
  • Pirlo, R. K., Ma, Z., Sweeney, A., Liu, H., Yun, J. X., Peng, X., Yuan, X., & Guo, G. X., Gao, B. Z. (2011). Laser-guided cell micropatterning system. Rev Sci Instrum, 82(1), 13708.

Book Chapters

  • Huang, T., Pirlo, R. K., Qin, W., Lin, Y., Wei, L., Schmidt, L., Erdman, N., Xi, T., DeSilva, M. N., & Gao, B. Z. (2015). Development of a compartmentalized biochip for axonal isolation and neuronal-circuit formation at the single-cell level. In E. Biffi (Ed.), Microfluidic and compartmentalized platforms for neurobiological research (pp. 83–104). New York: Springer. Retrieved from
  • Ma, Z., Pirlo, R. K., Yun, J. X., Peng, X., Yuan, X., & Gao, B. Z. (2010). Laser guidance-based cell micropatterning. In B. R. Ringeisen, B. J. Spargo, & P. K. Wu (Eds.), Cell and organ printing (pp. 137–159). Netherlands: Springer. Retrieved from

Courses Taught

  • Introduction to Bioengineering (CME 490 590 BIE 501)
  • Biomedical Engineering I (CME 491 591 BIE 561)


  • Ph.D., Bioengineering, Clemson
  • B.S., Physics, West Virginia University

Professional Activities

  • Editorial Board, Genes and Diseases
  • ASME Bioprinter Hardware Standards Working Group
  • ASTM WK65476 Standard Guide for Characterizing Fiber-Based Constructs for Tissue Engineered Medical Products
  • International Society for Biofabrication (ISBF)
  • Material Research Society (MRS)
  • Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS)
  • Society for Biomaterials (SFB)
  • Bioelectrochemical Society (BES)
  • Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES)
  • American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE)
  • Sigma Xi

Selected Research and Work Experience

  • Research biologist, U. S. Naval Research Laboratory, 2011 - 2019
  • NRL principal investigator and Federal Strategic Council Member for 4DBio3, 2017-2019
  • Government Chief Technology officer for BioFabUSA, 2016 -2019
  • National research council postdoctoral fellow, U. S. Naval Research Laboratory, 2009 - 2011

Research Interests

  • Electrospinning
  • Biomaterials
  • Blood-brain barrier
  • Bioreactors
  • Biochips
  • Biofabrication
  • Bioengineering
  • Tissue Engineering

Selected Honors and Awards

  • NRL Karle Fellowship, 2011
  • National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2009
  • Edmund and Rose Rotter Scholarship in Physics, 2004