Pitt | Swanson Engineering
Principle Investigator


Dr. Xinyan Tracy Cui



 Dr. Tracy Cui is William Kepler Whiteford Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh.  Dr. Cui is the Director of the    Neural Tissue/Electrode Interface and Neural Tissue Engineering Lab.  She is also the    Neural Engineering Track Coordinator for the    Department of Bioengineering Graduate Committee and serves on the Leadership Team of the    Center for Medical Innovation.  Prior to Pitt, she was a Research Scientist at Unilever Research US in Edgewater, New Jersey.  


 Dr. Cui earned her BE in Polymer Materials and Chemical Engineering and her MS in Biophysics at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.  She went on to earn her PhD in Macromolecular Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan. 


 In the Dr. Cui’s lab, the primary research focus is on the interactions between neural tissue and smart biomaterials. Dr Cui’s research interests lie in neural engineering with special focuses on neural electrode-tissue interface, neural tissue engineering, central nervous system drug delivery, and biosensors.  Specific projects include:  


  •  Biomimetic surface coatings for neural microelectrode arrays to improve chronic neural recording and stimulation stability, reliability, and longevity  
  •  Novel material and device development for implantable neural electrodes  
  •  Micro-patterning of biochemical, surface chemical, and electrical cues on electrode arrays for neural network study  
  •  On demand drug delivery in the nervous system  
  •  Implantable biosensors for cytokines and neurochemicals   
  •  Control of neural stem cell growth and differentiation via surface and electrical cues  
  •  Smart coatings for Mg based implants    



 For her work, Dr. Cui has won numerous awards:  


  • 2015 Swanson School of Engineering William Kepler Whiteford Professor
  • 2013 and 2014 Peking University Engineering Globex Fellow 
  •  2013 Swanson School of Engineering Bicentennial Alumni Faculty Fellow  
  •  2013 Carnegie Science Emerging Female Scientist Award  
  •  2009 and 2011 Pitt Innovator Award   
  •  2008 National Science Foundation Career Award  
  •  2005 Wallace Coulter Foundation Translational Early Career Award    



 She serves as a grant agency reviewer for the National Institute of Health, National Science Foundation, Science Foundation of Ireland as well as the American Institute of Biological Sciences.  Dr. Cui holds one granted and three filed U.S. patents, and she is a reviewer for many prestigious journals, such as Advanced materials, BiomaterialsJournal of Controlled ReleaseActa BiomaterialiaBiomedical Microdevices, Biosensors and Bioelectronics, Journal of Neural Engineering, Nature Communication, amongst others.  Dr. Cui is the Associate Editor of the Journal of Materials Chemistry B. 



 Dr. Tracy Cui 
Phone: (412) 383-6672 
Email:   xic11@pitt.edu