Bryson Brewer
Bryson Brewer, Ph.D.
Senior Associate
Mechanical Engineering
Atlanta

Dr. Brewer specializes in the investigation of complex engineering problems, with an emphasis on failure analysis of a variety of products, devices, and systems. His specific experience includes the analysis of micro/nanoscale systems (MEMS and BioMEMS), a variety of consumer products (including coffee makers, washing machines, hammocks, food containers, and sportswear), steel and plastic pipes, food product manufacturing processes, heavy equipment, composite materials, small metal components (bolts, fittings), and petroleum products pipelines.

Dr. Brewer also has extensive experience in the multidisciplinary field of microfluidics, with a focus on the design, characterization, and implementation of microfluidic systems. In addition, he is skilled in using numerous three-dimensional scanning and modeling technologies to reconstruct accident scenes, large-scale vehicles and equipment, and small parts/ devices for the purposes of non-destructive documentation and engineering analysis. He is proficient in numerous lithographic, etching, and rapid-prototyping techniques used for MEMS fabrication, as well as optical and electron microscopy.

Prior to joining Exponent, Dr. Brewer was an NSF Graduate Research Fellow and postdoctoral scholar at the Micro/Nanoscale Thermal - Fluids Laboratory at Vanderbilt University where he designed and implemented microfluidic platforms for investigations of cell culture phenomena. Specifically, Dr. Brewer has developed microfluidic platforms for studies in cancer cell biology, neuroscience, and materials science. This work included the development and testing of ultra-sensitive biosensors that integrated novel materials such as graphene with microfluidic channels, the investigation of the effects of mechanical stress on specific cell types using a stretchable microfluidic device, and the construction of a molecular trapping system that captures targeted molecules using functionalized nanoparticles embedded in a hydrogel matrix. Dr. Brewer also utilized both two-phase flow and pneumatically/hydraulically actuated elastomeric valves in a microchannel network to create reversible barriers for probing cell-cell interactions.

Dr. Brewer was a participant in the NSF Engineering Innovation Fellows Program, where he performed optimization studies on a miniature electrochemical pump employing an ion-selective membrane. This work involved evaluating the effects of the pump's internal membrane support structure, membrane permeability, osmotic flow, and the application of variable electric potentials on overall pumping behavior. Additionally, Dr. Brewer served as a teaching assistant for two undergraduate mechanical engineering laboratories. These classes focused on introducing students to a variety of engineering measurement and analysis techniques, as well as using experimental methods in heat transfer, fluid mechanics, and thermodynamics to analyze energy conversion systems.

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, Vanderbilt University, 2015
  • M.S., Mechanical Engineering, Vanderbilt University, 2014
  • B.S., Physics, University of Southern Mississippi, 2010
  • Postdoctoral Scholar, Mechanical Engineering, Vanderbilt University, 2015

    National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF GRFP), 2012–2015

    IBM Fellowship, 2010–2014

    National Science Foundation Engineering Innovation Fellows Program (NSF EIFP), 2013

    University of Southern Mississippi Presidential Scholarship Recipient, 2006–2010

Publications

Yang L, Carrington LJ, Erdogan B, Ao M, Brewer BM, Webb DJ, Li D. Biomechanics of cell reorientation in a three-dimensional matrix under compression. Experimental Cell Research 2017; 350(1):253-266.

Feiler MS, Strobel BS, Freischmidt A, Helferich AM, Kappel J, Brewer BM, Li D, Thal DR, Walther P, Ludolph AC, Danzer KM, Weishupt JH. TDP-43 is intercellularly transmitted across axon terminals. Journal of Cell Biology 2015; 211(4):897.

Brown JA, Pensabene V, Markov DA, Allwardt V, Neely DM, Shi M, Britt CM, Hoilett OS, Yang Q, Brewer BM, Samson PC, McCawley LJ, May JM, Webb DJ, Li D, Bowman AB, Reiserer RS, Wikswo JP. Recreating blood-brain barrier physiology and structure on chip: A novel neurovascular microfluidic bioreactor. Biomicrofluidics 2015; 9(5):054124

Ao M*, Brewer BM*, Yang L, Franco Coronel OE, Hayward SW, Webb DJ, Li D. Stretching fibroblasts remodels the extracellular matrix and alters cancer cell migration. Scientific Reports 2015; 5:8334. * Authors contributed equally.

Brewer BM, Shi M, Edd JF, Webb DJ, Li D. A microfluidic cell co-culture platform with a liquid fluorocarbon separator. Biomedical Microdevices 2014; 16(2):311–323.

Jean L, Yang L, Majumdar D, Gao Y, Shi M, Brewer BM, Li D, Webb DJ. The rho family GEF Asef2 regulates cell migration in three dimensional (3D) collagen matrices through myosin II. Cell Adhesion and Migration 2014; 8(5):460–467.

Brown JA, Sherrod SD, Goodwin CR, Brewer BM, Yang L, Garbett KA, Li D, McLean JA, Wikswo JP, Mirnics K. Metabolic consequences of interleukin-6 challenge in developing neurons and astroglia. Journal of Neuroinflammation 2014; 11(1):183.

Shi M, Majumdar D, Gao Y, Brewer BM, Goodwin CR, McLean JA, Li D, Webb DJ. Glia co-culture with neurons in microfluidic platforms promotes the formation and stabilization of synaptic contacts. Lab on a Chip 2013; 13(15):3008–3021.

Book Chapters

Brewer BM, Webb DJ, Li D. The fabrication of microfluidic platforms with pneumatically/hydraulically controlled PDMS valves and their use in neurobiological research. In: Microfluidic and Compartmentalized Platforms for Neurobiological Research. Biffi, E (ed) , Springer Science+Business Media, pp. 3-23, 2015.

Conference Publications and Presentations

Erdogan B, Ao M, Brewer BM, White L, Franco OE, Hayward S, Li D, Webb DJ. Increased contractility and traction forces exerted by cancer-associated fibroblasts align fibronectin to direct cancer cell migration. ASCB 2016 Annual Meeting, December 2016.

Erdogan B, Ao M, Brewer BM, Franco OE, Hayward S, Li D, Webb DJ. Cancer-associated fibroblasts promote directional migration of cancer cells via parallel organization of the fibronectin matrix. ASCB 2015 Annual Meeting, December 2015.

Yang L, Brewer BM, Ao M, Webb DJ, Li D. The effects of mechanical stress in normal tissue fibroblast activation and cancer associated fibroblast genesis. ASME 2014 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, November 2014.

Brewer BM, Gao Y, Shi M, Majumdar D, Webb DJ, Li D. Investigation of the effects of glia on synaptic contact and stabilization using a microfluidic cell culture platform. ASME 2013 Micro/Nanoscale Heat and Mass Transfer International Conference, December 2013.

Brewer BM, Gao Y, Sappington RM, and Li D. Microfluidic molecular trap: probing extracellular signaling by selectively blocking exchange of specific molecules in cell-cell interactions. ASME 2013 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, November 2013.

Brewer BM, Shi M, Gao Y, Webb DJ, Edd JF, Li D. Microfluidic cell co-culture platform with liquid fluorocarbon as the cell separator, ASME 2012 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, November 2012.

Brewer BM, Gao Y, Li D. A study of small molecule absorption in polydimethylsiloxane. ASME 2012 Micro/Nanoscale Heat & Mass Transfer International Conference, March 2012.

Professional Affiliations

American Society of Mechanical Engineers

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, Vanderbilt University, 2015
  • M.S., Mechanical Engineering, Vanderbilt University, 2014
  • B.S., Physics, University of Southern Mississippi, 2010
  • Postdoctoral Scholar, Mechanical Engineering, Vanderbilt University, 2015

    National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF GRFP), 2012–2015

    IBM Fellowship, 2010–2014

    National Science Foundation Engineering Innovation Fellows Program (NSF EIFP), 2013

    University of Southern Mississippi Presidential Scholarship Recipient, 2006–2010