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Rohit N Karnik

Contact Info

room 3-461A

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

77 Massachusetts Avenue

Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139


  • 2002


    B. Tech.
  • 2004


  • 2006



Research Interests

  • Nanotechnology
  • Fluid mechanics
  • Biosensors
  • Water filtration and desalination
  • Separation processes
  • Nanoparticles


Rohit Karnik is a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT where he leads the Microfluidics and Nanofluidics Research Group. His research focuses on the physics of micro- and nanofluidic flows and the design of micro- and nanofluidic systems for applications in water, healthcare, energy, and the environment. 

Online Data

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Honors + Awards

  • 2021, National Academy of Inventors Senior Member
  • 2014, Best Poster Award, MIT Water Night 2014
  • 2014, IIT Bombay Young Alumni Achiever Award
  • 2013, Best Poster Award in the MEMS Division, Nanotechnology Forum, ASME IMECE
  • 2013, Best Poster Award, 3rd Asia-Pacific Chemical and Biological Microfluidics Conferences, Seoul, Korea
  • 2013, James H. Ferry, Jr. Award (MIT)
  • 2013, Outstanding Paper Award, ASME Global Congress on Nano Engineering for Medicine and Biology
  • 2012, US Department of Energy Early Career Award, Separations and Analysis Program
  • 2011, Keenan Award for Innovation in Undergraduate Education
  • 2010, Grand Prize (best poster out of 162 posters), Nanotechnology Forum, ASME IMECE
  • 2010, NSF CAREER Award, Chemical and Biological Separations
  • 2008, D’Arbeloff Career Development Chair in Design
  • 2008, Karl Chang (1965) Innovation Award (MIT)
  • 2002, Institute Silver Medal, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay
  • 1996, National Talent Search Scholarship (Govt. of India)


  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers

Professional Service

  • 2015, Proposal reviewer, DOE Early Career program
  • 2014-present, Editorial Board, Scientific Reports (Nature)
  • 2014, Poster judge, 1st International Conference on Micro and Nanofluidics, Twente, Netherlands
  • 2014, Reviewer, York Research Chair, Canada
  • 2014, Exhibit and Sponsorship Committee, 18th International Conference on Miniaturized Systems for Chemistry and Life Sciences
  • 2014, Advisory Board, Lab-on-a-Chip & Microarray World Congress
  • 2014, Session co-chair, Northeast Bioengineering Conference
  • 2013, Proposal reviewer, Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO)
  • 2013, Session chair, 3rd Asia-Pacific Chemical and Biological Microfluidics Conferences
  • 2013, Co-organizer, Micro/Nano Seminar Series
  • 2013, Session chair, ASME Congress
  • 2013-present, Involved in establishment of NanoMITE, a Malyalsian center for collaboration with US and foreign researchers
  • 2012, Proposal reviewer for KAUST
  • 2012, Proposal reviewer for DOE
  • 2012, Proposal reviewer for Swiss National Science Foundation
  • 2012, NSF Review Panel (Chemical and Biological Separations)
  • 2012, Proposal reviewer for MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI)
  • 2012, Article Editor, PNAS
  • 2011, Hosted Dr. Yang from Singapore University of Technology and Design in the laboratory as part of “Teach the teachers” program
  • Coordinated Micro/Nano area effort to create display for the Hart Museum in Bldg. 5
  • 2011, Proposal reviewer for Carver Trust
  • 2011, Proposal reviewer for Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation
  • 2011, Reviewer for Singapore University of Technology and Design faculty search applications
  • 2010, NSF Review Panel (Biological Separations)
  • 2010, Host for the visit of the Bios Lab-on-a-Chip group from University of Twente
  • 2009, Bioinstrumentation Session Chair, Northeast Bioengineering Conference (NEBEC 2009), Boston, MA
  • 2009, Proposal Reviewer, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), UK
  • 2009, Proposal reviewer for Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation
  • 2009, Poster Session Judge, 13th International Conference on Miniaturized Systems for Chemistry and Life Sciences (microTAS)
  • 2008, Judging panel for Senturia prize
  • 2008, Session Chair, MEMS Materials and MEMS for Materials, MEMS@MIT
  • 2007, NSF Review Panel (Thermal Transport Processes)
  • 2007-present, Journal paper reviews (ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, ACS Nano, Analytical Chemistry, Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, Applied Physics Letters, Biomedical Microdevices, Biomicrofluidics, Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Chemical Physics Letters, Desalination, Desalination and Water Treatment, Electrophoresis, IEEE Sensors, Integrative Biology, Journal of Applied Physics, Journal of Heat Transfer, Journal of Materials Chemistry A, Journal of Membrane Science, Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems, Journal of Physical Chemistry, Journal of the American Chemical Society, Lab on a Chip, Microfluidics and Nanofluidics,  Nanoscale, Nano Letters, Nature, Nature Communications, Nature Materials, Nature Nanotechnology, Physical Chemistry and Chemical Physics, Physical Review X, Physics of Fluids, PNAS, Science, Scientific Reports, Sensors and Actuators, Small, Soft Matter)

MIT Service

  • 2014-present, Ad hoc committee on the M. E. Qualifying Exam (Dept.)
  • 2014-present, M. E. Faculty Search Committee (Dept.)
  • 2014-present, M. E. Graduate Admissions Committee (Dept.)
  • 2014, Organizer, Joint Workshop with Tokyo Institute of Technology (Dept.)
  • 2013-2014, M.E. Graduate Admissions Committee (Dept.)
  • 2012-present, Undergraduate Programs Committee International Affairs (Dept.)
  • 2012-present, Chair, Mechanical Engineering Colloquium
  • 2012, M.E. Graduate Admissions Committee (Dept.)
  • 2012, Organizer, M.E. Research Speed Dating Event
  • 2011, M.E. Graduate Admissions Committee (Dept.)
  • 2011, Micro/Nano Engineering Laboratory Instructor Search Committee (Dept.)
  • 2010-2011, Bioengineering Faculty Search Committee (Dept.)
  • 2010, M.E. Graduate Admissions Committee (Dept.)
  • 2009, M.E. Graduate Admissions Committee (Dept.)
  • 2008-present, Undergraduate Programs Committee (Dept.)
  • 2008, M.E. Graduate Admissions Committee (Dept.)


  • Thermal Fluids Engineering II (2.006)
  • Micro/Nano Engineering Laboratory (2.674 & 2.675)
  • Advanced Heat and Mass Transfer (2.55)
  • Thermal Fluids Engineering I (2.005)
  • Measurement and Instrumentation (2.671)


  • Selected publications
  • Karnik, R., Fan, R., Yue, M., Li, D., Yang, P. and A. Majumdar, “Electrostatic Control of Ions and Molecules in Nanofluidic Transistors,” Nano Letters 5, 943-948, May 2005.
  • Karnik, R., Castelino, K., Fan, R., Yang, P. and A. Majumdar, “Effects of Biological Reactions and Modifications on Conductance of Nanofluidic Channels,” Nano Letters 5, 1638-1642, September 2005.
  • Liau, A., Karnik, R., Majumdar, A. and J. Doudna-Cate, “Mixing Crowded Biological Solutions in Milliseconds,” Analytical Chemistry 77, 7618-7625, December 2005.
  • Karnik, R., Duan, C., Castelino, K. and A. Majumdar, “Rectification of Ionic Transport in a Nanofluidic Diode,” Nano Letters 7, 547-551, March 2007.
  • Karnik, R., Gu, F., Basto, P., Cannizzaro, C., Dean, L., Kyei-Manu, W., Langer, R. and O. C. Farokhzad, “Microfluidic Platform for Controlled Synthesis of Polymeric Nanoparticles,” Nano Letters, 8, 2906-2912, September 2008.
  • Lee, J. and R. Karnik, “Desalination of Water by Vapor-phase Transport Through Hydrophobic Nanopores,” Journal of Applied Physics, 108, 044315, April 2010.
  • Bose, S., Das, S. K., Karp, J. M. and R. Karnik, “A Semi-analytical Model to Study the Effect of Cortical Tension on Cell Rolling,” Biophysical Journal, 99, 3870-3879, December 2010.
  • Lee, C., Bose, S., Van Vliet, K. J., Karp, J. M. and R. Karnik, “Examining the Lateral Displacement of HL60 Cells Rolling on Asymmetric P-selectin Patterns,” Langmuir, 27, 240-249, January 2011.
  • Rhee, M., Valencia, P. M., Rodriguez, M. I., Langer, R., Farokhzad, O. C. and R. Karnik, “Synthesis of Size-tunable Polymeric Nanoparticles Enabled by 3D Hydrodynamic Flow Focusing in Single-layer Microchannels,” Advanced Materials, 23, H79-H83, March 2011.
  • Humplik, T., Lee, J., O'Hern, S. C., Fellman, B. A., Baig, M. A., Hassan, S. F., Atieh, M. A., Rahman, F., Laoui, T., Karnik, R. and E. N. Wang, “Nanostructured Materials for Water Desalination,” Nanotechnology, 22, 292001, July 2011.
  • Sen, Y.-H., Jain, T., Aguilar, C. A. and R. Karnik, “Enhanced Discrimination of DNA Molecules in Nanofluidic Channels Through Multiple Measurements,” Lab on a Chip, 12, 1094-1101 March 2012.
  • Duan, C., Karnik, R., Lu, M. and A. Majumdar, “Evaporation-induced Cavitation in Nanofluidic Channels,” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (USA), 109, 3688-3693, March 2012.
  • Choi, S., Karp, J. M. and R. Karnik, “Cell Sorting by Deterministic Cell Rolling,” Lab on a Chip, 12, 1427-1430, April 2012.
  • Lee, J., Rahman, F., Laoui, T. and R. Karnik, “Bubble-induced Damping in Displacement-driven Microfluidic Flows,” Physical Review E, 86, 026301, August 2012.
  • Wang, E. N. and R. Karnik, “Water Desalination: Graphene Cleans up Water,” Nature Nanotechnology 7, 552-554, September 2012.
  • Valencia, P. M., Farokhzad, O. C., Karnik, R. and R. Langer, “Microfluidic Technologies for Accelerating the Clinical Translation of Nanoparticles,” Nature Nanotechnology, 7, 623-629, October 2012.
  • O’Hern, S. C., Stewart, C. A., Boutilier, M. S. H., Idrobo, J.-C., Bhaviripudi, S., Das, S. K., Kong, J., Laoui, T., Atieh, M. and R. Karnik, “Selective Molecular Transport through Intrinsic Defects in a Single Layer of CVD Graphene,” ACS Nano, 6, 10130-10138, November 2012.
  • Zhao, W., Cui, C. H., Bose, S, Guo, D., Shen, C., Wong, W. P., Halvorsen, K., Farokhzad, O. C., Teo, G. S. L., Philips, J., Dorfman, D. M., Karnik, R. and J. M. Karp, “A Bioinspired Multivalent DNA Network for Capture and Release of Cells,” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (USA), 109, 19626-19631, November 2012.
  • Cartas-Ayala, M. A., Raafat, M. and R. Karnik, “Self-sorting of Deformable Particles in an Asynchronous Logic Microfluidic Circuit,” Small, 9, 375-381, February 2013.
  • Jain, T., Guerrero, R. S., Aguilar, C. A. and R. Karnik, “Integration of Solid-State Nanopores in Microfluidic Networks via Transfer Printing of Suspended Membranes,” Analytical Chemistry, 85, 3871-3878, April 2013.
  • Bose, S., Singh, R., Hanewich-Hollatz, M., Shen, C., Lee, C.-H., Dorfman, D. M., Karp, J. M. and R. Karnik, “Affinity Flow Fractionation of Cells via Transient Interactions with Asymmetric Molecular Patterns,” Scientific Reports 3, 2329, July 2013.
  • Valencia, P. M., Pridgen, E. M., Rhee, M., Langer, R., Farokhzad, O. C. and R. Karnik, “Microfluidic Platform for Combinatorial Synthesis and Optimization of Targeted Nanoparticles for Cancer Therapy,” ACS Nano 7, 10671-10680, December 2013.
  • Choi, S., Levy, O., Coelho, M. B., Cabral, J. M. S., Karp, J. M. and R. Karnik, “A Cell Rolling Cytometer Reveals the Correlation between Mesenchymal Stem Cell Dynamic Adhesion and Differentiation State,” Lab on a Chip 14, 161-166, January 2014.
  • Sun, C., Boutilier, M. S. H., Au, H., Poesio, P., Bai, B., Karnik, R. and N. G. Hadjiconstantinou, “Mechanisms of Molecular Permeation through Nanoporous Graphene Membranes,” Langmuir 30, 675-682, January 2014.
  • Boutilier, M. S. H., Sun, C., O’Hern, S. C., Au, H., Hadjiconstantinou, N. G. and R. Karnik, “Implications of Permeation through Intrinsic Defects in Graphene on the Design of Defect-Tolerant Membranes for Gas Separation,” ACS Nano 8, 841-849, January 2014.
  • Boutilier, M. S. H., Lee, J., Chambers, V., Venkatesh, V. and R. Karnik, “Water Filtration Using Plant Xylem,” PLoS ONE 9, e89934, February 2014.
  • O’Hern, S. C., Boutilier, M. S. H., Idrobo, J. C., Song, Y., Kong, J., Laoui, T., Atieh, M. A. and R. Karnik, “Selective Ionic Transport through Tunable Sub-Nanometer Pores in Single-Layer Graphene Membranes,” Nano Letters  14, 1234-1241, March 2014.
  • Lee, J., Laoui, T. and R. Karnik, “Nanofluidic Transport Governed by the Liquid/Vapour Interface,” Nature Nanotechnology 9, 317-323, April 2014.
  • Lim, J. M., Swami A., Gilson L. M., Chopra S., Choi S., Wu J., Langer R., Karnik R. and O. C. Farokhzad, “Ultra-high Throughput Synthesis of Nanoparticles with Homogeneous Size Distribution Using a Coaxial Turbulent Jet Mixer,” ACS Nano 8, 6056-6065, June 2014.
  • Karnik, R. N., “Breakthrough for protons,” Nature 516, 173-175, December 2014.


  • Patent #7,898,005- "Inorganic Nanotubes and Devices Fabricated Therefrom", Yang, P., Majumdar, A., Fan, R., Karnik, R., March 1, 2011.
  • Patent #8,652,332- "Liquid Filtration Using Pressure Difference Across a Hydrophobic Membrane", Karnik, R., Lee, J., February 18, 2014.
  • (Patented, awaiting issuance) US Pub. US2010/0304485- "Cell Rolling Separation", Karnik, R., Hong, S., Mei, Y., Anderson, D., Bose, S., Karp, J.M., Langer, R.