Tejal Desai, PhD

Department Chair & Professor
Ernest L. Prien Professor
Director, Engineering Initiatives, UCSF
Phone: +1 415 514-4503
Fax: +1 415 514-9656
1700 4th Street, Rm 203C
UCSF Box 2520
San Francisco, CA 94158
United States

Joint appointments

UC Berkeley, Department of Bioengineering

Educational programs

Graduate Program in Medical Education (GEMS)
Science & Health Education Partnership (SEP)

UCSF centers, institutes, and research programs

What I do

I am a bioengineer focusing on micro and nanofabrication techniques to create new devices for drug and cell delivery as well as biomaterials for cell and tissue regeneration. I also chair the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences.

Departmental research area

My research expertise

biomedical microtechnology, biomedical nanotechnology, cell-material interactions, tissue repair and regeneration, biomimetic architectures, drug delivery, oral drug delivery, ocular drug delivery, biomaterials, nanostructured materials


PhD, Bioengineering, University of California, San Francisco, 1998
BSc, Biomedical Engineering, Brown University, 1994


Dr. Desai’s research brings together advanced micro and nanotechnologies, fundamental insight into cellular behavior in engineered environments, and novel pharmacologic delivery approaches to address disease treatment and clinical translation. Currently, her laboratory focuses on four highly interdisciplinary directions: 1. Hierarchical devices for enhanced cellular adhesion and paracellular drug transport; 2. Injectable and flexible nanoporous devices for rate-controlled long term release of therapeutics; 3. Nanostructured coatings and scaffolds for pro-healing implants and in vivo modulation of fibrosis, and 4. Cell-based delivery platforms for autoimmune disease applications. She envisions a future of precision medicine, enabled by advances in nanotechnology, engineering, and cell biology directed to clinical challenges in disease treatment. By taking advantage of our understanding of how cells respond to engineered materials and our ability to fabricate precise structural domains, her lab seeks to design new platforms to overcome existing challenges in therapeutic delivery.