Research Areas - Quick View

Faculty Research Areas
First Name Last Name Program Area of Interest
Eray Aydil EMD Our research group conducts research on synthesis, characterization and applications of materials for energy conversion and storage. Specifically, we are interested in thin films and nanostructured materials with specific electronic and optical properties suitable for solar cells, transparent conductors, batteries and photocatalysis. 
Frank  Bates MP Program addresses fundamental and technologically relevant topics dealing with the design and controlled synthesis, structure, rheological and mechanical properties of synthetic polymers, including block polymers and blends, in the melt and solutions states.
David Blank FEP Focused on understanding themprinciples that govern exciton relaxation, exciton transport (energy transfer), and charge transfer in model  organic systems in solution and in thin films. We employ time resolved non-linear spectroscopic techniques, and include two-dimensional electronic spectroscopy and ultrafast time-resolved Raman spectroscopy. 
Marcio Carvalho CPF Fluid mechanics, rheology, transport phenomena, drying.
Stephen Campbell EMD Device fabrication and characterization; ALD
Paul Crowell EMD Spin transport and dynamics in solids, including the integration of magnetic materials with semiconductors as well as the effects of interfaces on spin-dependent processes. Development of customized techniques to address these problems including time-resolved microscopy and microwave measurements.
Mark  Distefano BB Research in the Distefano group focuses on enzymes that employ isoprenoid diphosphates as substrates using a combination of organic chemistry and biochemical techniques.  Current projects in biocatalysis revolve around the use of prenyltransferases to modify proteins in a site-specific manner for therapeutic and engineering applications.
Kevin Dorfman MP Focuses on topics in polymer physics, microfluidics and biotechnology, including modeling, confined polymers, DNA
Chris Douglas FEP  
Mikael Elias BB Molecular engineering and evolution of protein systems and enzymes. Engineering and development of biological solutions for sustainable food production (phosphate bioremediation and recycling) and bacterial specific control using optimized anti-virulence and anti-fouling enzymes.
Chris Ellison MP

Thin Film Block Copolymers for Lithography,  Graphene Elastomers, Foams and Aerogels, Nature Inspired Green Approach to Fiber Manufacturing using Thiol-ene Photopolymerization, Catechol Based Multifunctional Materials

Lorraine Francis CPF
Materials processing; coating processing; microstructure and properties; ceramics; and printed electronics.
Dan Frisbie CPF, EMD, NMP, FEP The applied aspects of Frisbie's research program include novel solution-processable semiconductors and their applications in printed electronics. In collaboration with colleague Prof. Lorraine Francis his group is developing new roll-to-roll, high precision coating and printing processes to making large area flexible circuitry, i.e., "plastic electronics", with applications in distributed sensing, displays, and e-skins, for example. More fundamental work centers on understanding electrical transport mechanisms in novel semiconductors, particularly organic semiconductors.
Wayne Gladfelter NMP Atomic layer deposition provides a valuable approach for the preparation of conformal thin films of a wide range of inorganic and mixed organic/inorganic materials. Current focus is on developing ALD methods to deposit multimetallic films where chemical selectivity can be used to control the film stoichiometry. Specific applications are for thin film photovoltaics. We are also examining the deposition mechanisms of ALD processes that use ozone as the source of oxygen in metal oxide films. 
Greg  Haugstad NMP Develop multi-technique analytical approaches: (1) Correlative methods to probe nano- to micro-scale structures (e.g., phase segregation, crystallinity); (2) variable temperature, humidity or liquid immersion analysis of soft films (synthetic or biological); (3) mechanical and tribological response (friction/wear/lubrication) via scanning probe methods.
Marc Hillmyer MP Focused on the design, synthesis, characterization, and applications of advanced macromolecular materials. Spotlight areas of research include the development of sustainable polymers from renewable resources and hybrid macromolecular structures that combine disparate polymeric elements into a single compound. Ultimately, we aim to combine contemporary polymer synthesis with detailed molecular, morphological and property characterization to expand knowledge of fundamental polymer science and advance new technologies. 
Russell Holmes



Research is primarily focused on the study of thin films organic and hybrid organic-inorganic materials. We are specifically interested in how these materials behave from a growth standpoint, the characterization of their optical and electrical properties, and their performance in optoelectronic devices such as small molecule organic solar cells.
Bharat Jalan



Research is focused on the study of electronic, magnetic and dielectric properties of complex oxide thin films and heterostructures. In particular, we employ advanced MBE technique to tailor defects and dimensionaliy to understand how these materials behaves at nanoscale for their applications in energy, communication and information technology.

Romas Kazlauskas BB Engineering proteins for new catalytic activity and for increased stability. We combine rational design, directed evolution as well as genomic data. We focus on the alpha/beta-hydrolase fold enzymes such as esterases, lipase, hydroxynitrile lyases and epoxide hydrolases. A current research area is reconstructing and characterizing ancestral enzymes.
Steve Koester



Research area in new solid-state electronic and optoelectronic device concepts including: (1) graphene quantum capacitance varactors for wireless biosensing applications, (2) silicon-based wireless radiation sensors for use in cancer therapy, (3) photonic devices made using two-dimensional materials, (4) all-spin logic, and (5) tunneling field-effect transistors for ultira-low-power logic applications.
Efie Kokkoli BPM DNA Nanotechnology, Biomolecular Engineering, Targeted Drug & Gene Delivery, Peptide Hydrogels, Biopolymers.
Uwe Kortshagen EMD Si nanoparticle based solar cells and thermoelectrics.
Satish Kumar



Our research involves integration of transport phenomena, colloid and interface science, rheology, applied and computational mathematics, and experiments to address fundamental issues in materials processing . Areas of interest include coating and printing processes, polymer processing, nanofluidics/microfluidics, and energy.
Chris Leighton EMD Electronic and magnetic materials are the focus of the Leighton group's research, covering nanostructures, films, heterostructures, and bulk crystals. Current areas include complex oxides, oxide heterostructures, spintronics, sulfide-based photovoltaics, polymer lithography, organic electronics, and electrolyte gating.
Tim Lodge MP Structure and dynamics of polymer liquids, including solutions, melts, blends, and block copolymers, with particular emphasis on self-assembling systems, using rheological, scattering, and microscopy thechniques.
Chris Macosko MP Our research focuses on using flow and chemical reactions to create new multiphase nano- and micro-structured polymeric materials.
Mahesh Mahanthappa MP Research focuses on the synthesis, microstructural characterization, physical properties, and applications of block copolymers and related surfactants derived from cheap and environmentally benign sources
Alon McCormick

Program Leader


Research in nanostructure formation and self-assembly, curing in coating processes, and use of sorption in hybrid reactors.
David Morse MP Research in our group aims to improve fundamental theoretical understanding of the properties of polymer materials and other complex fluids. We use a combination of analytic statistical mechanics, numerical solution of approximate theories, and molecular simulation. Much of our recent work has focused on: (i) self-assembled equilibrium structures of systems that contain block copolymers, (ii) effects of composition fluctuations in polymer blends and block copolymer melts, and (iii) the dynamics and rheology of liquids containing polymers with stiff backbones.
Jayanth Panyam BPM Tumor drug resistance. Currently investigating two different approaches to overcome drug resistance: Dual gene silencing and drug delivery, and combination photodynamic therapy and chemotherapy
R. Lee Penn NMP Elucidating fundamental aggregation and crystal growth mechanisms; Characterizing chemical reactivity and materials properties of natural and synthetic nanoparticles; and Designing and implementing effective curriculum to strengthen and improve middle school students’ understanding of nanotechnology and the atomic structure of solid materials.
Theresa Reineke MP Synthesis and characterization of functional polymeric materials focused in three main areas:  1) the development of polycations and characterization of their assembly with polyanions (i.e. materials for the delivery of nucleic acids); 2) the design and examination of new polymers that form higher ordered structures (i.e. excipients for small molecule drugs), and 3) the synthesis and property examination of sustainable polymers from natural product building blocks for a variety of applications.
Paul Ruden FEP  Research is directed towards the physics of novel semiconductor materials and devices. The work extends from the analysis of the properties of electronic materials and new device concepts to the development of analytical and numerical models.


BPM Engineering of biomaterials and cellular microenvironments, cell-environment interactions and biomolecular engineering and developing a platform of engineered nanomaterials that undergo in situ assembly when interacting with their targets. One application of these materials is anti-viral therapy.
Ron Siegel
BPM Drug delivery, biosensing, polymer science, hydrogels, micro- and nanofabrication, intranasal formulations, mathematical modeling.
J. Ilja Siepmann NMP We focus on understanding how molecular architecture and composition influence structure, phase behavior and function of the system of interest. The challenge of molecular simulation is the ability to make thermodynamic predictions that are both  accurate  and precise . 
Andreas Stein NMP Porous and nanostructure synthesis; polymer-clay and polymer-graphene nanocomposites; elcetrical energy storage materials; catalyst materials; and photonic crystals.
Calvin Sun BPM Our research focuses on manufacturing science of solid dosage forms, such as tablets and capsules. Formulation and process development is achieved by a clear scientific understanding of powders, including their flow and compaction properties.


BPM Current research interests are in the following areas: (1) Monitor phase transitions during the entire freeze-drying cycle using specialinstrumentation built in-house. The ultimate goal is the optimization of the freeze-drying cycles of protein pharmaceuticals. (2) Simultaneous quantification of reactant, product, and intermediate phases of very rapid reactions (time resolution of 40 msec) using high intensity X-rays. (3) Use of a microdiffractometer to map tablet surfaces and also to characterize specific regions of a powder bed (or of a tablet). (4) Identify new excipients or modify the physical state of current excipients with the object of expanding their utility in freeze-dried formulations.
Robert Tranquillo BPM Fibrin-based cardiovascular tissue engineering--fabrication and functional characterization of small diameter vascular grafts, cardiovascular valves, and myocardium, including creation of a perfusable microvascular network--all from cell remodeling of fibrin. Cell-matrix mechanical interactions and associated contact guidance.
Michael Tsapatsis CPF NMP Nanostructured materials for reaction engineering and separations. Zeolite and other molecular sieve synthesis, structure determination and performance evaluation in catalysis and purification processes. Thin film processing for membrane fabrication including polymer hollow fiber spinning and high temperature ceramic processing.
Larry Wackett BB The Wackett lab studies biotechnology related to the biocatalytic conversion of chemicals for bioremediation or synthesis. The research is focused on enzymes and uses encapsulation technology to enhance biochemical reactivity.
Ping Wang BB
Program Leader
Exploration of high performance nanostructured biocatalysts for bioproducts, functional materials,  energy, biomedical and environmental protection applications. Current research includes reduction of carbon dioxide, multifunctional smart biocatalysts, biopolymers, biofuel cells and biosensors.
Chun Wang BPM We are interested in developing polymeric biomaterials for biomedical applications including gene and drug delivery, cancer immunotherapy and vaccines, and stem cell therapy.


NMP Research deals primarily with experimental investigations of the relationships between structure, composition and function at the molecular scale in complex or self-assembling fluids using optical, electron, and scanning probe microscopies.
Kechun Zhang


Zhang lab is engineering microorganisms to biomanufacture fuels and chemicals from renewable feedstocks.  While natural biological systems involve only a limited set of metabolites, we develop new biosynthetic pathways that open up a much larger chemical space for biobased production.