Faculty Research Areas

Research in our department cuts across the different length and time scales and domains to address grand challenges in energy, health, environment, and sustainability. Our research can be categorized into the following areas.
Biomolecular Science and Engineering
Our faculty - Blocher McTigueBrown, Hsu, Jagota, Kothare - work on (1) biologically inspired therapeutics, (2) antibiotic alternatives, (3) biomaterials, (4) cell scaffolding & tissue engineering, (5) model-based/data-driven control of biomedical devices, and (6) thermostable therapeutics and biomimetic environments
Energy and the Environment; Polymer sustainability, recycling, and circularity
Baltrusaitis, Caram, GartnerMcIntosh, Rangarajan, Reichmanis, Snyder, and Wachs work on (1) natural gas and biomass upgrading, (2) CO2 capture, (3) environmental catalysis, (4) fuel cells & electrocatalysis, (5) solar cells, photovoltaics & photochemistry, (6) batteries, (7) organic semiconductors, (8) membrane-based separations, (9) sustainable processes at the food-energy-water nexus, and (10) particle technologies
Functional Materials and Nanotechnology
Research in this area by Chaudhury, GartnerGilchrist, McIntosh, Reichmanis, and Snyder includes (1) hierarchical nanoporous materials, (2) modified surfaces for adhesion, friction, wetting, and biocompatibility, (3) field-driven colloidal assemblies, (4) organic/inorganic/hybrid thin films, (5) solid state and condensed phase electrochemistry, (6) conjugated polymer design and synthesis, (7)  quantum dots, and (8) design of novel catalysts
Colloids, Emulsions, and Interfacial Science
Research in this area by Blocher McTigueBrown, Chaudhury, GartnerGilchrist, Jagota, and Wachs includes (1) operando spectrokinetic characterization of reactive surfaces, (2) biological interfaces in disease, (3) drop fluidics, bio-nano interfaces, (4) molecular simulations, (5) fracture and tribology of polymeric interfaces, (6) biofouling, (7) pattern formation, (8) polymer self-assembly and charged species sequestration
Computations, Systems, and Machine Learning; Machine learning-enhanced molecular simulations
Topics of active research by Baltrusaitis, GartnerJagota, Kothare, Luyben, and Rangarajan include (1) artificial intelligence for chemical and biological systems, (2) modeling complex reaction networks, (3) computational heterogeneous catalysis, (4) coarse-grained modeling of molecular systems, (5) automation and control of emerging processes and new devices, (6) process systems design, and (7) technoeconomics and life cycle analysis