P.C. Rossin College of
Engineering and Applied Science

Position: 
Assistant Professor
Address: 
Mountaintop Campus
Lehigh University
Iacocca Hall
111 Research Drive
Bethlehem, PA 18015

Phone Number: 
(610) 758-2012
Kelly Schultz

Areas of Research

Polymeric hydrogels
microrheology
Rheology
Colloidal gels
Cell-material interactions

Profile

Synthetic gels are being designed with unprecedented complexity from the bulk material properties down to the scaffold microstructure. This complexity grows out of the vast array of applications and high demand on gel versatility. Gels are part of everyday life from commonly used personal, fabric and home care products to exotic biomaterials designed to mimic the extracellular matrix (ECM). Rheological measurement is a critical means for characterizing and validating gelation strategies and gaining insight into their structure and properties. Quantitatively identifying dynamic scaffold structure and properties and the relation to material function is crucial in advancing the design of these materials. My research group uses rheological characterization to measure the change in material properties and scaffold structure during dynamic transitions, i.e. gel-sol and sol-gel. To accomplish this, we develop new experimental techniques, including microfluidic platforms that induce phase transitions, and analysis methods, such as methods to create spatial maps of rheological properties. This work can be leveraged to design gels with highly-engineered microstructures and properties that can be tailored throughout the phase transition.

In the laboratory we focus on the characterization of colloidal and polymeric gel scaffolds and the development of new techniques to characterize these complex systems. Our current research projects include:

  • Development and use of bi-disperse multiple particle tracking microrheology
  • Characterization of covalent adaptable hydrogels pushed out of equilibrium
  • Understanding how human mesenchymal stem cells controllably remodel their environment
  • Characterization of heterogeneous colloidal gel systems
  • Polymeric gel characterization above the overlap concentration

Education

Ph.D., University of Delaware, 2011
B.S., Northeastern University, 2006