Nov. 2: "Engineering Bioinspired and 'Greener' Polymer Materials"
Date: Wednesday, November 2, 2022
Time: 9:30-10:30AM
Location: Rauch Business Center, Room 241
This event features Jessica Schiffman who will talk about "Engineering Bioinspired and 'Greener' Polymer Materials", as part of the Lehigh University Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering's Fall 2022 Colloquium Seminar Series.


By re-engineering materials using bioinspired or “greener” chemistries, we can reduce or potentially eliminate toxic solvents, which would benefit the design of medical devices, water purification membranes, wearable electronics, as well as countless additional devices. In this presentation, I will discuss a few examples from laboratory’s ongoing research thrusts about the benefits of developing greener technologies. First, I will discuss the effect that the fundamental properties of polymer coatings (i.e., molecular architecture, stiffness, and thickness) have on the adhesion of bacteria under quiescent conditions. By decoupling the effects of molecular architecture, stiffness, and thickness from coating chemistry, we have unlocked specific structure-property relationships that can be tailored to control the initial stage of bacterial adhesion. By understanding how materials properties influence bacterial adhesion, we may be able to decrease the concentration of commercial antibiotics needed to combat microbial biofilms. As an example of our work on engineering greener water separation membranes, I will illustrate how bioinspired approaches can be used to enhance the fouling resistance properties of ultrafiltration membranes. I will provide an overview of our recent exploration into how pitcher plant inspired immobilized liquids can dramatically increase the fouling resistance of membranes that have consistent flux over at least ten cycles of operation. Other examples will be provided if time allows. The overall goal of this talk is to highlight some of our recent findings and how these results can guide the green engineering of multifunctional materials.

About the Speaker

Dr. Jessica D. Schiffman is a Full Professor of Chemical Engineering and the Gary R. Lapidus Professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She holds B.S., M.Eng., and Ph.D. degrees in Materials Science and Engineering from Rutgers University, Cornell University, and Drexel University, respectively. Afterward, she was a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering at Yale University. Currently, Dr. Schiffman directs an interdisciplinary and imaginative research group that invents polymer-based materials that address grand challenges in human health, the environment, and industry by combining concepts and tools from chemical engineering, nanotechnology, and microbiology. Among many other honors, Dr. Schiffman was named an Influential Researcher by Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research and was awarded the American Chemical Society Applied Materials & Interfaces Young Investigator Award. She was recently appointed the inaugural Deputy Editor of the new peer-reviewed journal ACS Applied Engineering Materials. In recognition of her dedication to mentoring and teaching, Schiffman was awarded the UMass campus-wide Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award and the ADVANCE Faculty Mentor Award, as well as the College of Engineering’s Outstanding Teaching Award and the Outstanding Junior Faculty Award. Dr. Schiffman served as the Interim Department Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering during the 2021-2022 academic year and prior to that, as the Associate Department Head from 2020-2021.

Jessica Schiffman, Professor of Chemical Engineering and the Gary R. Lapidus Professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst