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Research Groups

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Faculty Research Groups by Foci

Biomolecular Engineering

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Alabi Research Group

The Alabi Lab facilitates the development and translation of nanoparticle therapeutics by elucidating the underlying principles that dictate their macromolecular interactions and transport in complex biological environments. Two major themes are the development of a multiparametric characterization tool that enables functional analysis of the nanoparticle surface composition and the design of molecular/polymeric conjugates that can aid our understanding of intracellular trafficking pathways and facilitate intracellular transport from endocytic vesicles to the desired intracellular target location.

Daniel Research Group

The Daniel Lab is primarily interested in understanding the roles of membrane lipids and protein-lipid interactions on biological function. Research within this area can be divided into two or more specific themes: (1) the study of host-pathogen interactions, and in particular, the virus infection process, and (2) the investigation or cell membrane organization and the identification of critical lipid-protein interactions necessary for biological function. 

DeLisa Research Group

DeLisa Lab engineers the protein machinery of simple bacteria for solving complex problems in biology and medicine. They focus on the molecular machines of protein biosynthesis as both a target for understanding and reprogramming cellular function and as a toolbox for the creation of therapeutically and industrially relevant molecules.

Paszek Research Group

The Paszek Lab engineers cellular glycans as an advanced approach to cellular engineering. A primary goal of the lab is to build the infrastructure - custom-tailored experimental tools and computational models - necessary to propel the early stages of biophysical inquiry in glycoscience. These tools are being applied to develop a fundamental understanding of the biophysical functions of glycans in cell-cell communication, cell motility, and tissue morphogenesis. 

Putnam Research Group

The Putnam Group, in collaboration with Prof. DeLisa, has engineered bacteria to create and stabilize new vaccines. The stabilizing technology based on bacterial outer membrane vesicles, or OMVs, and a protein called CLyA. Using this technology, the investigators have created a new vaccine candidates using proteins that normally poorly antigenic. 

Stroock Research Group

The Stroock Group studies mechanisms for manipulating liquids by plants and their applications. They are also investigating the fundamental properties of liquid water at negative pressure. In addition, Stroock's group is interested in understanding the biophysical processes that control vascular development and applications of these processes in tissue engineering. 

Varner Research Group

Varner Lab studies metabolic and signal transduction pathways that are important in technology and human health, using experimental and computational tools. They focus on new technologies for the production of complex therapeutic proteins, pathways associated with trauma, and pathways involved with a variety of human cancers. They work with diverse partners from academics, industry, government, and clinical practice. 

Complex Fluids and Polymers

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Archer Research Group

Archer Group's research is rooted in nanoscale materials, investigating how these materials behave at the fundamental level, as well as applying them to electrochemical energy storage (batteries). The materials studies most extensively are called Nanoscale Organic Hybrid Materials (NOHMs), which are created by attaching polymers to the surfaces of nanoparticles. 

Daniel Research Group

The Daniel group is interested in dynamics of liquid drops in contact with chemically-patterned solid surfaces. They are interested in understanding the fundamental interfacial behaviors of wetting, adhesion, and contact angle hysteresis on the transport of liquids on solid surfaces. Some applications include digital fluidic devices, bacteria micro-culture systems, and high resolution printing. 

Escobedo Research Group

The Escobedo Research Group is at the forefront of contributors to novel methods for the simulation of both thermodynamic data (like free-energies and microstructure) and kinetic information (like transition mechanisms and rate constants) from molecular-level models of complex materials. Their current interests center on establishing structure-property relationships for polymeric and colloidal materials. The ultimate goal of generating such new fundamental knowledge is to improve the engineering of materials of desirable or "super" properties that originate in the creation of special types of structural order or the control of phase transitions. 

Joo Research Group

Joo Group research focuses on the integration of molecular details into a macroscopic level in polymeric materials processing. Areas of current interest include the microstructural rheology and processing of complex fluids, the formation of nanostructures in nanofibers, and the occurrence of viscoelastic instabilities in polymer flows. Their research has laid the foundation for experimental and theoretical studies on advanced, scalable manufacturing processes based on the flow instability such as gas-assisted electrospinning and Taylor-Couette (T-C) reactors with axial flow. Incorporation of high loading of inorganic precursors into water-soluble polymers in gas-assisted electrospinning gave rise to cost-effective, facile production of metallic and ceramic nanofibers. 

Koch Research Group

The Koch group studies the rheology and average transport processes in particle suspensions, porous media, and micro- and nano-structured materials. Some examples of studies focused on materials and their properties are: particle-filled polymeric materials, solvent-free nanoparticle fluids, aggregation processes in colloids and aerosols. 

Olbricht Research Group

The Olbricht Group research involves the application of fluid mechanics and mass transfer to problems of biological, biomedical and industrial interest. The group focuses on fundamentals that are relevant to broad classes of problems and also on technology development for specific applications. A recent example is convection-enhanced drug delivery, which is a novel method of delivering therapeutics to the brain for a variety of disorders, including some primary brain tumors. They are also interested in the motion of blood cells in the microcirculation, which affects oxygen and nutrient transport to tissue. 

Steen Research Group

The Steen Group has solved a Schrödinger-like equation for the behavior of drops on solid surfaces to reveal the 'walking instability' of liquid sessile drops among other motions. According to this instability, the energy stored in the liquid shape can be converted into the energy of liquid motion representing a heretofore unknown pathway of energy conversion of potentially vast significance. To the extent that droplets on solid surfaces are found throughout our world, understanding and organizing their behaviors can serve many purposes including appreciating how nature works, engineering superior manufacturing processes and solving pressing energy challenges. 

Computational Science and Engineering

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Escobedo Research Group

The Escobedo Research Group is at the forefront of contributors to novel methods for simulation of both thermodynamic data (like free-energies and microstructure) and kinetic information (like transition mechanisms and rate constants) from molecular-level models of complex materials. Current interests center on establishing structure-property relationships for polymeric and colloidal materials. The ultimate goal of generating such new fundamental knowledge is to improve the engineering of materials of desirable or "super" properties that originate in the creation of special types of structural order or the control of phase transitions. 

Joo Research Group

Joo Group focuses on the integration of continuum analysis with molecular details in polymeric materials processing. Areas of current interest include the microstructural rheology and processing of complex fluids, the formation of nanostructures in nanofibers, and the occurrence of viscoelastic instabilities in polymer flows. In particular, comprehensive mesoscale and simulation studies on the dynamics of confined assembly of block copolymer/nanoscale filler systems have led to ceramic and metallic nanofibers with tailored nanostructures such as ordered mesopores, which are being used in reaction studies in various catalyst and energy storage devices. 

Koch Research Group

The Koch Group studies the rheology and average transport processes in particle suspensions, porous media, micro- and nano-structured materials. Some examples of where they have used simulation to carry out these studies include: particle-filled polymeric materials, solvent-free nanoparticle fluids, aggregation processes in colloids and aerosols, non-continuum gas flows and reactions, collective behavior of swimming micro-organisms, convective heat and mass transfer in particulate systems, two-way coupling in particle-laden turbulent gas flows, geologic sequestration of carbon dioxide, and geothermal energy extraction. 

Varner Research Group

Varner Lab studies metabolic and signal transduction pathways that are important in technology and human health using experimental and computational tools. They focus on new technologies for the production of complex therapeutic proteins, pathways associated with trauma, and pathways involved with a variety of human cancers. They work with diverse partners from academics, industry, government, and clinical practice. 

You Research Group

You Group research lies at the interface between chemical engineering and operations research. Focusing specifically on the development of advanced computational models, optimization algorithms, and systems analysis tools for practically important and fundamental problems in process engineering/ manufacturing, energy systems and sustainability. They seeks to provide a balance between theory, computation and real world applications through his synergistic research that includes both fundamentals and applications. 

Nanoscale Electronics, Photonics and Materials Processing

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Archer Research Group

The Archer Group’s research is rooted in nanoscale materials. We investigate how these materials behave at the fundamental level, as well as apply them to electrochemical energy storage (batteries). The materials we study most extensively are called Nanoscale Organic Hybrid Materials (NOHMs), which are created by attaching polymers to the surfaces of nanoparticles. Depending on the specific polymer and nanoparticle core used, NOHMs can be made to behave like a runny gel, a wax, or anything in between. If an ionic polymer is used, the NOHMs can serve as an effective electrolyte for batteries.

Engstrom Research Group

The Engstrom Research Group seeks to understand the behavior of surfaces and interfaces as they relate to a broad spectrum of technologies: from the fabrication of modern microelectronic devices, to materials with applications in lightweight and flexible displays, to solar cells incorporating nanocrystals.

Escobedo Research Group

Escobedo's group research is centered on the development and application of simulation and modeling methods to elucidate the connection between microscopic structure and macroscopic properties of polymeric and colloidal materials. The ultimate goal of generating such new fundamental knowledge is to improve the engineering of materials of desirable or "super" properties that originate in the creation of special types of structural order or the control of phase transitions.

Hanrath Research Group

Research in the Hanrath Energy Lab (HELios) focuses on understanding processing–structure–property relationships of nanostructured materials. We strive to couple insights from fundamental studies to design and create novel materials that exhibit electronic and optical unprecedented in ordinary materials. Beyond the scientific quest for a deeper understanding of nanomaterial properties, our work is inspired by the broad  technological potential these materials have to enable advances in next-generation energy technologies.  

Joo Research Group

Research in the Joo Group focuses on the integration of molecular details into a macroscopic level in polymeric materials processing. Areas of current interest include the microstructural rheology and processing of complex fluids, the formation of nanostructures in nanofibers, and the occurrence of viscoelastic instabilities in polymer flows. Joo Group has laid the new foundation for experimental and theoretical studies on advanced, scalable manufacturing processes based on the flow instability such as gas-assisted electrospinning and Taylor-Couette (T-C) reactors with axial flow. Incorporation of high loading of inorganic precursors into water-soluble polymers in gas-assisted electrospinning gave rise to cost-effective, facile production of metallic and ceramic nanofibers.

Koch Research Group 

The Koch group studies the rheology and average transport in particle suspensions, porous media, micro- and nano-structured materials. Some examples of studies focused on materials and their properties are: particle-filled polymeric materials, solvent-free nanoparticle fluids, and aggregation processes in colloids and aerosols. 

Steen Research Group

Paul Steen is an expert in the stability of liquid/ gas interfaces, flows driven by capillary action, and fluid dynamics of planar flow spin casting. In particular, his group studies heat flow in planar-flow spin casting, a process by which molten metals are rapidly solidified into thin sheets; of importance in the manufacturing of new metallic glassy materials for application in ultra-efficient solid-state energy conversion devices.

Stroock Research Group

The Stroock lab focuses on manipulating dynamics and chemical processes on micrometer scales. Current efforts in the lab related to materials are: (1) the study and application of mechanisms for manipulating liquids inspired by plants, (2) fundamental studies in the properties of liquid water at negative pressure, (3) studies of the biophysical processes that control vascular development and applications of these processes in tissue engineering, and (4) theoretical, numerical, and experimental studies of fluid mechanical processes on small scales for chemical process. 

Sustainable Energy Systems

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Archer Research Group

Archer Group focuses on electrokinetics, electodeposition, and transport analysis in electrolytes and at electrochemical interfaces; synthesis, materials physics, and electrochemical analysis of nanoscale organic-inorganic hybrid materials (NOHMs) for solid-state battery electrolytes.

Engstrom Research Group

Engstrom Group research focuses in three areas: controlling thing film nucleation in nanoscale electronics using techniques such as atomic layer deposition; organic thin film electronics using in situ real time X-ray synchrotron radiation; and modification and processing of inorganic nanocrystalline materials.

Hanrath Research Group

The Hanrath Group's research efforts focus on the fundamental study of optoelectronic properties of semiconductor nanocrystals. This work is inspired by the potential application of these materials in solar energy conversion and energy storage devices. The semiconductor nanocrystals used in this work provide a diverse set of building blocks whose electronic and optical properties differ from their bulk counterparts due to the spatial wavefunction confinement. 

Joo Research Group

The Joo Group has laid a foundation for the utilization of water-based, gas-assisted electrospinning in the development of nanomaterials for energy storage devices. Their current research focuses on (1) Si-rich carbon nanofibers for Li-ion battery anodes, (2) Nanocomposite nanofibers for LIB separators, and (3) Metal oxide nanofibers for Li-air battery cathodes. 

Koch Research Group 

The Koch Group is known for contributions to rheology and average transport processes in particle suspensions, porous media, micro- and nano-structured materials, particle-filled polymeric materials and solvent-free nanoparticle fluids. The group studies geologic sequestration of carbon dioxide, geothermal energy extraction, and transport processes in batteries. 

Steen Research Group

Paul Steen is an expert in the stability of liquid/gas interfaces, flows driven by capillary action, and fluid dynamics of planar flow spin casting. In particular, his group studies heat flow in planar-flow spin casting, a process by which molten metals are rapidly solidified into thin sheets. This process is important in the manufacturing of new metallic glassy materials for application in ultra-efficient solid-state energy conversion devices. 

Stroock Research Group

The Stroock Group focuses on manipulating dynamics and chemical processes on micrometer scales. Current efforts in the lab related to sustainable energy include the study and application of mechanisms for manipulating liquids inspired by plants and investigating the fundamental studies of the properties of liquid water at negative pressure. 

Tester Research Group

Tester Lab focuses on three areas: (1) Energy/ Resource Related Problems, such as heat mining processes for geothermal energy extraction and gas hydrates for methane recovery; (2) Environmental, related to destruction of hazardous chemicals in supercritical water, aquifer contamination from migration of wastes, and carbon dioxide capture and sequestration; and (3) Applied Thermodynamics and Kinetics, as in chemical kinetics in supercritical fluids, molecular simulations of condensed matter, properties of aqueous organic and electrolyte mixtures at high temperatures and pressures, and rock-water interactions in hydrothermal environments. 

You Research Group

You Group focuses on process, energy, and environmental systems engineering. Particular research interests lie in (1) Sustainable design and synthesis of energy systems, including biofuels processes, photovoltaics, carbon capture and separation, and shale gas, (2) Systems analysis, modeling and optimization for the water-energy nexus, (3) Sustainable manufacturing, sustainable operations (planning and scheduling) and control of advanced manufacturing systems, (4) Life cycle analysis and optimization of energy, environmental and economic systems, (5) Enterprise-wide supply chain and inventory optimization under uncertainty, and (6) Sustainability analysis of nanotechnology and advanced materials.