Materials Chemistry

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  • Teddy Asefa
  • Professor
  • Research Synopsis: Materials chemistry; nanoscience and nanotechnology; inorganic chemistry; nanobiomaterials
  • tasefa@chem.rutgers.edu
  • Phone: (848) 445-2970

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  • John Brennan
  • Professor and Chair
  • Research Synopsis: Molecular and solid-state inorganic chemistry, thin films and nanometer-sized clusters
  • brennan@chem.rutgers.edu
  • Phone: (848) 445-5677

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  • Eric Garfunkel
  • Distinguished Professor
  • Research Synopsis: Nanoscience and technology, nanoelectronics, surface and interface science, materials for alternative energy, nanowires, catalysis, sensors, organic electronics, nanotoxicology
  • egarf@rutgers.edu
  • Phone: (848) 445-2747

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  • Martha Greenblatt
  • Distinguished Professor / Board of Governors Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology
  • Research Synopsis: Solid-State Chemistry: correlated electronic low-dimensional transition metal oxides and chalcogenides, superconductors, ionic conductors, catalysts for water oxidation
  • greenbla@chem.rutgers.edu
  • Phone: (848) 445-3277

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  • Yuwei Gu
  • Assistant Professor
  • Research Synopsis: Leveraging organic/polymer synthesis and biomacromolecular engineering to design and synthesize macromolecular systems that possess characteristics conventionally unique to proteins.
  • Phone: (848) 445-7030

Group Website 

 

Research

Macromolecular Biomimicry

It is difficult to imagine human society without polymers—from biomacromolecules that form the basics of life, to synthetic polymers that have revolutionized our daily life since their inception in the late 19th century. While biomacromolecules seem to possess a greater level of functional complexity compared to synthetic polymers, they share similar macromolecular features and their behaviors are thus governed by the same sets of rules in polymer physics.

As our generation of polymer scientists are tasked to develop superior polymeric materials to meet the rapidly increasing demands of new applications, the Gu Lab seeks to explore the upper limit of the level of complexity that can be achieved in synthetic macromolecular systems. By applying a unified view on molecules—of any forms—that have macromolecular origins, we combine organic/polymer synthesis, biomacromolecular engineering, and polymer physics to design and synthesize macromolecular systems/materials that possess life-like features. Through this approach that we termed as macromolecular biomimicry, we aim to gain new knowledge about polymers and living matter, and more importantly, to develop macromolecular systems that mimic, interface, and even surpass those found in biological systems, ultimately providing new solutions to challenges associated with biotechnology, healthcare, sustainability, and autonomous materials.

In the current stage, we are interested in but are not limited to the following three research questions:

1. Synthetic polymers: How can we design synthetic polymers to achieve biomacromolecule-like functions?

2. Biomacromolecules: How can we use synthetic chemistry to empower biomacromolecules with new functions?

3. Soft matters: At the material level, how can we achieve organic materials that mimic or even surpass the complexity of biological systems?

We always welcome curious, motivated, and collaborative graduate/undergraduate students and postdoctoral researchers to join us. More details about our research can be found on our group website: gupolylab.com

Selected Publications

Gu, Y.; Distler, M. E.; Cheng, H. F.; Huang, C.; Mirkin, C. A., “A general DNA-gated hydrogel strategy for selective transport of chemical and biological cargos”, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2021, 143, 17200-17208.

Gu, Y.†; Zhao, J.†; Johnson, J. A., “Polymer networks: from plastics and gels to porous frameworks”, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2020, 132, 5054-5085.

Gu, Y.†; Huang, M.†; Zhang, W.†; Pearson, M. A.; Johnson, J. A., “PolyMOF nanoparticles: dual roles of a multivalent polyMOF ligand in size control and surface functionalization”, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2019, 58, 16676-16681.

Gu, Y.†; Zhao, J.†; Johnson, J. A., “A (macro)molecular-level understanding of polymer network topology”, Trends Chem. 2019, 1, 318-334.

Gu, Y.; Schauenburg, D.; Bode, J. W.; Johnson, J. A., “Leaving groups as traceless topological modifiers for the synthesis of topologically isomeric polymer networks”, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2018, 140, 14033-14037.

Gu, Y.; Alt, E. A.; Wang, H.; Li, X.; Willard, A. P.; Johnson, J. A., “Photoswitching topology in polymer networks with metal–organic cages as crosslinks”, Nature 2018, 560, 65-69.

Gu, Y.; Kawamoto, K.; Zhong, M.; Chen, M.; Hore, M. J.A.; Jordan, A. M.; Korley, L. T.J.; Olsen, B. D.; Johnson, J. A., “Semibatch monomer addition as a general method to tune and enhance the mechanics of polymer networks via loop-defect control”, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2017, 114, 4875-4880.

Chen, M.†; Gu, Y.†; Singh, A.; Zhong, M.; Jordan, A. M.; Biswas, S.; Korley, L. T.J.; Balazs, A. C.; Johnson, J. A., “Living additive manufacturing: transformation of parent gels into diversely functionalized daughter gels made possible by visible light photoredox catalysis”, ACS Cent. Sci. 2017, 3, 124-134.

People Page

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  • Jane Hinch
  • Associate Professor
  • Research Synopsis: Molecular beam-surface interactions, surface diffractive techniques
  • jhinch@rutgers.edu
  • Phone: (848) 445-0663

 

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  • Ki-Bum Lee
  • Distinguished Professor
  • Research Synopsis: Develop and integrate nanotechnologies and chemical functional genomics
  • kblee@chem.rutgers.edu
  • Phone: (848) 445-2081

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  • Jing Li
  • Distinguished Professor
  • Research Synopsis: Inorganic and solid-state chemistry, hybrid semiconductors and nanostructured materials, metal-organic frameworks (MOFs)
  • jingli@chem.rutgers.edu
  • Phone: (848) 445-3758

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  • Mark Lipke
  • Assistant Professor
  • Research Synopsis: Inorganic/organometallic chemistry and catalysis using novel synthetic and mechanistic approaches derived from the fields of supramolecular chemistry, porous materials, and polymer chemistry.
  • ml1353@chem.rutgers.edu
  • Phone: (848) 445-6921

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  • Deirdre O’Carroll
  • Associate Professor
  • Research Synopsis: Our group is focused on nanoscale engineering of the efficiency and direction of light absorption and light emission in photonic devices which employ organic polymeric semiconductor ...
  • ocarroll@rutgers.edu
  • Phone: (848) 445-1496

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  • Zheng Shi
  • Assistant Professor
  • Research Synopsis: My lab combines biophysical, chemical, and optogenetic tools to study the properties of biomolecular assemblies at the cellular level.
  • zheng.shi@rutgers.edu
  • Phone: (848) 445-3246

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  • Ralf Warmuth
  • Associate Professor and Vice Chair Undergraduate Program
  • Research Synopsis: Host-guest chemistry and peptide chemistry
  • warmuth@chem.rutgers.edu
  • Phone: (848) 445-8432

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  • Jianyuan (Jason) Zhang
  • Assistant Professor
  • Research Synopsis: Using synthetic and supramolecular approaches to control metal ions and clusters and the nanoscale for functional quantum materials and biomedical applications.
  • jy.zhang@rutgers.edu
  • Phone: (848) 445-2603

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