Our laboratory uses green engineering and bioinspired design to invent next-generation materials. While some bacteria infamously cause pathogenic infections, others play positive roles such as digestion aids. It is for this reason that we specialize in making green materials that have controlled interactions with bacteria: from antibacterial (killing) to antifouling (repelling) to maintaining viable (living) cells.
Using chemistry inspired by nature, we manufacture soft materials that improve human health and the environment – from biomedical hydrogels that reduce microbial attachment to membranes that continually produce clean water to conductive wearable fabrics. The use of renewable polymers, natural oils, and polydopamine are prioritized alongside the use of biomedically-relevant polymers, like poly(ethylene glycol), polymer zwitterions, and polydimethylsiloxane. Our commitment to sustainability extends to our manufacturing processes. In our work on coacervate materials, we replace toxic solvents with water and salt, whereas in our work using additive manufacturing, we use particle spray technology to form materials without the use of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Through innovative approaches, we can reduce our dependence on petroleum-derived polymers, eliminate organic solvents during manufacturing, and offer alternative pathways to combat infections without relying on commercial antibiotics. Our research integrates materials engineering, polymer science, chemical engineering, and microbiology, fostering a collaborative environment open to partnerships with academic groups, national laboratories, and industry partners. We welcome inquiries and discussions to collectively drive positive impact and transform the future of materials for a better world.
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