Research Interests

  • Antibacterial materials
  • Antifouling materials
  • Engineered living materials
  • Green chemistry
  • Materials science and engineering
  • Renewable polymers

Research Mission

The Schiffman 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.

Our Values

The Schiffman Lab is committed to maintaining a safe and inclusive environment for everyone, regardless of race, age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical ability, or mental ability, religion, nationality, or socio-economic status.

In this lab we put humans first. We stand against hate. We believe in communication, professionalism, and lifelong learning about antiracism.

we believe (1)

In this lab, we believe: science is real (microscope image), trans rights are human rights (transgender flag) love is love (rainbow anatomical heart), black lives matter (brown raised fist), biopolymers are cool (chitosan crab shell), feminism is for everyone (female symbol), research is global (globe), immigrants are welcome (statue of liberty).

This poster is meant to show that racial justice and support for marginalized communities cannot be separated from the practice of science. We must actively work to recognize the obstacles that scientists (and potential scientists) from marginalized communities face, and dismantle structures of power that prevent them from succeeding. We must also consider the effects of our research and research choices on marginalized communities. This “We Believe” image is modified from one made available at