475478 Dynamic Properties of Interfaces in Soft Matter
The dynamic properties of soft materials are central to a wide range of engineering and biomedical applications. While the synthesis and structural characterization of soft materials have come a long way, there are still many big gaps in both our fundamental understanding and practical applications of soft materials, especially in the realms of quantification of intermolecular forces, transitions between different length scales, and dynamics (non-equilibrium, time- and rate-dependent physical and engineering properties). The knowledge filling these gaps will allow rational design of functional soft matter interfaces, and has profound implications across a wide range of disciplines, including colloidal and interface science, biomaterials and bioengineering, polymer chemistry and physics, and nanotechnology.
The overall goal of my research is to understand the connection between a soft material system’s molecular architecture and interactions, and its dynamic surface properties. The research aims at:
(1) understanding the physical laws that govern the structure, dynamics, and cooperative behavior of soft materials at different time and length scales;
(2) developing and characterizing advanced soft materials and surfaces with novel physical and chemical properties through molecular design and chemical synthesis.
These goals will be pursued and achieved by establishing the physiochemical interactions of soft matter molecules at interfaces through novel chemical synthesis, sensitive surface forces measurements, state-of-the-art scattering techniques, and theoretical calculations and modeling. The proposed research is interdisciplinary and collaborative, and easily integrated with other major chemical engineering research areas, such as synthesis, rheology, interfacial/colloidal science, polymer science, and biomaterials. Specific interests include (1) bio-inspired adhesives, (2) structure and functionality of polyelectrolyte brushes, and (3) supramolecular cyclic peptides for biomedical applications;.
I received my PhD in Chemical Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara in December 2012, under the supervision of Prof. Jacob Israelachvili. I am currently a postdoctoral associate, working with Prof. Mathew Tirrell in the Institute for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory.
I look forward to teaching and developing courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level. During my PhD at UCSB, I was the teaching assistant (TA) for graduate-level Advanced Theoretical Methods in Engineering, and undergraduate-level Heat Transfer, Thermal Dynamics, and Biomaterials & Biosurfaces courses. Additionally, I mentored 4 undergraduate students in the Summer Intern programs at UCSB and Caltech. Through my TA experiences and summer intern mentorships, I have learned that the interaction between an instructor and a student is essential to keep the student motivated in the subject matter. Therefore I will create an interactive classroom where the students are encouraged to ask questions. I would also encourage students to meet with me periodically to discuss their progress in the class and the subjects they plan to further explore.
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