Our research revolves around studies of colloidal and interfacial phenomena, ranging from fundamental issues related to colloidal interactions to the application of chemically tailored interfaces in chemical and biological sensors. We have designed and synthesized surfactants that incorporate molecular triggers (redox-active and light-sensitive groups) for reversible control of surfactant-based properties of aqueous systems. We are exploring their use in separations processes, solar energy harvesting and for the delivery of biomolecules to cells. Our group is elucidating colloidal forces in liquid crystalline phases, and we have designed liquid crystalline interfaces that permit chemical and biomolecular events to be amplified into easily measured signals in sensors. A third area of contribution is related to interfacial engineering of wound beds, including characterization of the chemical functionality of wounds and management of microbial burden so as to promote wound healing. These technical interests are unified by the challenge of understanding molecules and their assemblies at interfaces.

Awards and Achievements

  • National Academy of Engineering
  • American Chemical Society Award in Colloid Science
  • Alpha Chi Sigma Award of AIChE for Chemical Engineering Research