My research focuses on single polymer dynamics and molecular materials, specifically on the ability to manipulate and control single molecules. My research group’s work in single polymer dynamics has revealed the fundamental features that determine the structural and functional properties of soft materials, including polymers with complex molecular architectures (combs, rings), chemically heterogeneous polymers (DNA-synthetic polymer conjugates), and pi-conjugated bio-organic materials for charge transport and energy applications. My group pioneered the development of the Stokes trap, which is a fundamentally new method to manipulate multiple molecules using only fluid flow. We recently developed an STM-BJ method for direct measurement of single molecule conductance for conjugated polymers. We also┬ádiscovered a new search mechanism for DNA-binding proteins and played a key role in the development of new fluorescent proteins for imaging under anaerobic conditions.

Awards and Achievements

  • Beckman Fellow, Center for Advanced Study, University of Illinois ( 2014)
  • Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award ( 2013)
  • Dean's Award for Excellence in Research, College of Engineering, University of Illinois ( 2013)
  • NSF CAREER Award, National Science Foundation ( 2013)
  • Arthur B. Metzner Early Career Award, Society of Rheology ( 2012)
  • U.S. Frontiers of Engineering, National Academy of Engineering ( 2012)
  • Packard Fellowship, David & Lucile Packard Foundation ( 2011)
  • Tomorrow's PI, Genome Technology magazine ( 2008)
  • List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent, University of Illinois, F'08, S'11 ( 2008)
  • NIH Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00) ( 2006)
  • Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund for Medical Research Postdoctoral Fellowship ( 2005)
  • Gerald J. Lieberman Fellowship, Stanford University ( 2003)
  • National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Fellowship ( 1999)
  • Stanford Graduate Fellow (SGF), Stanford University ( 1999)
  • University Honors, Carnegie Mellon University ( 1999)
  • Andrew Carnegie Scholar, Carnegie Mellon University ( 1998)
  • Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society ( 1998)
  • Ray and Beverly Mentzer Faculty Scholar