The MONET Team

Our team comprises leading senior investigators from across the country, globe, and traditional subfields of chemistry, working together to transform our molecular understanding of polymer networks. We are united by a commitment to high impact through collaboration, broadening the impact of our research through integrated outreach to industry and the public, and inclusive and supportive recruitment, advising and mentoring.

Luis Campos
Senior Investigator
Columbia University 

Luis Campos explores molecular, macromolecular, and nanostructured materials for the development of advanced functional systems.  In the Center, his expertise in the synthesis, characterization, and spectroscopy of photoactive molecules fuels the design and application of photoresponsive network junctions, with an emphasis on investigating dynamic responses and tunable mechanical properties through photoactivation by low-energy, near-infrared light.

Stephen Craig
Senior Investigator, Director
Duke University 

Steve Craig is an expert in using single molecule force spectroscopy of synthetic polymers to characterize the full extensional behavior of individual polymer strands. He has developed synthetic polymers with record single-molecule extensibility and toughness enabled through covalent mechanochemistry, and established principles through which those properties can be tuned as a mechanistic probe in the proposed Center activities.

 Jian Ping Gong
International Collaborator and Unfunded Senior Investigator
Hokkaido University

Jian Ping Gong is a world leader in developing impressive new bulk materials through polymer networks that employ ionic complexation and double network architectures. Her polymer networks employ molecular structures whose properties extrapolate to the bulk, and their design and synthesis is informed by insightful physical models that can be used to guide chemistry.  She is the Director of the Global Station for Soft Matter, GI-CoRE, Hokkaido University, which provides an important and enabling international partnership for MONET.

Jeremiah A. Johnson
Senior Investigator
MIT

Jeremiah Johnson has created iterative exponential growth (IEG) chemistry that can be implemented in either flow or batch mode to provide access to perfectly monodisperse polymer strands of precise sequence for Center research projects. He is an expert in polymer network synthesis, and has developed network disassembly spectroscopy (NDS), a revolutionary technique provides a quantitative measure of molecular scale defects (primary and secondary loops; dangling ends) in polymer networks. His new polyMOCs and polyMOFs provide unprecedented control of junction valency in responsive networks.

Julia Kalow
Senior Investigator
Northwestern

Julia Kalow is developing synthetic strategies for translating molecular structure and reactivity into macroscopic properties, including photochemically gated junctions that allow spatiotemporal control of junction dynamics throughout a network – transient regions of fast/slow exchange dynamics that operate on length scales much longer than those accessible in the polyMOCs. Her synthetic expertise and insights give access to high extension strand behavior that is controlled by stereoelectronic effects.

Rebekka Klausen
Senior Investigator
Johns Hopkins

Rebekka Klausen designs and synthesizes novel molecular building blocks to construct exciting nanoscale materials.  Her groundbreaking work on the synthesis and characterization of silane building block and polymer modification enable us to study with new levels of precision how polymer conformations and bond deformations impact polymer network properties.

Heather Kulik
Senior Investigator
MIT

Heather Kulik leverages computational modeling to aid the discovery of new materials and mechanisms.  She brings state-of-the-art first-principles calculations and atomistic simulations to bear on complex molecular behavior in polymer networks. In addition, her expertise in  machine learning and representations suitable for the molecular design of responsive polymer networks facilitate our data development efforts.

Jeffrey Moore
Senior Investigator
Illinois

Jeffrey Moore synthesizes and studies large organic molecules to discover new polymeric materials.  In MONET, he and Nancy Sottos direct a group dedicated to understanding how intramolecular reaction dynamics and intermolecular reaction kinetics translate to strand exchange, assembly, and disassembly in polymer networks.

Alshakim Nelson
Senior Investigator
Washington

Alshakim Nelson develops stimuli-responsive materials and bio-hybrid materials that are designed for additive manufacturing processes.  His expertise spans many of the Center activities, including the impact of changes in bimolecular structure and morphology within biohybrid polymer networks, photochemistries required to create uniform polymer networks and double networks, and self-assembled polymer networks.

Bradley D. Olsen
Senior Investigator
MIT

Brad Olsen has developed and applied multiple state-of-the-art techniques for characterizing the properties of polymer networks in general and dynamic networks in particular. In addition to his work with Johnson on NDS, his expertise includes unique capability in forced Rayleigh scattering for transport characterization and customized combinations of mechanical testing and optical spectroscopy for measuring molecular dissociation in physical networks developed in the Center. Olsen is also known for his experimental work in block copolymer and shear thinning gels, and he has developed novel theories for gel rheology, mechanics, diffusion, and chemical kinetics.

Monica Olvera de la Cruz
Senior Investigator
Northwestern

Monica Olvera de la Cruz develops models to describe the self-assembly of heterogeneous molecules as well as the segregation and interface adsorption in multicomponent complex fluids.  Her interests in MONET include the application of all-atom simulations and development of coarse-grained models for calculating the responses of the synthesized materials to external fields, using charged groups to design hydrogels that respond to mechanical deformations as well to electric fields.

Michael Rubinstein
Senior Investigator
Duke University

Michael Rubinstein has developed theories of dynamic and covalent networks, including models of both thermodynamics and dynamics of unentangled and entangled reversible networks and gels. These models take into account the effects caused by breaking and reformation of reversible bonds, and his sticky reptation model describes how entangled polymers with reversible bonds reptate through solutions and melts. These theories have been extended to describe the unique self-healing properties of reversible polymer networks, and they are applied predictively to assist Center research goals. His textbook covers main concepts of gelation and elasticity of polymer networks.

Corinna Schindler
Senior Investigator
Michigan

Corinna Schindler is a renowned innovator in modern synthetic organic and organometallic chemistry, and she brings a creative eye for new synthetic methodologies that empowers ambitious molecular designs and reactivity schemes to be brought to bear on high impact opportunities in polymer networks.

Nancy Sottos
Senior Investigator
Illinois

Nancy Sottos studies the mechanical behavior of a variety of complex, heterogeneous materials through meso, micro and nanoscale characterization of deformation and failure mechanisms. In MONET, she and Jeff Moore direct a group dedicated to understanding how intramolecular reaction dynamics and intermolecular reaction kinetics translate to strand exchange, assembly, and disassembly in polymer networks.

Nicole Steinmetz
Senior Investigator
UC – San Diego

Nicole Steinmetz is helping MONET push polymer networks across new frontiers through the design, development and testing of materials and biologics derived from conjugated virus-like particles (VLPs) derived from plants. She and her group will work on developing the chemical knowledge and methods to enable molecular-level control of VLP-based polymer network properties, taking advantage of the extreme multivalency (>1000 specifically addressable sites per particle) of VLPs.

Trainees & Other Personnel


Haley Beech
Graduate Student
Olsen Lab
MIT

Steven Chapman
Postdoc
Kalow Lab
Northwestern

Danyang Chen
Graduate Student
Rubinstein Lab
Duke University

Emily Churchill
Graduate Student
Campos Lab
Columbia University

Scott Danielsen
Postdoc
Rubinstein Lab
Duke University

Julia Goeks
Graduate Student
Sottos Lab
University of Illinois

Yixin Hu
Graduate Student
Craig Lab
Duke University

Abe Herzog-Arbeitman
Graduate Student
Johnson Lab
MIT

Illia Kevlishvili
Postdoc
Kulik Lab
MIT

Jorge Leganés Bayon
Postdoc
Steinmetz Lab
UC-San Diego

Alexis Martell
Graduate Student
Kalow Lab
Northwestern

Elvis McFee
Graduate Student
Schindler Lab
Michigan

Edgar Mejia
Graduate Student
Sottos Lab
University of Illinois

Sophie Melvin
Graduate Student
Klausen Lab
Johns Hopkins

Cem Millik
Graduate Student
Nelson Lab
University of Washington

Tetsu Ouchi
Postdoc
Craig Lab
Duke University

Elisabeth Prince
Postdoc
Johnson Lab
MIT

Katie Rykaczewski
Graduate Student
Schindler Lab
University of Michigan

Liel Sapir
Postdoc
Rubinstein Lab
Duke University

Julian Smith-Jones
Graduate Student
Nelson Lab
University of Washington

 


Yunyan Sun
Graduate Student
Moore Lab
University of Illinois

Clara Troyano-Valls
Graduate Student
Olsen Lab
MIT

Jafer Vakil
Graduate Student
Craig Lab
Duke University

Ana Paula Kitos Vasconcelos
Graduate Student
Nelson Lab
University of Washington

Herb Wakefield
Graduate Student
Klausen Lab
Johns Hopkins

Curt Waltmann
Graduate Student
Olvera Lab
Northwestern

Shu Wang
Graduate Student
Rubinstein & Craig Labs
Duke University

Wencong Wang
Graduate Student
Johnson Lab
MIT

Shixuan Wei
Graduate Student
Campos Lab
Columbia University

Grace Yao
Graduate Student
Craig Lab
Duke University

External Advisory Board

We are fortunate to have an expert and dedicated advisory board that pushes us to be distinct and distinctive in every one of our science and broader impact activities.

Cameron Brown Eastman Chemical Co.
Thomas Epps, III University of Delaware
Jeannette Garcia,

IBM

Brett Helms, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab
Malika Jeffries-El Boston University
Eugenia Kumacheva University of Toronto
Janice McDonnell Rutgers University
Emily Pentzer, Texas A&M University