1st Annual ND Soft Polymer Materials Symposium

This one-day symposium addresses the general synthesis, application, and characterization of soft polymer materials, with the purpose of promoting intensive discussion and increased collaboration at Notre Dame. Both University faculty and postdocs will present their research. In addition to the talks, ND graduate students and postdocs will showcase their research results in an afternoon poster session. 

Registration closes Thursday, October 30.  Contact Heidi Deethardt at

Event sponsors:  College of Science, Dept. of Chemistry & Biochemistry, College of Engineering, Dept. of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Notre Dame Center for Nano Science & Technology (NDnano), and Advanced Diagnostics & Therapeutics (AD&T)


8:30 am: Check‐in and refreshments • McKenna Atrium

8:55 am: Introduction • McKenna Auditorium

9:00 am: Ruilan Guo, Assistant Professor, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

“Creating materials solutions for efficient molecular separations”

9:25 am: William A. Phillip, Assistant Professor, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

“Functional membrane materials: Opportunities in water treatment”

9:50 am: Y. Elaine Zhu, Associate Professor, Chemical Engineering

“Conformational dynamics of weak polyelectrolyte chains in solution and at surface”

10:15 am: Hsueh‐Chia Chang, Professor, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

“Ion­‐selective polymer nanoporous membranes and nanopores for next­‐generation nucleic acid detection and sequencing 

10:40 am: Break (McKenna Atrium)

11:00 am: Haifeng Gao, Assistant Professor, Chemistry & Biochemistry

“Robust synthesis of uniform hyperbranched polymers in one 

11:25 am: Susan Fullerton, Research Assistant Professor, Electrical Engineering & NDnano

“Controlling ion­‐electron transport for energy storage and low power electronics”

11:50 am: Zhi Guo, Postdoc, Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering / Radiation Laboratory

“Tuning the thermal conductivity of solar cell polymer through side chain engineering and optimizing acceptor PCBM”

12:10 pm: Benxin Jing, Postdoc, Chemical & Biomolecular 
“Polyoxometlate (POM) macroion decorated polymersomes”

12:30 pm: Lunch
, McKenna Dining Room (lower level)

1:30 pm: Zhangli Peng, Assistant Professor, Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering

“Multiscale modeling of cell mechanics and related diseases”

1:55 pm: Jonathan K. Whitmer, Assistant Professor, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

“Enhanced sampling for simulations of soft materials”

2:20 pm: Timothy Ovaert, Professor, Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering

“Boundary lubricant‐functionalized PVA gels”

2:45 pm: Tengfei Luo, Assistant Professor, Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering

“Engineering polymer for unconventional thermal
transport control”

3:15 - 5:30 pm: Poster session


Sherwood Benavides, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
“Unsteady facilitated diffusion in dense polymeric films: A novel application of pH responsive materials”

Xiaosong Cao, Chemistry & Biochemistry
“Thermo-responsive 21-arm star polymers via RAFT chemistry and their thermal phase transition behavior”

Robert Graff, Chemistry & Biochemistry
“Microemulsion polymerization of inimer: A method to produce hyperbranched polymers with uniform structure”

Tao Jiang, Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering
“Thermal transport enhancement across hard-soft material interfaces”

Erich Kinder, Electrical Engineering
“Polymer electrolytes for electrostatic gating of graphene”

Ashish Kushwaha, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
“Development of high-performance polybenzoxazole (PBO) gas separation membranes via highly efficient thermal cyclization of poly(hydroxyamide) precursors”

Shuangjiang Luo, Chemical & Biochemical Engineering
“Pentiptycene-based polyimides with well-defined molecular structure for efficient membrane gas separation”

Michelle Pillers, Chemistry & Biochemistry
“Substrate mediated stability of DNA origami at elevated temperatures and in diverse solvent environments”

Chen Qu, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
“The interaction between single weak polyelectrolyte and multivalent counterions”

Siyi Qu, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
“Nanoporous membranes chemically tailored for ionic separations”

Raymond Seekell, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
“Glassy dynamics in dense microgel suspensions”

Yi Shi, Chemistry & Biochemistry
“Synthesis of uniformed hyperbranched polymer by one-pot polymerization in solution”

Mark Summe, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
“Developing mosaic membranes for heavy metals removal using polymaleic anhydride alkyl amide derivative”

Xiaofeng Wang, Chemistry & Biochemistry
“Application of recyclable pH-responsive magnetic nanoparticles for oil/water separation”

Jacob Weidman, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
“Affinity- and size-based separations of heavy metal ions via self-assembled nanoporous membranes”

Jennifer Wiegand, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
“Tailoring molecular cavities in triptycene-containing polyimide membranes for efficient gas separation”

Brian Yoo, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
“A molecular understanding of the toxic interactions of ionic liquids towards a lipid biomembrane”

Teng Zhang, Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering
“Molecular bridge enables anomalous enhancement in thermal transport across hard-soft material interfaces”

Yizhou Zhang, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
“Coating ultrafiltration membranes from self-assembled block polymer templates onto hollow fiber supports ”