Group Members

Principal Investigator

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Professor Monica Olvera de la Cruz


Group Program Assistant

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Tiffany Zhang


Research Associate Professor

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Dr. Felipe Jimenez-Angeles

Polyelectrolyte interfaces

Senior Research Associate

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Dr. Eleftherios Kirkinis

Soft matter physics and fluid dynamics
(with CCTSM)

Postdoctoral Fellows

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Dr. Jianshe Xia

Polymer coarse grained models

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Dr. Leticia Lopez

Complex electrolytes

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Dr. Ahis Shrestha

Continuum membrane models

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Dr. Turash Haque Pial

Polyelectrolytes assembly and ionics

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Dr. Yao Xiong

Covalent adaptable networks and elasticity

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Dr. Aaveg Aggarwal

Active matter

Graduate Students

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Ali Ehlen

PhD 2022, Charged proteins and assembly

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Yange Lin

PhD 2022, Protein self-assembly

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Hector Manuel Lopez de la Cerda Rios

PhD 2023, Active matter

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Dingwen Qian

PhD 2023, Dynamics in dielectric confinement

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Han Umana Kossio

PhD 2024, Protein-Like polymers for therapeutics
(co-supervised with Prof. Nathan Gianneschi)

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Zehao Song

PhD 2025, Soft robotic materials

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Nicholas Pogharian

PhD 2026, Electric fields in soft materials

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Brandon Onusaitis

PhD 2027, Iontronics

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Annie Gomez

PhD 2027, Bacterial microcompartments
(co-supervised with Prof. Danielle Tullman-Ercek)

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Matthew Farnese

PhD 2027, Active matter

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Antara Sen

PhD 2027, Soft robotics
(co-supervised with Prof. Sam Kriegman) Email

Undergraduate Intern

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Tomomi Kawaguchi

Solvent extraction

Former Graduate Students

• Prof. A. M. Mayes, “A Study of Transition to Periodic Structures in Block Copolymer Melts”, Ph.D., February 1991. (Deceased. "She was the first woman tenured and promoted to full professor in Department of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT and, in recognition of her excellence in teaching, she was named a MacVicar Fellow in 2001. She supervised sixteen Ph.D. candidates, seven M.S. degrees, and a host of UROPs") Obituary
• Prof. D. Gersappe, “Statistics and Dynamics of Polymers in Topologically Restricted Environments”, Ph.D., April 1992. (Now, Associate Professor, Dept. Materials Science, SUNY at Stony Brook, NY.)
• Dr. E. O. Shaffer, “The Dynamics of Gel Electrophoresis”, M.S. June 1988. (Now, Dow Chemical, Midland MI).
• Prof. Cheng-heng Kao, “Micelle Formation in Copolymer-Homopolymer Blends”, M.S. June 1990. (Now, Professor, Dept. of Chemical Engineering, National Central Taiwan University)
• Dr. A. S. Mendelsohn, “Investigation of Correlations in Polymer Melts, Blends, and Semi-dilute Solutions by Fluorescence Nonradiative Energy Transfer Techniques”, Ph.D., July 1994. Co-Advised with J. M. Torkelson.
• Dr. A. Nesarikar, “Thermodynamics and Kinetics of Liquid-liquid Phase Separation in Random Copolymers”, Ph.D., (Chemical Eng.) September 1994. Co-Advised with B. Crist. (Now, at Mobil E&P Technical Center, Dallas TX.)
• Dr. B. W. Swift, “Statistics and Dynamics of Random Copolymers in Solutions by Monte Carlo Simulation”, Ph.D. December 1995. (Now, Developer, Swiss Bank, Chicago IL.)
• Prof. C. I. Huang, “Studies of Phase Separation Dynamics and Interfaces in Ternary Systems”, Ph.D. June 1996. (Now, Associate Professor, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taiwan.)
• Prof. K. Mahdi, “Phase Diagrams of Polyelectrolyte Solutions”, Ph.D. December 2000. (Now, an Assistant Professor, Kuwait University.)
• Dr. K. Smith, “Dynamics of Drops and Fluid Interfaces-A Level set Study”, Ph.D. February 2003 (Now, Data Scientist, Twitter, San Francisco, CA)
• Prof. H. Cheng, “Polyelectrolyte Adsorption and Self-Assembly on Charged Surfaces”, Ph.D. December 2005. (Now, Associate Professor, Drexel University).
• Dr. M. Lefebvre, “Effects of Sequence Distribution and Specific In teractions on the Ordering and Interfacial Behavior of Copolymers”, Ph.D. June 2006. (Now, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Duke University).
• Prof. S. Loverde, “Theory and Simulation of Polymer and Polyelectrol yte Self-Assembly”, Ph.D. June 2007. (Now, Associate Professor, City College New York).
• Dr. K. Kohlstedt, “The Formation of Chiral Nanopatterns on Low-Dimensional Ionic Assemblies Via Electrostatic Interactions ”, Ph.D. June 2009 (November 2011, Research Associate Professor, Northwestern University. Advisors: George Schatz and Monica Olvera de la Cruz).
• Dr. M. Greenfield, “Modulating the forces between self-assembling molecules to control the shape of vesicles and the mechanics and alignment of nanofiber networks”, Ph.D. June 2009 (January 2010, McKinsey Consulting Partner).
• Prof. Kevin Kohlstedt, "Electrostatic Interactions on Low-Dimensional Surfaces", PhD 2009 (Now, Research Professor in Chemistry, Northwestern University)
• Mr. M. Anderson, “Gel formation in charged telechelics in poor solvent studied by replica exchange Monte Carlo simulations”, M.A. June 2010. Co-supervised with M. Ratner and I. Szleifer.
• Prof. P. Guo, “Self-Assembly of pH responsive nano-particles” M.S. April, 2011 (Now, Assistant Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Yale University).
• Prof. Prateek Kumar Jha, "Mesoscopic simulations of gels, nanogels, and nanoparticle Assemblies: Competing interactions and dynamics", PhD May 2012 (Associate Professor, IIT Roorkee, India).
• Dr. Matthew Demers, “Curvature-driven Pattern Formation in Multicomponent Membranes”, PhD August 2012. (Now, Lecturer, Harvard University).
• Dr. Doris M. Grillo, PhD 2013 Protein Adsorption Studies (co-supervised, Igal Szleifer) (Now, Analytical Consultant, JPMorgan Chase)
• Dr. Ting Li, Simulations of polyvalent nucleic acid-functionalized nanoparticles, PhD 2014 (Now, Data Scientist, Jump Trading LLC)
• Dr. Joshua Dempster, PhD 2016, Self Replication (Now, Data Scientist, Broad Institute, Boston)
• Dr. Yufei Jing, PhD 2016, Dynamics of Charged Nanoparticles at Interfaces (Now, Wells Fargo, New York)
• Dr. Shuangping Liu, PhD 2017, Elasticity of Heterogeneous Nanogels (Now, Software Engineer, Google)
• Mr. Dongxu Huang, MS 2018, Supercapacitors (co-advised with Prof. Samuel Stupp), (Now, Software Engineer at Devo, Boston)
• Dr. Saijie Pan, PhD 2018, Charged Membranes and Electrostatics (Now, Quantitative Research, JQ INVESTMENTS)
• Dr. Ha-Kyung Kwon, PhD May 2018, Charged-Neutral Copolymer Organization (Now, Materials Scientist, Toyota Research Institute)
• Dr. Martin Girard, PhD July 2019, DNA-Functionalized Nanoparticles (Now, Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research, in Mainz, Germany) [PhD Thesis]
• Dr. Honghao Li, PhD Aug 2018, Ion Transfer in Heterogeneous Media (Now, Software Engineer, Google)
• Dr. Boran Ma, PhD 2019, Polymer Blends (Now, Postdoctoral Researcher with Prof. Cate Brinson at Duke University, NC)
• Dr. Yaohua Li, PhD 2021, Ion-Mediated Nanoparticle Assembly (Now, Research engineer specializing in Alkali-metal batteries, Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., Shanghai, China) [PhD Thesis]
• Brian Damerau, MA.
• Dr. Hang Yuan, PhD 2022, Magnetoelastic Membranes (Now, Staff Scientist at Huawei Technologies, Shenzen, China) [PhD Thesis]
• Dr. Aaveg Aggarwal, PhD 2022, Control of Soft Active Materials [PhD Thesis]
• Dr. Debadutta Prusty, PhD 2022, Non-van der Waals interactions in soft matter thermodynamics: From bulk phase behavior to absorption in polymer brushes [PhD Thesis]
• Dr. Chase Austin Brisbois, PhD 2022, Phases and Actuation of Superparamagnetic Soft Matter [PhD Thesis]
• Dr. Jeremy Wang, PhD 2023, Charged Polymers and Membranes (Now, NRC Research Associateship Program) [PhD Thesis]
• Dr. Curt Waltmann, PhD 2023, Protein Assembly (Now, CCTCh Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, UChicago) [PhD Thesis]
• Dr. Joseph McCourt, PhD 2023, Amphiphiles (Now, Postdoctor, Argonne National Laboratory [PhD Thesis]

Former Postdocs and Research Associates and Visitors

• Dr. Janette Jones, Weak Crystallization, Nov '90-Dec '91  (Now, Manager, Unilever, UK)
• Prof. Kevin Bassler, Copolymers, Dec '90-Aug '92 (Now, Professor, Physics Department, University of Houston)
• Prof. Pedro Gonzalez-Mozuelos, Polyelectrolytes, Sep '92-Nov '94  (Now, Professor, Physics Department, CINVESTAV, Mexico)
• Prof. Francisco Solis, Colloids and Polymer Mixtures, Oct '96-Aug '00  (Now, Associate Professor, State University of Arizona West)
• Prof. Katsuyo Thorton, Phase Separation in Multicomponent Fluids, Dec '97-Mar '98  (Now, Associate Professor, Materials Science Department, University of Michigan)
• Dr. Alexander Ermoshkin, Charged Gels, Nov '01-Dec '03 (Now, CTO and co-founder of Carbon)
• Dr. Min Sum Yeom, Simulations of Complex Macromolecules, Aug '01-Jul '03  (Now, National Center for Supercomputers, Korea)
• Dr. Alexander Kudlay, Gelation of Charged Systems, Oct '02-Apr '05  (Now, Research Associate, Chemistry Department, Maryland University)
• Dr. Yuri Velichko, Peptide Amphiphiles, Oct '03-Jul '07  (Now, Senior Research Associate, Chemistry Department, Northwestern University) 
• Prof. Hongxia Guo, Block Copolymer Instabilities, Mar '04-Dec '05  (Now, Professor, Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China)
• Prof. Graziano Vernizzi, Cationic-Anionic Vesicles and RNA Folding, Sep '05-Aug '10 (Now, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics &Astronomy, SIENA College)
• Dr. William Kung, Ionic Liquid Interfaces, Sep '06-Nov '10  (Now, Director of Operations, Materials Research Center, Northwestern University)
• Dr. Dongsheng Zhang, Properties of Metal and Alloys using Embedded Atom Method Potentials, Feb '07-May '10  (Now, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Dallas, Texas)
• Prof. Kuo-An Wu, Functional Materials, Mar '10-Dec '10  (Now, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics, National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan)
• Dr. Konstantine Popov, Non-Equilibrium Self-Assembly, Dec '09 - Nov '10  (Now, Research Associate Professor in the Division of Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry, and Director of Computational Biophysics, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill)
• Dr. Sumanth Swaminathan, Non-Equilibrium Self-Assembly, Dec '09 - Feb '12 (Now, Technology Consultant, WL Gore & Associates)
• Dr. Azita Parsaeian, Bacterial Chromosomes, '10 - Aug '12. 
• Prof. Rastko Sknepnek, Functionalized Nanoparticles and Membranes, 09 - Aug '12 (Now, Assistant Professor, University of Dundee, Scotland)
• Dr. Chloe Funkhouser, Lamin Meshworks (Now, Principal Engineer, Baxter, Round Lake IL)
• Dr. Subas Dhakal, Liquid Crystalline Shells (Now, Postdoctoral Fellow, Syracuse University)
• Prof. Srikanth Patala, Metallic nanoparticles. Jul '11 - Aug '13 (Now, Assistant Professor, North Carolina State University)
• Dr. Gabriel Longo, Self-regulated ionic gels (co-advised, Igal Szleifer) (Now, Researcher, Institute of Theoretical and Applied Physical Chemistry Research, La Plata, Argentina)
• Dr. Creighton Thomas, Ionic Membranes, Oct '11 - Aug '13 (Now, Software Engineer, Google, New York)
• Prof. Rui Zhang, Dynamics of Charged Colloids, Sept '11 - Sept '13 (Now, Assistant Professor, South China Advanced Institute for Soft Matter Science and Technology (AISMST); South China University of Technology (SCUT), China)
• Dr. Arjan Quist, Research Coordinator, Sept '11- Oct '13 (Now, Invention Associate, Innovation and New Ventures Northwestern University)
Prof. Charles Sing, Charged Polymer Systems (International Institute for Nanotechnology Fellowship), 2012-2014 (Now, Assistant Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign)
• Prof. Vikram Jadho, Assistant Professor in the Department of Intelligent Systems and Engineering, Indiana University, Bloomington.
• Prof. Guillermo Ivan Guerrero, Molecular Electrolytes, 2009-2015 (Now, CONACYT Researcher, University of San Luis Potosí, México)
Prof. Kevin Kohlstedt, Properties of Polyvalent Nucleic Acid Nanostructures (co-advised, George Schatz), 2011-2015 (Now, Research Professor in Chemistry, Northwestern University)
Dr. Niels Boon, 2013-2015 (Now, Postdoctoral Researcher, Lund University, Sweden)br> • Prof. Jiaye Su, 2014-2015 (Now, Professor, Department of Applied Physics, Nanjing University of Science and Technology, Nanjing, China)
Prof. Jos Zwanikken, 2009-2015 (Now, Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts Lowell)
• Prof. Zhenwei Yao, 2012-2015 (Now, Distinguished Research Fellow, Institute of Natural Sciences and the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China)
• Prof. Pablo Vazquez Montejo, 2016-2017 (Now, Research Associate, Faculty of Mathematics at the Autonomous University of Yucatan, Mexico)
• Prof. Mykola Tasinkevych, 2016-2017 (Now, Assistant Professor, Center for Theoretical and Computational Physics at the University of Lisbon, Portugal)
• Dr. Kyle Hoffmann, 2015-2017 (Now, Dupont Pioneer)
• Dr. Meng Shen, 2015-2018 (Now, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics, California State University, Fullerton)
• Prof. Aykut Erbas, 2014-2018 (Now, Assistant Professor, Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey)
• Dr. Victor Pryamitsyn, 2015-2018 (Now, Scientist, Global Science & Technology, Inc. and Contractor, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
• Dr. Jaime Andres Millan, 2014-2018 (Now, Data Scientist, Thrive Market)
• Dr. Anisha Shakya (Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow), 2018-2019, Protein and Nucleic Acid Assembly
• Dr. Wei Li, 2018-2019, Polyelectrolytes (Now, Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Tennessee)
• Dr. Yuba Dahal, 2017-2019 (Now, Joint Postdoctoral Researcher, NIST and the University of Chicago)
• Dr. Annalisa Cardellini (Visting Postdoctoral Fellow), 2019-2020 (Now, Postdoctoral Researcher, Politecnico di Torino)
• Dr. Debarshee Bagchi, 2018-2020 (Now, Postdoctoral fellow, International Centre for Theoretical Sciences, (ICTS-TIFR), Bangalore, India)
• Prof. Daniel Matoz-Fernandez, 2019-2021 (Now, Assistant Professor, Institute of Theoretical Physics at Warsaw University, Poland)
• Dr. Yihao Liang, 2018-2021 (Now, Research Engineer specializing in Alkali-metal batteries, Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., Shanghai, China)
• Dr. Siyu Li, Protein Membranes, 2019-2021 (Now, Distinguished Research Fellow at South Bay Interdisciplinary Science Center, Songshan Lake Materials Laboratory, China)
• Dr. Dulce Maria Valencia, 2018-2021, Lipid Membranes
• Dr. Trung Nguyen, 2016-2018 Research Associate and 2018-2021 Research Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Computational Soft-Matter Physics (As of 2022, Computational Scientist- Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering, University of Chicago)
• Daniel Alejandro Olaya-Muñoz, Continuum Electrostatics 2022 (Now, Assistant Professor, Universidad EIA, Medellin, Colombia)
• Prof. Baofu Qiao, Sept. 2011-14 & Dec 2017-August 2022 (Now, Assistant Professor, Baruch College, CUNY)