Emerging investigators 2020

Christopher Barner-Kowollik ab
aSchool of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), 2 George Street, Brisbane, Australia. E-mail: christopher.barnerkowollik@qut.edu.au
bMacromolecular Architectures, Institute for Technical and Polymer Chemistry, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Engesserstr. 18, 76128 Karlsruhe, Germany. E-mail: christopher.barner-kowollik@kit.edu

The biannual Emerging Investigator themed issue of Polymer Chemistry has become a tradition by now and I am very pleased that once again we have assembled a cross-section of the most exciting research going on in young laboratories.

Bridging the gender gap in the sciences and empowering female researchers is of critical importance for the diversity and well-being of our field. I noted in the editorial of the 2018 Emerging Investigators themed issue that the number of submissions we received from young female group leaders was not satisfactory and I promised to actively work on this year's issues to address the matter. I am very pleased to report that at the time of publication a third of all articles published in the current themed issue are from female group leaders, which is perhaps close to the true fraction of laboratories led by female colleagues. It is upon all of us to be role models for the next generation of scientists and to show that career paths in science are irrespective of gender or gender orientation. We as publishers can only reflect what is happening at universities throughout the world, but I am positive we are finally on a good road to gender equity in the sciences, although there is certainly no room for complacency. To read the latest Royal Society of Chemistry report on gender bias in publishing visit https://rsc.li/genderbias.

The themes explored in the current themed issue are as diverse as the backgrounds of our authors. With around 50 contributions in the current issue, I cannot highlight every single one in the current editorial, thus the below represents my editor's pick of what I find – subjectively – most interesting and particularly noteworthy.

With sustainability and waste limitation a central theme in today's world, Fiona Hatton contributes a very timely review on the polymerization of monomers from renewable resources focused on RAFT polymerization, which provides an easy access point for all polymer chemists considering basing their soft materials on renewable feedstock (DOI: 10.1039/C9PY01128E). Staying with the theme of chain transfer reactions, Will Gutekunst introduces an avenue to prepare an array of functional polymer chains based on a single Grubbs initiator and an efficient and fast transfer process (DOI: 10.1039/C9PY00965E). Reversible Deactivation Radical Polymerizations (RDRPs) continue to be exploited for the construction of therapeutic delivery vectors and a particularly interesting example comes from the team of Efrosyni Themistou, which prepares star polymers via RAFT chemistry, featuring an acid degradable core, enabling the intracellular delivery of DNA (DOI: 10.1039/C9PY00573K). PEGylated polymers play a critical role in the pharmaceutical field and the synthesis of PEGylated block copolymers is a particularly challenging endeavour. Xiaoling Liu exploits Cu-mediated SET polymerization in an aqueous environment to achieve well-defined block copolymers, while obtaining a precise picture of the underpinning kinetics that guide the chain extension experiments (DOI: 10.1039/C9PY01202H).

While polymer scientists often associate sulfur chemistry with the RAFT process, Hatice Mutlu and her team teach us that elemental sulfur can be a versatile starting material for the synthesis of bio-based polyesters, providing a fresh look at the usefulness of this element in our field (DOI: 10.1039/C9PY01152H).

While RDRP processes are perhaps still the most popular systems for the facile design of a virtually limitless array of polymer architectures, Bret Fors and colleagues remind us that long established polymerization methods such as anionic polymerizations still have a few tricks up their sleeves: based on a highly accurate kinetic model, the team shows just how well the molecular weight distributions of anionically prepared polymers can be predicted (DOI: 10.1039/C9PY00074G).

On the single chain level, Yoan Simon and his team show that learning from nature pays off for the photochemically driven construction of single chain nanoparticles, which are discussed as potential biomimetic catalysts in the current literature (DOI: 10.1039/C9PY01235D). The team makes clever use of disparate monomers that impart specific solvencies onto the polymer chains.

The science showcased herein shows that the future of our field is in the best of hands and I hope that all established research leaders – irrespective of gender – will not only mentor but actively sponsor our next-generation scientists, by providing opportunities to them for presenting and publishing. It is time for a generational change in the seemingly ever-identical line-up of invited and plenary speakers at conferences, sadly still dominated by male scientists. If the current themed issue serves as inspiration to conference chairs and university promotion committees as to where our future lies, we will have achieved one of our aims not only at Polymer Chemistry, but also at the Royal Society of Chemistry.

I hope you enjoy the current themed issue as much as I do.

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Christopher Barner–Kowollik, Editor-in-Chief

Biographies of contributors


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Loai Abdelmohsen is Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) in the Netherlands. Loai undertook a Master's program at Radboud University (the Netherlands), which was completed in 2013. In the same university, he conducted his PhD in the Bio-Organic Chemistry group. During his PhD he gained an active interest in the utilization of copolymers for supramolecular assembly and the subsequent integration of functional properties – such as motility. In 2017 he was appointed as Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry at TU/e – leading a team of PhD students and Postdocs. His research is focused on translating life-like behaviors toward synthetic functional polymeric structures.


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Sanjb Banerjee is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Chemistry, Indian Institute of Technology Bhilai. He completed his PhD in 2013 under the supervision of Prof. Tarun K. Mandal at the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (India), where he studied Synthesis of Polymer Nanostructures via Controlled Polymerizations. He then joined the group of Prof. Rudolf Faust at the University of Massachusetts Lowell (USA), as a postdoctoral researcher in the field of synthesis of polyisobutylene-based materials via living cationic polymerization for application as motor oil additives and self-healing sealants for photovoltaics. Subsequently, he was an ANR postdoctoral fellow at ENSCM, France working with Dr Bruno Ameduri. During this time, he worked on designing fluoropolymers for application in functional coatings and Li-ion batteries. In 2017, he joined the Indian Institute of Technology Bhilai as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry. His current research activities lie in advanced macromolecular synthesis and in the design of innovative polymer-based materials for energy storage and biomedical applications He is a (co)author of 43 peer reviewed articles in international journals and 5 book chapters. He was selected as one of the YIM-Young Investigators-2014 for the Young Investigator Meeting-Boston held at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, USA. He received the SERB Ramanujan Fellowship in 2016, SERB-Early Career Research Award-2019 and VIRA2019-Outstanding Scientist in Chemistry award. He serves as the Co-Convener of Chemical Research Society of India (CRSI)-Chhattisgarh Chapter.


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Jonathan C. Barnes is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Washington University in St Louis (WUSTL). He completed his B.S./M.S. degrees in chemistry at the University of Kentucky in 2006. After working for a few years in industry, Jonathan started his graduate studies in 2010 as a NDSEG Fellow at Northwestern University under the tutelage of Professor Fraser Stoddart, where he developed a new class of stable organic radicals and new macrocycles for binding polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. In 2014, Jonathan moved to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as an HHMI postdoctoral fellow of the Life Sciences Research Foundation in Professor Jeremiah Johnson's group, where he investigated new sequence-defined polymer methodologies and combination anticancer drug-loaded nanoparticles. In 2016, he began his independent career at WUSTL where his group is focused on synthesizing new functional supramolecular polymers to make redox-responsive materials, polymeric drug delivery nanomaterials, and developing topologically complex polymers and materials. Jonathan received a Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering and a Young Investigator Award (Cancer Research Foundation) in 2017, and in 2019 he was named a Kavli Fellow by the Kavli Foundation and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.


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Laura Bradley completed her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Southern California working with Malancha Gupta and conducted her postdoctoral research with Daeyeon Lee and Kathleen Stebe at the University of Pennsylvania. She started her independent research career in 2017 as an Assistant Professor in Polymer Science and Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The Bradley research group aims to develop new strategies for merging interfacial assembly and polymer synthesis to produce soft composites with targeted structure–function properties. Members of her research group exploit fluid interfaces to produce anisotropic colloids, leverage trapped states of colloidal assemblies, and manipulate the growth of vapor-deposited thin films. Laura has received the 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award (2018) and the NSF CAREER Award (2019).


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Hugo Bronstein was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1980 but grew up in London, UK. He studied Chemistry at Oxford, before going on to do a PhD at Imperial College with Prof. Charlotte Williams. He then spent a year at the University of Washington in Seattle working as a postdoc for Prof. Christine Luscombe. Hugo returned to Imperial College to do a second postdoc with Prof. Iain McCulloch. He was awarded an Imperial College Junior Research Fellowship in 2012 before being appointed as a lecturer at University College London in 2013 and then as a lecturer joint between the physics and chemistry departments at the University of Cambridge in 2017. He was awarded an ERC starting grant in 2015 and an EPSRC fellowship in 2019.


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Rona Chandrawati obtained her PhD from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at The University of Melbourne in 2012. She was then a Marie Curie Fellow at Imperial College London prior to joining The University of Sydney as a Lecturer in 2015. In 2018, she joined The University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney), Australia as a Senior Lecturer, Scientia Fellow, and Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow. Her research interests include bionanomaterials for drug delivery and chemical and biological sensing.


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Robert Chapman is a research group leader in the School of Chemistry at UNSW. After a BEng (UNSW, 2007) and PhD in Chemistry (University of Sydney, 2013) he worked for three years as a research associate in the group of Prof. Molly Stevens at Imperial College London. He returned to UNSW in 2016 as a Vice Chancellor's postdoctoral research fellow, and is currently a lecturer and ARC DECRA fellow. His research focuses on the development of oxygen tolerant controlled polymerization systems for high throughput polymer synthesis, on the use of these systems to design multivalent polymer–peptide conjugates for protein binding applications, and on the design of nanoparticles for peptide delivery.


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Changle Chen obtained his B.S. degree from University of Science and Technology of China (2005), and PhD from the University of Chicago (2010). After postdoctoral studies at Northwestern University and some time at Celanese Corporation, he started his independent career as a professor at USTC in 2013. His current research focuses on development of new catalysts and new strategies for olefin polymerization and copolymerization. His notable awards include the American Chemical Society DIC Young Investigator Award, IUPAC Prizes-Honorable Mention, Chinese Chemical Society Award for Outstanding Young Chemist, Society of Polymer Science Japan International Leading Young Scientist and NSFC Excellent Young Scholar Fellowship.


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Anindita Das received her M.Sc. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Calcutta, India in 2009 and joined the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, Kolkata, India for a Ph.D. under the supervision of Professor Suhrit Ghosh. After completing her Ph.D. in 2014, she worked as an Alexander von Humboldt postdoctoral fellow with Professor Patrick Theato at the Institute for Technical and Macromolecular Chemistry, University of Hamburg, Germany from 2014 to 2016 and subsequently worked as a postdoctoral fellow with Professor E. W. Meijer at the Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands. In 2017, she returned back to the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, India to initiate her independent research career as a Faculty Fellow at the School of Applied and Interdisciplinary Sciences where she currently holds the position of Assistant Professor. Her current research is focused on investigating the influence of directional supramolecular interactions in molecular and macromolecular assembly.


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Laura De Laporte combines engineering, chemistry and biology to design biomaterials that control and direct interactions with cells. She is a Chemical Engineer from Ghent, where she got the tissue engineering bug. To follow her dream, she did her PhD with Lonnie Shea at Northwestern University and engineered guiding implants for nerve regeneration. At EPFL, she learned about hydrogels in Jeffrey Hubbell's group during her post-doctoral research. Currently, she is a Leibniz Professor at the RWTH University in Aachen, Germany, where she works on Advanced Biomedical Systems at the DWI-Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials. Her team designs low-invasive, polymeric regenerative hydrogel therapies, consisting of nano and micron-scale building blocks that orient after injection to repair anisotropic tissues. In addition, dynamic hydrogels are created to study mechanobiology.


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Guillaume Delaittre is Professor for Macromolecular Chemistry and Plastics Technology at the University of Applied Sciences Aachen (Germany) since September 2019. He started his independent research in 2013 at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT, Germany). He obtained his PhD degree in 2008 under Prof. B. Charleux (Paris, France) for his founding work on polymerization-induced self-assembly (PISA) and completed two postdoctoral stays with Profs. R. J. M Nolte and J. J. L. M. Cornelissen at the Radboud University Nijmegen (Netherlands) and with Profs. C. Barner-Kowollik and M. Bastmeyer at the KIT, respectively. Until now, his research interests have revolved around macromolecular chemistry, photochemistry, nanostructures, (surface) biofunctionalization, and biocatalysis. His most recent work particularly focuses on reactive block copolymers and related nanostructures, single-enzyme nanogels, functional polyoxazolines, and PISA.


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Hirotaka Ejima was born in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan in 1983. He completed his Ph.D. under the guidance of Professor Takeshi Serizawa in 2011 at The University of Tokyo. He then joined the research group of Professor Frank Caruso at The University of Melbourne as a JSPS postdoctoral fellow. After spending two and a half years working on the biomedical applications of metal-phenolic network, he moved back to Japan and now is an Associate Professor in the Department of Materials Engineering, University of Tokyo. His current research interests are in developing functional materials for biomedical and environmental applications through bioinspired approaches.


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Brett P. Fors was born in Polson, Montana and carried out his undergraduate studies in chemistry at Montana State University (B.S., 2006). He went on to do his Ph.D. (2011) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with Professor Stephen L. Buchwald. After his doctoral studies he became an Elings Fellow at the University of California, Santa Barbara working with Professor Craig J. Hawker. In 2014 he joined the faculty at Cornell University as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2019.


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E. Johan Foster is currently an Associate Professor in the Materials Science and Engineering Department (MSE) at Virginia Tech. He has his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. After his Ph.D., he was a post-doctoral fellow at the Technical University Eindhoven with Bert Meijer, and then a Maitre Assistant at the Adolphe Merkle Institute in Fribourg, Switzerland. Johan's research interests include bio-based advanced materials, specifically nanomaterials, combining aspects of micro/nanostructuring, often using polymer fibers as building blocks. He recently accepted a new position in the Chemical and Biological Engineering department at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, starting in March of 2020.


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Catherine Fromen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Delaware. She received her PhD in Chemical Engineering from North Carolina State University in 2014 and performed postdoctoral studies at the University of Michigan as a University of Michigan's President's Postdoctoral Fellow. She joined the University of Delaware in 2017, where her research group focuses on applying chemical engineering principles to pulmonary drug delivery. Major research efforts in the group involve designing polymeric, degradable therapeutic pulmonary aerosols for immune engineering and creating 3D-printed lung replicas to advance in vitro deposition testing.


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Robert Göstl studied chemistry at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and has been involved in photochromism research in the group of Prof. Stefan Hecht since 2009. There, he obtained his diploma degree in 2011 working on sterically crowded cyclopentene-bridged dithienylethenes for enhanced photoswitching performance. In 2014, he finished his doctoral research on furylthienylethenes for photocontrol over the Diels–Alder reaction to work on feedback mechanisms for smart mechanophores in the group of Prof. Rint Sijbesma at Eindhoven University of Technology until 2016. Right now he is leading a Junior Research Group at DWI – Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials developing molecular tools to understand and harness mechanical stress in macromolecular materials.


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Xiaodan Gu received his Bachelor's degree in 2008 from Nanjing University. In 2014, he earned his Ph.D. from department of Polymer Science and Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, advised by Prof. Thomas P. Russell, focusing on the self-assembly of block copolymers and their lithographic applications. Subsequently, he started a post-doctoral appointment co-advised by Zhenan Bao and Michael F. Toney at Stanford University and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, where he studied the morphology of roll-to-roll printed electronics using real time X-ray scattering techniques. In Jan 2017, he joined the School of Polymer Science and Engineering as an Assistant Professor. His research interests revolve around various fundamental polymer physics phenomena related to conjugated polymers and their derivative devices. His group studies the structure, dynamics, and morphology of conjugated polymers and aim to link their molecular structures to their macroscopic properties through advanced metrology with an emphasis on scattering techniques. Notable achievements include the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Awards and Advanced Light Source doctoral fellowship.


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Will R. Gutekunst is an Assistant Professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Will completed his B.S. in Chemistry at the University of Oklahoma in 2008 where he conducted research in natural products chemistry. Will moved to The Scripps Research Institute for his graduate studies where he applied the use of C–H functionalization logic to complex molecule synthesis under the tutelage of Prof. Phil S. Baran. After receiving his PhD in 2013, he designed new metathesis-based approaches to sequence-defined polymers as an NIH postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Prof. Craig J. Hawker at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Will started his independent career at Georgia Tech in 2016, where his lab is interested in developing new methodologies for polymer science based on innovations in organic chemistry. Will is the recipient of a 2018 ACS PRF Doctoral New Investigator Award and is a 2019 PMSE Young Investigator.


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Fiona Hatton obtained her MChem degree in Medicinal Chemistry with Pharmacology from the University of Liverpool in 2010. She stayed at the University of Liverpool for her PhD (2010–2014) which focused on the preparation of highly branched dendritic polymers using ATRP for biomedical applications (with Prof. Steve Rannard). In 2014 she joined the Division of Coating Technology, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm as a postdoctoral researcher. During this time, she worked primarily on cellulose modification with bio- and synthetic polymers with Assoc. Prof. Anna Carlmark and Prof. Eva Malmström. In 2016, she returned to the UK to work as a postdoctoral research associate in the group of Prof. Steve Armes at the University of Sheffield, preparing functional polymer colloids by polymerization-induced self-assembly. In 2018, Fiona became a lecturer in Polymer Chemistry in the Department of Materials at Loughborough University. Her research interests include renewable polymer synthesis, block copolymer self-assembly and hydrogels for biomedical applications.


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Robert J. Hickey is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at The Pennsylvania State University. He received his B.S. and Ph.D. in Chemistry at Widener University (2007) and the University of Pennsylvania (2013), respectively. At Penn, he worked in the laboratory of Prof. So-Jung Park, and researched how to control the morphology and materials properties of colloidal aggregates composed of inorganic nanoparticles and amphiphilic diblock copolymers. As a postdoctoral researcher, he worked in the labs of Profs. Frank Bates and Tim Lodge at the University of Minnesota. At Minnesota, his research focused on fundamentally understanding the self-assembly and phase behavior of ternary polymer blends, as well as on applying these principles to ternary polymer electrolyte systems. The Hickey group investigates chemical and self-assembly methods for creating nanostructured polymeric materials. Robert was the recipient of the Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Prize in 2018.


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Fumitaka Ishiwari was born in Toyama, Japan, in 1985, and received his BS (2007), MS (2008) and PhD (2011) from the Department of Organic and Polymeric Materials, Tokyo Institute of Technology, under the supervision of Prof. Toshikazu Takata. During his doctoral course, he also spent half a year at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Prof. Timothy M. Swager's group as a visiting student. After a postdoc at Tokyo Institute of Technology with Prof. Toshikazu Takata for half a year, he joined Prof. Takanori Fukushima's group in the Chemical Resources Laboratory (now, the Laboratory for Chemistry and Life Science, Institute of Innovative Research), Tokyo Institute of Technology as an Assistant Professor in 2012. His research interests include supramolecular chemistry, self-assembly materials, chiral science and polymer science with a particular focus on ladder polymers.


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Chenfeng Ke is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, United States. His research focus is on developing smart polymers for 3D printing applications and single-crystalline organic frameworks. He received his BS (2004) and PhD (2009) degrees from Nankai University, China. In 2007, he worked with Professor Yoshihisa Inoue at Osaka University, Japan. He was awarded a Newton International Fellowship in 2009 by the Royal Society (UK) to pursue research with Professor Anthony Davis (2009–2011) at the University of Bristol. He subsequently joined Professor Sir Fraser Stoddart's research group at Northwestern University as a postdoctoral research fellow (2011–2015) before taking up his Assistant Professorship.


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Franziska Lissel is a TU Dresden Young Investigator, Liebig Fellow of the Chemical Industry Fund (FCI), and Independent Research Group Leader heading the Functional Electronic Materials (FEM) group within the Leibniz-Institute of Polymer Research (IPF). The FEM group investigates the covalent introduction of redox-active metal centers into conjugated polymer backbones, the development of polymeric MALDI matrices, new concepts for stretchable polymer electronics, as well as molecules with a high dipole moment for single-molecule electronics. Previously, Dr Lissel was a postdoctoral scholar in Chemical Engineering at Stanford University where she was associated with Prof. Zhenan Bao and worked on stretchable electronics. She obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Zurich in 2014, investigating organometallic molecules for unimolecular electronics under the supervision of Prof. Heinz Berke. Dr Lissel's studies and research were awarded with several fellowships, for example by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and the Swiss Academy of Natural Sciences (SCNAT).


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Guoliang Liu earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Zhejiang University (China) in 2005. After completing his doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2011, he conducted postdoctoral research at Northwestern University, where he was named an Outstanding Researcher in the International Institute for Nanotechnology. He joined as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry and an affiliated Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Virginia Tech in Fall 2014. He is also an Assistant Professor of Virginia Tech's newly launched Nanoscience program in the Academy of Integrated Science. He is affiliated to the Macromolecules Innovation Institute (MII) and the Virginia Tech Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology (VTSuN). Liu holds over 15 issued patents, ten of which are assigned to companies such as SABIC, HGST, and Intel. Liu has been named an Inventor of the Month at Virginia Tech (2017/07). Liu is a recent recipient of the Virginia Tech Junior Faculty Award, National Science Foundation CAREER award, Air Force Young Investigator Program (YIP) Award, American Chemical Society (ACS) PRF Doctoral New Investigator (DNI) award, and ACS PMSE Young Investigator award.


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Xiaoling Liu received her PhD in Chemistry in 2017 from Dresden University of Technology, Germany, under the supervision of Prof. Brigitte Voit. After one year of postdoctoral research work at Leibniz Institute of Polymer Research Dresden, Germany, she was appointed as Associate Professor in the College of Polymer Science and Engineering at Sichuan University. Her major research interest is in the design and synthesis of new functional polymer architectures covering topics like functional block and graft copolymers, stimuli-responsive and biocompatible polymers, polymeric nanocapsules and polymeric nanomaterials for biology and biomedical applications.


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Hua Lu is currenlty an assistant professor in the College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering, Peking University (PKU). He obtained his B.Sc. in chemistry from PKU in 2006 and Ph.D. in Materials Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2011. He worked as a Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation postdoctoral fellow at The Scripps Research Institute (La Jolla) before he started his independent career at PKU in 2014. His current research focuses on novel methodologies and monomers for the controlled synthesis and medical applications of poly(α-amino acid)s, sustainable polymers, and protein–polymer hybrids.


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Andrew J. D. Magenau is an Assistant Professor of Materials Science & Engineering at Drexel University. He received his bachelor's degree in Plastics Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University and his PhD in Polymer Science & Engineering from the University of Southern Mississippi under the advisement of Professor Robson Storey. During his graduate studies, he studied polymer functionalization using click chemistry and block copolymer synthesis by combining cationic and controlled radical polymerizations. Upon completion of his PhD in 2010, he joined Professor Krzysztof Matyjaszewski at Carnegie Mellon University as a Visiting Assistant Professor where he focused on utilizing electrochemistry to mediate atom transfer radical polymerization. Following his postdoctoral studies, he worked at the NIH's Molecular Biosensors & Imaging Center developing genetically targetable fluorescent probes for live-cell imaging and DuPont's central research & development on renewably resourced barrier materials. His current research is centered on developing new synthetic platforms for controlled/living polymerization, polymer functionalization, self-assembly, and complex/hybrid polymer networks with prospective applications in additive manufacturing, advanced engineering materials, biomedical devices, and separation technologies.


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Jianguo Mei is currently an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Purdue University. He has published over 60 peer-reviewed papers with over 8500 citations, 4 book chapters and 6 granted US patents. Dr Mei is a recipient of an NSF CAREER award, Office of Naval Research Young Investigator award (ONR YIP) and Purdue's Teaching for Tomorrow Fellowship. He is also a co-Founder of Ambilight Inc., a venture-backed start-up dedicated to the commercialization of roll-to-roll manufactured thin-film electrochromics for smart windows.


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Svenja Morsbach is a research group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany. Originally, she graduated with a diploma in biomedical chemistry from the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany in 2012. During her studies, she spent seven months at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, NY, US for a research stay in the group of Prof. Joanna Fowler. Subsequently, Svenja pursued her PhD in chemistry in the group of Prof. Katharina Landfester at the MPIP from 2012 to 2015, working on interactions between nanomaterials and proteins. Starting from November 2015, Svenja took over a position at MPIP as a group leader. There she is responsible for the general polymer analytics core facility, while focusing her research interest on the engineering of nanomaterial surfaces. This involves the adsorption or covalent coupling of proteins and other biomolecules with the final aim to achieve control over the ‘biological identity’ of nanomaterials.


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Hatice Mutlu is a group leader within the Soft Matter Synthesis Laboratory (SML) at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), headed by Prof. P. Théato. After her BSc degree in Chemistry from Marmara University (Turkey), she received an MSc degree at Boğaziçi University (Turkey). Subsequently, she started her PhD studies in the research group of Prof. M. A. R. Meier, where she was engaged in a research at the interface of organic synthesis, polymer chemistry, and materials science by developing sustainable methodologies for the production of bio-based organic building blocks and polymers thereof. Afterwards, she moved as a CNRS postdoctoral fellow to Institute Charles Sadron (France) to work with Dr J.-F. Lutz, focusing on the development of modular chemical tools for advanced macromolecular engineering. Later on, she moved to KIT, where she is currently developing novel sulfur-containing polymers for potential applications ranging from biomedicine to energy storage.


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Joanna Ortyl is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Chemical Engineering and Technology at Cracow University of Technology (Poland). She is also a CEO and Co-owner of Photo HiTech Ltd (Cracow, Poland), which is specialized in development and production one component cationic photoinitiators working in visible light from 2013. She received her Ph.D. degree in Chemistry (specialty Photochemistry) at 2012 from Cracow University of Technology. She worked as a postdoctoral researcher under Prof. Dr Thomas Jüstel at Müenster University of Applied Sciences in the Institute for Optical Technologies (Germany). She also completed a Master of Business Economics (MBE) course at Haas School of Business in the University of California, Berkeley (USA). She worked as an Visiting Professor in Prof. Jacques Lalevée's group in Institute de Science des Matériaux de Mulhouse in 2015, 2016 and 2019. Her research is always based on organic chemistry, photochemistry of small molecules as well as photochemistry of polymerization processes but always are correlated with practical application. She is an inventor on more than 30 patents, she has received more than 50 international and national awards for her research.


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Felix A. Plamper studied chemistry at the University of Bayreuth, Germany, and at Lund University, Sweden. After his Ph.D. under the supervision of Axel Müller (Bayreuth), he joined Heikki Tenhu's group in 2007 for a postdoctoral stay at the University of Helsinki, Finland. He completed his habilitation at the RWTH Aachen University, Germany, becoming a docent in 2015. His main interest is in non-equilibrium self-assemblies, complexation phenomena in polymeric systems and electrochemistry of colloidal systems. He was awarded several scholarships and prizes (such as the Heisenberg Scholarship of the German Research Foundation). In 2018 he became Professor in Physical Chemistry at the TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Germany.


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Wilko Rohlfs is a specialist in fluid dynamics and heat transfer combining experimental and numerical methods to understand fundamental physical mechanisms. He holds a PhD in mechanical engineering and a PhD in economics. In Mechanical Engineering, he focused on modeling fluid dynamics of single- and multiphase flows with and without magneto-hydrodynamic actuation. To acquire deep competences in modeling surface-tension driven flows, he did his PhD with Benoit Scheid from Université libre de Bruxelles. During a post-doctoral research stay at MIT, he learned about desalination processes in John Lienhard's group. Now, he is a research group leader at the Institute of Heat and Mass Transfer, RWTH Aachen University, Germany. His group is broadly diversified using analytical and numerical methods to understand physical phenomena and to improve technical processes in terms of energy efficiency and economic value.


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Jennifer L. Schaefer is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Notre Dame. Her research group studies ion transport, interfacial phenomena, and applied polymer materials in electrochemical and electroactive devices. Prior to Notre Dame, she held an NRC Postdoctoral Research Associateship at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and completed a Ph.D. in chemical engineering at Cornell University. Schaefer is a 2017 recipient of an NSF CAREER award, a 2019–2020 ECS Toyota Young Investigator Fellowship recipient, and a 2019 Scialog Fellow in Advanced Energy Storage.


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Stephen Schrettl studied chemistry at Freie Universität Berlin (Germany) and received his PhD in Materials Science from Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL, Switzerland) in 2014, working on wet-chemical approaches toward carbon nanostructures with Prof. Holger Frauenrath. He then performed postdoctoral research first at EPFL, and then with Prof. Christoph Weder at the Adolphe Merkle Institute of the University of Fribourg (Switzerland). He is currently a group leader at the Adolphe Merkle Institute and his research interests include investigations into the structure–property relationships of supramolecular polymers, the development of bio-inspired materials by exploiting non-covalent interactions, as well as the preparation of polymers and nanocomposite materials that respond in useful and defined ways to external stimuli.


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Mona Semsarilar earned her PhD from the University of Sydney in 2010. She then moved to the University of Sheffield (UK) to work on Polymerization Induced Self-assembly (PISA) under supervision of Prof. Steven Armes (FRS). In 2015 she was recruited by the French national research organization (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique – CNRS) as a first class research scientist based in the European Institute of Membranes (Institut Européen des Membranes – IEM) in Montpellier. Her research focuses on using synthetic chemistry to tailor molecular design and control self-assembly to prepare porous materials for membrane applications. To date she has (co)authored 50 peer reviewed publications, receiving >1800 citations, and has an h-index of 20 (Web of Science).


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Myungeun Seo is a young polymer chemist interested in controlled polymer synthesis, polymer/small molecule self-assembly, and porous polymers for environmental and energy applications. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of Chemistry at KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) under the supervision of Prof. Sang Youl Kim (2008). He spent one year as a postdoctoral fellow in the same group and then moved to Prof. Marc A. Hillmyer's group at the University of Minnesota (2009–2013). He started his own career in 2013 at KAIST, and is now an associate professor in the Graduate School of Nanoscience and Technology and Department of Chemistry. He is currently serving Macromolecules as a member of the Editorial Advisory Board since 2019.


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Yoan Simon was raised in Montpellier (France), where he pursued his undergraduate studies and obtained his Diplôme d'ingénieur (M.Sc.) in chemistry from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Montpellier in 2004. Yoan completed his Ph.D. in 2008 at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in the Department of Polymer Science and Engineering where he worked under the mentorship of Professor E. Bryan Coughlin. He was then awarded an ETH Postdoctoral Fellowship to work in the Department of Materials with A. Dieter Schlüter in Zürich (Switzerland). In 2009, Yoan took on a position as Maître Assistant at the then newly founded Adolphe Merkle Institute at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) in the Polymer Chemistry and Materials group headed by Christoph Weder. In 2016, Yoan joined the School of Polymer Science and Engineering at the University of Southern Mississippi (USA) where he is currently the Southern Society for Coatings Technology Assistant Professor. Research in the Simon group has focused on stimuli-responsive macromolecular systems with a multifaceted research portfolio ranging from photon upconversion to mechanochemistry and more recently, responsive vesicles and single-chain nanoparticles.


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Chris Spicer joined the University of York as a Lecturer in Chemistry in 2018. His group is interested in designing and synthesising novel biomaterial scaffolds for tissue repair, with a particular focus on materials that can recreate the spatial and temporal complexity of natural tissues. Previously, he studied Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge, before moving to the University of Oxford to undertake a PhD with Prof. Ben Davis. Chris went on to complete postdoctoral research with Prof. Molly Stevens, first at Imperial College London and then the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, before taking up his current position.


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Jing Sun received her PhD in polymer chemistry and physics at the Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2009. She was then awarded an Alexander von Humboldt research fellowship to work at the Max Plank Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Germany. In 2010, she moved to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) as a postdoc fellow. She was promoted to be a project scientist in LBNL in 2014. In 2015, she joined Qingdao University of Science and Technology as a full professor. Her research interests include synthesis and property of bioinspired polymers that mimic the structure of natural proteins such as polypeptides and polypeptoids, smart hydrogels, antimicrobial polymers, and biomedical polymeric materials.


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Efrosyni Themistou graduated from the National Technical University of Athens (Greece) in 2001 with an MEng in Chemical Engineering (direction Biotechnology). She obtained a PhD from the University of Cyprus (Cyprus, 2006), in the polymer synthesis of star polymers and polymer networks using degradable cross-linkers under the supervision of Prof. Costas Patrickios. She worked as a postdoctoral research associate in the University of Cyprus (2006), the State University of New York – University at Buffalo (USA, 2006–2010) under the supervision of Prof. Paschalis Alexandridis, Prof. Sriram Neelamegham and Dr Chong Cheng, and the University of Sheffield (UK, 2010–2013) with Prof. Steven P. Armes and Prof. Giuseppe Battaglia. She became a Lecturer in Materials in the School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Queen's University Belfast (UK) in September 2013. Her group's main research interests are the synthesis of well-defined polymeric nanostructures and polymer biomedical applications.


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Kousuke Tsuchiya received his PhD in polymer chemistry in 2007 from Tokyo Institute of Technology after engaging in the synthesis of functional polymers under the supervision of Prof. Mitsuru Ueda. During the PhD course, he spent one year at Cornell University with Prof. Christopher K. Ober as a visiting scientist for the research of photoresist materials. He then was appointed an Assistant Professor at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, where he worked on the development of functional polymeric materials for optic and electronic devices. In 2012, he moved to Kindai University as an Assistant Professor. In 2015, he began conducting more biochemical research at RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science as a Senior Research Scientist. His current work focuses on synthesis of functional bio-based polymers, including polypeptides.


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Peter R. Wich is Senior Lecturer in the School of Chemical Engineering at the University of New South Wales in Sydney (Australia). He is a member of the Centre for Advanced Macromolecular Design (CAMD) and the Australian Center for Nanomedicine (ACN). Previously, Peter worked as Assistant Professor at the University of Mainz (Germany) and as Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the University of California Berkeley (USA). Peter leads the UNSW Research Lab for Functional Biopolymers. His primary research interests are in the fields of macromolecular chemistry at the interface between nanotechnology and bioorganic chemistry. His lab focuses on the chemical modification of natural biopolymers with the aim to engineer new multifunctional and biocompatible materials for applications in drug delivery, nanomedicine and bio-catalysis. For more information visit http://www.wichlab.com or follow him on Twitter or Instagram @peterwich.


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Yan Xia is an Assistant Professor in the Chemistry Department at Stanford University. He grew up in the older part of Beijing, which was completely different from what it is now. He received his undergraduate degree in chemistry from Peking University ('02) and MSc from McMaster University ('05). He then worked on cyclic polymers and bottlebrush polymers with Profs. Grubbs and Kornfield at Caltech and obtained his PhD in 2010. Following his PhD, he worked at Dow Chemical Company and then as a postdoc at MIT. He joined the chemistry faculty at Stanford in the summer of 2013. His research group develops efficient synthetic strategies to access and control unique (macro)molecular structures with unusual properties, driven by new synthetic capability, rational molecular design, and curiosity. He is a strong advocate for reducing carbon footprint and waste.


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Xuzhou Yan was born in China in 1986. He obtained his PhD degree from Professor Feihe Huang's group at Zhejiang University in 09/2014. Then he joined Professor Peter J. Stang's group as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Utah from 10/2014 to 07/2016. In 08/2016, he moved to Stanford University to continue his postdoctoral research until 08/2018 under the supervision of Professor Zhenan Bao. In 09/2018, he started his independent research career as a full professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University with research interests in supramolecular polymeric materials. The awards and honors he received up to now mainly include 2018 Eastern Scholar of Shanghai, Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researcher (2017 & 2018), and Outstanding PhD Dissertation Award (2015). He has published 87 papers in Nat. Chem., PNAS, JACS, Adv. Mater., etc. His publications have been cited more than 8400 times with an h-index of 41.


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Lauren Zarzar is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Pennsylvania State University. As an undergraduate, Lauren attended the University of Pennsylvania, earning bachelor's degrees in Chemistry (from the College of Arts and Sciences) and Economics (from Wharton). Subsequently, she attended graduate school at Harvard University in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology and was advised by Joanna Aizenberg. Her graduate work on bio-inspired hydrogel micro-actuators was supported by the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and the NDSEG Fellowship. During the summers of graduate school, Lauren worked at the Advanced Materials Laboratory of Sandia National Laboratories investigating multiphoton patterning of responsive gels and nanocrystalline metals. As a postdoctoral associate at MIT with Timothy Swager, she developed complex multiphase emulsions that are dynamically reconfigurable and responsive to external stimuli. Currently, her research group at Penn State focuses on dynamic materials, spanning complex emulsions to polymers, and the laser direct writing of diverse materials at liquid–solid interfaces. She is the recipient of the 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award, an ARO Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (ECASE) award, and the Unilever Award from the ACS Division of Colloid and Surface Chemistry.


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Mingming Zhang was born in China in 1986. He obtained his B.S. degree in chemistry from Zhejiang University in 2007. Then he joined the laboratory of Prof. Feihe Huang at Zhejiang University and got his PhD degree in supramolecular chemistry in 2012. He spent the years from 2012 to 2017 as a postdoctoral researcher with Prof. Younan Xia at Georgia Institute of Technology, Prof. Lyle Isaacs at the University of Maryland, College Park and Prof. Peter J. Stang at University of Utah. In 2017, he joined the School of Materials Science and Engineering at Xi'an Jiaotong University as a Professor, working on luminescent materials based on metal-coordination chemistry.


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Xing-Hong Zhang received his B. S. degree (2000) from Fuyang Normal University, M. Eng. degree (2003) from Shantou University and Ph.D. degree (2006) from ZJU. In the same year, he became an Assistant Professor. He was promoted to Associate Professor at the end of 2009 and a full Professor at the end of 2016 at ZJU. In 2012–2013, he worked as a visiting scholar at Moore group at Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. His research interest is the synthesis and catalysis of sustainable polymers, and polymerization of one-carbon (C1: CO2, COS and CS2). He has published 90+ peer-reviewed papers, including JACS, Nat. Commun., Angew. Chem., Int. Ed., Acc. Chem. Res., Polym. Chem. and Macromolecules, and 5 book chapters. He currently holds 20 authorized Chinese invention patents and 2 authorized U.S. patents. He has been invited to deliver 20+ talks in international conferences.


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Mingjiang Zhong performed undergraduate research with Professor Yun-Dong Wu at Peking University, where he received his B.S. in double majors of Chemistry and Mathematics in 2008. He obtained his Ph.D. at Carnegie Mellon University under the direction of Professors Krzysztof Matyjaszewski and Tomasz Kowalewski in 2013. He then moved to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to conduct his postdoctoral research with Professors Jeremiah A. Johnson and Bradley D. Olsen. Mingjiang joined Yale University in 2016 as an assistant professor of chemical and environmental engineering. His primary research interests span the subjects of mechanistic study of controlled/living polymerization, rational design and understanding of complex macromolecular structures, and nanocarbon and soft materials for energy and environmental applications. Mingjiang received the National Science Foundation CAREER Award and was selected as one of the ACS PMSE Young Investigators in 2019.


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