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Hybrid Polymer with Covalent and Removable Supramolecular Compartments



Research Interests

Research in the Stupp group integrates chemistry with materials science, biology, and medicine. The overarching interest of the group is the development of self-assembling organic materials, focusing on functions relevant to energy and medicine.  In the area of energy science, the laboratory’s interests include, materials for solar photovoltaics, catalytic materials that can synthesize solar fuels, supramolecular ferroelectrics for non-volatile memories, and artificial muscle materials for inter-conversion of chemical and mechanical energy.  In the area of medicine, the Stupp laboratory is interested in biomaterials for regenerative medicine of the brain, spinal cord, bone, cartilage and muscle, and also on targeted systemic drug delivery using nanostructures for cancer and cardiovascular applications.  The organic structures of interest in both areas include, visible light absorbing chromophores, organometallic catalysts, electron donors and acceptors, DNA, peptides, glycopeptides, and polymers, among others.  The group is organized into three sub-groups that meet weekly to discuss progress: Self-Assembly, Energy Materials, and Biomaterials. Research activities include, molecular synthesis, characterization of structure with a broad suite of microscopies and synchrotron x-ray scattering, measurement of materials properties, computer simulations, construction of solar cell and other electronic devices, molecular and cell biology, and in vivo studies of the efficacy of materials and nanostructures in biomedical applications.

Group members in the self-assembly subgroup focus on fundamental supramolecular chemistry and materials science aimed at learning how to program molecules to assemble into functional materials.  The systems studied cover the broad range of molecular structures and functions of interest to the Stupp laboratory.

The energy materials sub-group is currently focused on materials for solar photovoltaic devices and hydrogels that can harvest light and use catalysts in their three dimensional structure to generate solar fuels such as hydrogen or to reduce carbon dioxide.  An important area of interest in this sub-group are hybrid organic-inorganic materials for energy applications, including supercapacitors and dye-sensitized solar cells.

The biomaterials subgroup focuses on the development of bioactive materials for regenerative medicine that can directly signal cells.  The chemical systems include self-assembling peptide amphiphiles, DNA nanotechnology, and biopolymers to design solid scaffolds or injectable nanostructures to create a bioactive artificial extracellular matrix.  The targets include spinal cord regeneration to avoid paralysis, treatments for Parkinson’s disease, regeneration in the heart after infarct, and strategies to regenerate muscle, bone, and cartilage, among others.  Other work in this sub-group focuses on nanostructures for use in systemic targeted therapies.

Research carried out in the Stupp Laboratory is supported by grants from: U.S. Department of Energy; National Institutes of Health; National Science Foundation; U.S. Air Force


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Northwestern University
Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering & Applied Science | Department of Materials Science & Engineering
Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences | Department of Chemistry
Feinberg School of Medicine
| Simpson Querrey Institute for BioNanotechnology
The Stupp Laboratory | Cook Hall 1127 | 2220 Campus Drive | Evanston, IL 60208 | U.S.A.
Phone: 847-491-3002 Fax: 847-491-3010
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