Polymers, Biomaterials, Materials Chemistry
The key to future technology is the design and fabrication of functional materials having structures ordered down to the molecular level. This goal can't be reached by conventional "top-down" approaches and remains as the "holy grail" using synthetic materials such as block copolymers. In addition, there have been limitations in the functionalization of these nanostructured materials. On the other hand, nature has made a dizzying array of materials using a few building blocks. Remarkable progress has been made in de novo protein design and various peptides have been designed with well-defined structure-sequence relationship and are able to mimic or exceed natural protein functions with much more simple, yet robust, structures. Researches in Xu's group take advantage of the recent developments in de novo protein design and peptidomimetics, polymer science and nanoparticles synthesis and manipulation, and use designed peptides and proteins in concert with the self-assembly of block copolymers, conjugated molecule and nanoparticles as platforms to generate nanostructured materials. Her group aims to generate hierarchical structures spanning multi-length scales down to few nanometers with built-in biological, electrical and magnetic functionalities. Her research group focuses on a fundamental understanding of the physics of assemblage on multiple length scales leading to the design and assembly of functional thin films with tailored functionalities.
B.S. Dalian University of Technology (1996); M.S Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences (1999); Ph.D University of Massachusetts, Amherst (2004); Postdoc University of Pennsylvania and Cold Neutron for Biology and Technology (CNBT) at NIST (2004-2007); Assistant Professor, University of California, Berkeley (2007); University of Massachusetts graduate school fellowship (2001); MRS graduate student silver award (2003); 2007 DuPont Science and Technology Grant recipient; 2008 3M Nontenured Faculty Award recipient; 2008 DuPont Young Professor Award recipient; 2009 ONR-Young Investigator Award recipient; named as one of “Brilliant 10” by Popular Science Magazine in 2009; 2010 Li Ka Shing Woman Research Award recipient; 2011 Camille-Dreyfus Scholar-Teacher Award recipient; and 2011 ACS Arthur K. Doolittle Award recipient.