Schroeder Group Research

Our research focuses on understanding the dynamics of soft materials using single molecule techniques. We are particularly interested in studying the non-equilibrium dynamics of polymers and colloids using single molecule fluorescence microscopy, in addition to biophysical studies of DNA-binding proteins. Our work also focuses on understanding the self-assembly and directed assembly of biohybrid materials at the molecular scale. In many cases, we strive for a quantitative understanding of the microscale physics governing the macroscopic or emergent properties of materials, which is rooted in fundamental concepts in transport and fluid mechanics. Recent work has included: (1) extending the field of single polymer dynamics to new materials, including topologically complex polymers such as ring polymers, branched polymers, and copolymers, (2) development and application of the Stokes trap to study soft material dynamics, including vesicle fusion and coalescence, (3) studying the self-assembly properties of optoelectronic materials such as pi-conjugated oligopeptides, and (4) single molecule biophysics and direct observation of TALE protein dynamics.

Recent News

  • August 2017 – We welcome new group member Jin Yu, who is a Ph.D. student in Materials Science & Engineering. Welcome to the group, Jin!
  • August 2017 – Congratulations to Michael Tu and Dinesh Kumar, both of whom recently passed the PhD Qualification Exams in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering! Congrats!
  • August 2017 – Our recent paper on the elasticity of bottlebrush polymers has been accepted at Physical Review Letters. This work was a collaboration with Omar Saleh’s group at UCSB.
  • August 2017 – Charles has been promoted to the rank of Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering.
  • August 2017 – Congrats to Schroeder Group alum Eric Johnson-Chavarria, who has been selected as an NIH-AAAS Science and Technology Fellow, working in the Structural Biology Molecular Applications Branch (SBMAB). Eric will be working to help bring promising technologies to answer the challenges facing the cancer moonshot initiatives.
  • August 2017 – Our recent paper on developing a new microrheological technique to measure extensional viscosity of polymer solutions has been accepted at Physics of Fluids. Congrats to Kaiwen Hsiao and collaborators Jelena Dinic and Vivek Sharma!
  • August 2017 – Our recent paper on the sol-gel transition, microrheology, and optical properties of pi-conjugated oligopeptides has been accepted at ACS Central Science. Congrats to Peter Zhou, Songsong Li, and Bo Li!
  • August 2017 – Dr. Melikhan Tanyeri, a former postdoctoral fellow in the Schroeder group, has accepted a tenure-track position in the Biomedical Engineering Department at Duquesne University. Congrats to Melikhan!
  • June 2017 – Congratulations to Peter Zhou, who was awarded the 2nd place prize in the student competition at the 21st Annual 2017 GLCACS (Great Lakes Chinese American Chemical Society) Conference in Evanston, IL this weekend. Congrats on a great job!
  • May 2017 – Congratulations to Anish Shenoy, who successfully defended his Ph.D. thesis in May 2017! Anish has accepted a position as research engineer at Intel beginning in Summer 2017.
  • May 2017 – Congratulations to Schroeder group alum Arnab Mukherjee (Ph.D., Illinois ChBE, 2014), who has accepted a position as assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of California-Santa Barbara starting in Fall 2017. Congrats and best wishes to Arnab!
  • May 2017 – Charles returns from a great visit to the University of California-Santa Barbara, where he gave the departmental seminar in Chemical Engineering and a second seminar in the CIRF/Fluids group. Thank you to Matt Helgeson for arranging a wonderful visit!
  • April 2017 – Charles gave a keynote talk at the Annual European Rheology Conference (AERC) in Copenhagen and an invited talk at the 2017 INNFM meeting (Institute for Non-Newtownian Fluid Mechanics) in Wales. Many thanks to Karl Hawkins and the INNFM meeting organizers for a great meeting, and to Rob Poole for hosting a visit to University of Liverpool!
  • March 2017 – Congratulations to Kaiwen Hsiao, who successfully defended her Ph.D. thesis! Kaiwen has accepted a position as research engineer at Intel beginning in Summer 2017. Great work Kaiwen!
  • March 2017 – Charles gave an invited talk at the APS March Meeting in New Orleans. Many thanks to Vivek Sharma for organizing a great session on polymer flexibility and dynamics.
  • January 2017 – Congratulations to Dinesh Kumar and Michael Tu, who successfully passed the Quantitative Qualification exam in ChBE!
  • January 2017 – Charles is a Visiting Associate at Caltech for Spring 2017. Many thanks to John Brady and the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering for being gracious hosts!
  • January 2017 – Charles presented on single molecule studies of TALE protein dynamics at the 2017 International Conference on Biomolecular Engineering (ICBE) in San Diego, CA. Thanks to Pete Tessier and Katy Kao for a great meeting!
  • December 2016 – Our recent paper on non-equilibrium assembly of pi-conjugated oligopeptides has been accepted at ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces. Congrats to Bo Li!
  • December 2016 – Our work was selected to appear on the front cover of the Jan-Feb 2017 issue of Journal of Rheology. Congrats to Kaiwen Hsiao and thanks to collaborators Ravi Prakash at Monash University.
  • November 2016 – Kaiwen Hsiao, Songsong Li, Peter Zhou, Bo Li, and Charles attended the 2016 Annual AIChE Meeting in San Francisco, CA. Great job to everyone for giving high quality talks and posters. Also of note at the meeting – Charles was elected Vice Chair of Area 1J for AIChE.
  • October 2016 – Our paper on single polymer dynamics in semi-dilute solutions in extensional flow has been accepted at Journal of Rheology. Congrats to Kaiwen Hsiao for a very nice paper, and thanks to our collaborators and co-authors Ravi Prakash Jagadeeshen and Chandi Sasmal at Monash University!
  • October 2016 – Congrats to Kaiwen Hsiao, who was awarded the second place prize for her talk at the ChBE Annual Graduate Student Symposium!
  • October 2016 – We welcome Dinesh Kumar and Micheal Tu to the group. Dinesh and Michael have officially joined as two first year ChBE graduate students in the Schroeder lab. Welcome to Michael and Dinesh!
  • October 2016 – Our second paper on single polymer dynamics in large amplitude oscillatory extensional flow has been accepted at Macromolecules. Congrats to Peter Zhou!
  • September 2016 – Our perspective article on studying complex polymer architectures using single molecule imaging has appeared in Current Opinion in Colloid and Interface Science. Congrats to Danielle Mai!
  • August 2016 – Our paper on single polymer dynamics in large amplitude oscillatory extensional flow has been accepted at Physical Review Fluids. Congrats to Peter Zhou!
  • August 2016 – Charles returns from giving a keynote talk at the International Congress on Rheology (ICR 2016) in Kyoto, Japan and from attending a workshop on “New Aspects of Micro and Macroscopic Flows in Soft Matter” at OIST in Okinawa, Japan. Thanks to Amy Shen for organizing a particularly awesome visit to Okinawa! And to Simon Haward for a great snorkeling adventure.
  • July 2016  – We are collaborating with a multi-university team to develop sequence-defined synthetic polymers by engineering the translation apparatus. The work is funded by a MURI award from the Department of Defense, with fellow team members Mike Jewett, Andy Ellington, Jeff Moore, and Eric Gaucher. The full news story is here.
  • June 2016 – Anish Shenoy was awarded 3rd place prize in the Langmuir Graduate Student Awards Session for his talk on the Stokes trap at the 90th ACS Colloid & Surface Science Symposium. Congrats to Anish!
  • June 2016 – Our recent paper on TALE proteins has been accepted at Nature Chemical Biology. See the news article here.
  • June 2016 – Danielle Mai has been invited to give a seminar at the 2016 Distinguished Young Scholars Seminar (DYSS) series at the University of Washington. Congrats to Danielle on this honor!
  • May 2016 – Danielle Mai has been invited to give a talk on her research at the 2016 Gordon Research Seminar on Polymer Physics in July 2016. Danielle will present a talk at the GRS entitled “Single Molecule Dynamics of Branched DNA Polymers”.
  • May 2016 – Kaiwen Hsiao receives the Outstanding Student Research Award at the 20th Annual 2016 GLCACS (Great Lakes Chinese American Chemical Society) Conference. Congrats to Kaiwen!
  • May 2016 – Danielle Mai successfully defended her PhD thesis entitled “Single Molecule Studies of Branched Polymer Dynamics”. Danielle has accepted a postdoctoral position at MIT. Congrats to Danielle!
  • May 2016  Our recent paper on the Stokes trap has been highlighted in Nature Physics.
  • May 2016 – Kaiwen Hsiao has been selected to present her research in the Excellence in Graduate Polymer Research session at 2016 AIChE in San Francisco, CA. Congrats to Kaiwen!
  • April 2016 – Luke Cuculis is a newly minted PhD from the Schroeder group. Luke successfully defended his thesis entitled “Single Molecule Investigation of TALE Protein Search Dynamics”. He is taking a position at BCG in August 2016. Congrats to Luke!
  • April 2016 – Anish Shenoy was selected to present his research in the Langmuir Graduate Student Awards Session at the 90th ACS Colloid & Surface Science Symposium at Harvard in June 2016. Congrats and best of luck to Anish!
  • April 2016 – Peter Zhou was awarded a 2016-17 Mavis Future Faculty Fellowship (MF3) from the College of Engineering at Illinois. Congrats to Peter!