Postdocs     Grad Students     Undergrad Students     Alumni

Principal investigator

Charles M. Schroeder                       Brief Bio 
Ray and Beverly Mentzer Professor
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
Co-Leader, Molecular Science and Engineering Research Theme
Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
email: cms .at.

Coordinator of research programs

Mary Power
Mary received her BS in Family and Consumer Sciences from Illinois State University in 2002. Following several years in the non-profit sector, she came to the University of Illinois in 2013. Mary joined the Beckman Institute in March 2021 as Coordinator of Research Programs. Outside of the office, she enjoys traveling, crafting, baking, playing the piano, and spending time on the family farm.

email: mpower .at.


Dr. Gabriel Burks
Gabriel is interested in the nanoscale control, characterization, and in situ imaging of semicrystalline soft matter. In the Schroeder Group, he is focused on furthering our understanding of structure-property relationship of nanoparticles found in nature. In addition to studying polymers and soft materials, Gabriel has much experience as an engineering education researcher and as an upper level leader in an Illinois start-up company focused on mitigating issues related to spring frost in wine vineyards.

email: gabrielb .at.



Dr. Michael Jacobs
Michael is a Beckman Postdoctoral Fellow in the Schroeder Group. He received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. His research project is focused on controlled hierarchical assembly of proteins using molecular design and supercharging.

email: mijacobs .at.





Songsong Li
Songsong’s work focuses on molecular electronics, including charge transport in single polymers and conjugated molecules. His work has also included dynamics and assembly of thermoresponsive block copolymers using single molecule techniques. Outside of the lab, he is a backpacker and enjoys studying the Chinese history.

email: sli116 .at.



Dr. Piyush Singh
Piyush’s research is focused on soft materials, including fundamental processes in self-stratifying coatings (i.e. smart coatings). He is also interested in developing new experimental techniques and theoretical frameworks for nonlinear shear rheology, aimed at developing structure-property-processing relationships for a wide variety of materials.

email: pksingh2 .at.




Graduate Students


Michael Tu
Michael’s research is focused on the dynamics of ring polymers in flow. He is studying the dynamics of single DNA ring polymers in shear flow, and he is synthesizing and studying pure synthetic ring polymers using new methods in polymer chemistry and polymer physics. Outside of the lab, he enjoys playing musical instruments and figure skating.

email: mtu4 .at.



Eddie Jira
Eddie is interested in the synthesis and self-assembly of electrically conductive oligomers and small molecules. He is building a Molecule Maker to facilitate the automated synthesis of libraries of sequence-defined pi-conjugated oligomers. Outside of the lab, he enjoys playing tennis and reading.

email: ejira2 .at.




Hao Yu
Hao is co-advised by Professor Jeff Moore in Chemistry. His main research interests are in sequence-defined polymers and organic semiconductor materials. Outside of the lab, he is a sports fan and enjoys weight training in the gym.

email: haoy3 .at.




Jialing (Caroline) Li
Jialing (Caroline) Li is interested in studying charge transport in redox-active polymers. As an undergrad at Rice, she took part in the research of magnetically actuated colloid chains and the research of resolving flow assurance problems in oil industry. Outside of lab, she enjoys traveling, music and art.

email: jli151 .at.




Jonathan Deutsch
Jonathan is studying the dynamics of GPCR proteins using single molecule techniques. His work includes the development of new methods to trap and study single molecules using the Stokes trap.

email: jcd5 .at.



Kasra Tabatabaei
Kasra is interested in macromolecular (especially DNA) based data storage and computing systems. Outside the lab, he enjoys reading, music, working out, and playing chess.

email: skt4 .at.




Hao (Alvin) Yang
Hao (Alvin) Yang is studying charge transport at the single molecule level. In particular, his work focuses on understanding the mechanisms behing long-range charge transport in heme-containing peptide polymers using the STM break junction method. Outside of the lab, Alvin is a coffee enthusiast who dedicated to extract the most flavorful and aromatic compound out of coffee bean.

email: haoy7 .at.>


Hung Nguyen
Hung Nguyen is studying the dynamics of entangled linear polymers in flow, including the transient dynamics of linear and ring polymers under highly non-equilibrium conditions. Outside of the lab, Hung enjoys traveling, drawing, painting, and swimming.

email: hvn2 .at.




Seungjoo Yi
Seungjoo Yi is interested in automated chemical synthesis of organic small molecules and functional polymers. He is designing and building new libraries of organic molecules using a custom Molecule Maker instrument that enables automated synthesis of diverse compounds. Outside of the lab, he enjoys playing and watching tennis.

email: yi22 .at.



Seongon Jang
Seongon Jang is co-advised with Professor Christopher Evans in Materials Science and Engineering. He is interested in the design, synthesis, and characterization of mixed ion/electron conductors. His work includes the material synthesis of oligomers and polymers using automated iterative methods, in addition to materials characterization. Outside of the lab, he enjoys traveling and watching documentaries.

email: seongon2 .at.



Undergraduate Students

Kyle Gray

Kyle is in the Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at Illinois. He is working with Dr. Gabriel Burks to understand the structure and properties of self-assembled biomaterials known as brochosomes, which are produced naturally by leafhoppers. Outside of the lab, he enjoys traveling, music, and working out.




Group Pictures

June 2021 – Group dinner to celebrate Dinesh Kumar and Songsong Li (recent PhDs)
May 2019 – Schroeder Group Photo in front of Beckman Institute
June 2018 – GAMES Camp activities (Girls Adventures on Mathematics, Engineering, and Science); Eddie Jira and Charles Schroeder (not pictured: Shivani Patel and Dinesh Kumar)
April 2018 – Illinois Marathon, Relay Team (Songsong Li, Dinesh Kumar, Charles Schroeder, Michael Tu)
September 2017
April 2016