Principal Investigator

Nathaniel A. Lynd, Ph. D., Assistant Professor
McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering

email: lynd [at]

CV: cv-lynd

Google Scholar Profile

Bio: Nate was born in Kalamazoo, MI. As an undergraduate, Nate did research under Gregory L. Baker on renewable-resource derived polymers and graduated with a B.S. in chemistry, and a B.A. in German. He completed his Ph.D. in polymer chemistry at the University of Minnesota under Marc A. Hillmyer in late 2007. The title of his thesis was “The Effects of Polydispersity on Block Copolymer Self-Assembly”. Nate was a postdoctoral scholar in the Materials Research Laboratory at UCSB in 2007–2010 with Glenn H. Fredrickson, Craig J. Hawker, and the late Edward J. Kramer. Nate worked as a project scientist at UCSB during 2010–2013. After that time, Nate moved to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory as a staff scientist before moving to UT-Austin in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering in 2015.

Postdoctoral Scholars


Robert C. Ferrier, Ph. D. (rferrier [at]

CV: cv-ferrier

Bio: Dr. Robert C. Ferrier, Jr. grew up outside of Philadelphia, PA. He attended Drexel University where he earned a B.S. in Physics and a M.S. in Materials Science and Engineering in 2009. While at Drexel, Robert worked under the supervision of Prof. Christopher Y. Li on the synthesis and assembly of polymer-grafted, Janus nanoparticles. Robert then earned a Ph.D. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania in 2015. Robert was advised by Prof. Russell J. Composto and worked on understanding and mediating the interactions between polymer grafted nanorods and free polymer chains to tune properties of polymer nanocomposites. During his Ph.D., Robert also received fellowships to perform research in Kyoto, Japan at Kyoto University and Grenoble, France at CNRS. In Japan, Robert worked for 3 months with Prof. Kohji Ohno on polymerizations initiated at specific facets of gold nanorods. In France, Robert worked for 5 months with Drs.Patrice Rannou, Brigitte Pépin-Donat, and Didier Gasparutto on the co-assembly of gold nanorods and organic semiconductors with DNA. Robert joined Prof. Nathaniel A. Lynd’s lab in February of 2016. Robert ultimately wants to lead a research group as a professor with a focus on combining polymer chemistry and polymer physics to make useful materials.

Research: Robert is developing a facile polymerization platform for epoxides using aluminum based initiators. Robert is also working on studying the assembly of polymer grafted nanoparticles and tuning properties of polymer nanocomposites.

Goliath Beniah, Ph. D. (goliath.beniah [at]

CV: cv-beniah

Bio: Dr. Goliath Beniah was born and raised in Medan, Indonesia. He obtained his Bachelor of Engineering degree in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering in 2009 from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. During his undergraduate studies, he worked with Dr. Yi-Yan Yang at Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, A-STAR, Singapore to develop novel cationic polymers for drug and gene delivery applications. He then completed an attachment with Bioprocessing Technology Institute, A-STAR, Singapore to learn about biopharmaceutical manufacturing and subsequently worked with Lonza Group in Singapore for 2.5 years as manufacturing biotechnologist. In 2012, he moved to Chicago to begin his graduate studies at Northwestern University (NU). He earned his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering in March 2017 under the supervision of Prof. John M. Torkelson. In his thesis, he developed novel segmented non-isocyanate polyurethane from cyclic carbonate aminolysis chemistry to produce polyhydroxyurethane thermoplastic elastomers and examined their structure-property-relationships. While at NU, he maintained a productive collaboration with scientists from The Dow Chemical Company in Freeport, TX and with the NU Chemistry department. In May 2017, he joined Prof. Nathaniel A. Lynd and Prof. Keith P. Johnston’s groups in the department of Chemical Engineering at University of Texas at Austin, working on the development of polymer coated magnetic nanoparticle to improve its mobility in high salinity and high temperature conditions for subsurface imaging of oil reservoir.

Research: Goliath is interested in investigating new class of polyelectrolytes to improve the stability of polymer coated magnetic nanoparticle in high salinities and temperature. His other research interests include structure-property-relationships of non-isocyanate polyurethane and polymer from sustainable resources.

Graduate Students


Aaron A. Burkey (burkey [at]

Bio: Aaron received his B.S. in chemical and biomolecular engineering from Ohio University in 2015. At Ohio University, he did research with the Sustainable Energy and Advanced Materials Laboratory and the Center for Electrochemical Engineering Research. He began his Ph.D. work with Dr. Nate Lynd’s group at the University of Texas at Austin in fall of 2015.

Research: Aaron studies polymer/ice interactions. His goal is to guide the development of improved cryopreservative materials for frozen storage of cells and tissue.


Malgorzata Chwatko

email: malgorzata.chwatko [at]

Bio: Malgorzata graduated from University of Connecticut in 2015 with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and a minor in Molecular and Cell Biology. While at UCONN she worked for Prof. Jeffrey McCutcheon on the improving membrane’s structure and hydrophilicity for the use in water purification technologies. She joined the Lynd Group in the fall of 2015.

Research: Malgorzata is currently developing new synthetic strategies towards sustainable polymeric materials.


Grad Board Headshot

Caitlin Donovan (caitlind [at]

Bio: Caitlin graduated from The Rochester Institute of Technology in 2016 with a B. S. in Chemical Engineering. While completing her degree, she worked with Dr. Christiaan Richter to synthesize titanium dioxide nanotubes for use as anodes in lithium ion batteries. She also held three cooperative education internships at RoviSys, Dow Corning, and Novomer with focuses including process automation and control, process engineering for product quality, and research and development of new production processes. After graduation Caitlin relocated to The University of Texas at Austin to pursue her graduate degree in chemical engineering. She is jointly advised by Dr. Lynd and Dr. Brennecke.

Research: Caitlin is studying the encapsulation of ionic liquids in selective polymer shells for application in carbon dioxide capture as a jointly advised student with the Brennecke Group.


Gang Fan (gangfan [at]

Bio: Gang Fan received his M. S. in chemical engineering from Tianjin University in 2014. While at Tianjin University, Gang worked under the supervision of Prof. Zhijian Chen and completed his master thesis on “Supramolecular Assemblies Based on Amphiphilic Boron-Dipyrromethene Dyes and Their Applications in Bioimaging.” Meanwhile, he was co-advised by Dr. Hao Wang at National Center for Nanoscience and Technology (NCNST), Chinese Academy of Science. At NCNST, Gang worked on poly(β-amino ester)s for drug and photoacoustic agent delivery. In 2014, he was awarded Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) fellowship, and worked shortly in the lab of Prof. Vasilis Ntziachristos, Technische Universität München(TUM). Gang started the Ph. D. program at UT-Austin in 2015, and is now a Ph.D. candidate jointly advised by Dr. Lynd and Dr. Keitz in Chemical Enigneering at UT Ausin.

Research: Gang’s research focus is on advanced healthcare materials and microbial directed polymer synthesis.


Jennifer Imbrogno (jennifer.imbrogno [at]

Bio: Jennifer graduated from State University of New York at Stony Brook with a B.E. in Chemical and Molecular Engineering in 2016. Spent three years under Dr. Tadanori Koga researching the self-assembly of block polymers in thin films at the polymer-substrate interface. Jennifer studied a minor in Japanese Studies, and worked as a TA for Organic Chemistry for 3 years

Research: My research will focus on the design and optimization of catalysts for epoxide based monomer polymerization.


Jai Hyun Koh (jhkoh [at]

Bio: Jai Hyun Koh graduated from Seoul National University (SNU) with a M.S. and a B.S. in Chemical and Biological Engineering. While at SNU, he conducted research under Dr. Kookheon Char on developing soft lithographic techniques for biomimetic water-repelling surfaces. After graduation, Jai Hyun worked as a research scientist at Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) where he did research on electrocatalytic CO2 reduction. In 2016, he moved to the University of Texas at Austin to pursue a Ph.D. degree in Chemical Engineering. He is co-advised by Dr. Nathaniel A. Lynd and Dr. C. Grant Willson.

Research: Jai Hyun is currently working on the synthesis of silicon-containing block copolymers and their applications in lithography and polymer electrolyte membranes.


Paul W. Meyer (paul.meyer [at]

Bio: Paul graduated from Texas Tech University in 2012 with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and a minor in Physics. As an undergraduate, Paul worked under the direction of Dr. Harvinder Gill, where he assembled gold nanoparticles for use in a universal Influenza A vaccine and also began a biodistribution study of said nanoparticles in mice. He has also completed two internships as a process engineer at both HollyFrontier and Renewable Energy Group. Paul joined the Lynd group near the end of 2016 and is co-advised by Dr. Willson. He also enjoys singing while using cleaning products.

Research: Paul’s current research focuses on generating new block polymers for use in directed self-assembly applications. Future projects consist of generating high molecular weight polymers for oil recovery while also investigating polymer-based battery separators/electrolytes.

rodriguez-christinaChristina G. Rodriguez (cgrodriguez [at]

Bio: Christina majored in Chemistry in the College of Letters and Science at UC Santa Barbara and graduated in 2012. While at UCSB she worked under Prof. Craig Hawker through the internship program California Alliance for Minority Participation (CAMP). Her research focused on polymers for biomedical applications as well as DNA sequencing and smart coatings. After graduation she worked at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab exploring properties of polymers to better tune membranes for solar fuels. In 2015 she moved to Austin to pursue a Ph.D. in chemical engineering under the advisement of Dr. Lynd and Dr. Freeman.

Research: Christina is developing a synthetic platform for polyether membranes used in gas separations.

Bill Wheatle

Bill K. Wheatle (bkw686 [at]

Bio: Bill graduated from Cornell University in 2011 with a B.S. in chemical engineering. At Cornell, he studied the electrochemical behavior of Prussian blue type films electrodeposited on nickel surfaces and electroactive monomers in the presence of small metal cations. Aside from his work as a graduate student, Bill is an avid (but still novice) homebrewer.

Research: Bill is the theory and simulation powerhouse of the group! He studies ion solvation and dynamics in high polarity polymer electrolytes using molecular dynamics simulations and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. He also uses density functional theory to study polyether catalysts.

Qingjun Zhu - Portrait

Qingjun Zhu (qingjunzhu [at]

Bio: Qingjun Zhu graduated from Zhejiang University (ZJU) with a M. S. in Chemical Engineering and Technology in 2016. While at ZJU, he conducted research under the supervision of Prof. Kun Cao and Prof. Zhen Yao in the State Key Laboratory of Chemical Engineering. His research focused on developing effective polymeric additives as flow improvers for heavy crude oils. After graduation, he moved to the University of Texas at Austin to pursue a Ph.D. degree in Chemical Engineering. He is jointly advised by Dr. Nathaniel A. Lynd and Dr. C. Grant Willson.

Research: Qingjun is currently working on the synthesis and directed self-assembly of high χ block copolymers for applications in lithography and polymer separators/electrolytes in lithium-ion batteries.

Undergraduate Students

If interested in carrying out undergraduate research in the Lynd group, please fill out the form after the jump. [link]