The research of Professor Rubner's group is focused on the design, fabrication and properties of ultra-thin films of polymers for electrical, optical, and biomaterial applications. Much of this research utilizes a molecular-level layer-by-layer processing technique that makes it possible to fabricate complex thin film heterostructures with a wide range of properties. Properties and applications of current interest include anti-fogging coatings, anti-reflection coatings, photonic band-gap reflectors, bio-inert coatings, bio-specific coatings, micro- and nanoporous thin films, structural color, cell surface engineering and biosensors. Fundamental studies are aimed at understanding hydrogen bonding and electrostatic multilayer assembly, interactions of cells and bacteria with surfaces, and mechanisms controlling the wetting of surfaces with water.

Please see the research page for current research examples


Congratulations to Jonathan Gilbert for winning a 2013 Graduate Student Speaker Award at the Materials Research Society meeting in Boston. His work on "Orientation-Specific Attachment of Polymeric Microtubes on Cell Surfaces" was presented during Symposium I: Multiscale Materials in the Study and Treatment of Cancer.


Graduate student Rosanna Lim won first place in the materials engineering and sciences poster session at the annual AIChE conference in San Francisco. She presented on the "Covalent Attachment of Polyelectrolyte Multilayers to Cells." .


Congratulations to Hyomin Lee for winning the '2013 Global Top Talent Forum Award for Outstanding Presentation' from Hyundai motors.


Jonathan Gilbert's work on fabricating tubular particles presenting heterogeneous regions of chemistry to control the particle orientation on the surface of live lymphocytes was recently featured in Nature News & Views. Controlling the orientation of anisotropic microparticles on cell surfaces is of interest for biomedical applications such as bottom up tissue engineering and drug delivery since it can be used to promote or resist particle internalization.


Spectacle Island Group Photo

August 2013: The Rubner and Cohen group enjoyed a summer group outing along the beach at Spectacle Island in the Boston Harbor. It was the perfect sunny day for having a picnic, walking around the island, and even jumping into the water.


PhDCEP graduate student, Rosanna Lim, has been awarded the Chyn Duog Shiah Memorial Fellowship for 2013-2014, which is a fellowship offered by the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education. This fellowship supports a graduate student of Chinese ancestry, with a preference to chemical engineering students.


Jonathan Gilbert's work on 'Depth-profiling X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) analysis of interlayer diffusion in polyelectrolyte multilayers ' has been published in PNAS. [abstract]


Cohen and Rubner to be honored at 2013 Spring ACS Meeting in New Orleans: Longtime research collaborators Robert Cohen and Michael Rubner will be inducted as Fellows of two separate divisions of the American Chemical Society at a joint award ceremony to be held on Wednesday April 10. Cohen will be inducted as a Fellow of the Division of Polymer Chemistry, and Rubner will become a Fellow of the Division of Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering. These large and active divisions of ACS select Fellows from their memberships each year. Cohen will join 5 others in this year's class of POLY Fellows and Rubner will be among a group of 8 PMSE Fellows. Last year at the Spring 2012 ACS meeting Cohen received the Paul J Flory Polymer Education Award from the POLY Division.


Group member Hyomin Lee won best poster at Materials Processing Center Poster session on Oct 17th 2012 for his poster titled "Zwitter-Wettability and Antifogging Coatings with Frost Resisting Capabilities"


March 9 2011. Thomson Reuters has identified the world's top 100 chemists and Professor Michael Rubner is listed as #40 . They were ranked by the highest citation impact scores for their papers (articles and reviews) published since January 2000. Impact is a weighted measure of influence that seeks to reveal consistently superior performance. To ensure that a high score could not be achieved by a few highly cited papers, a threshold of 50 papers was used in the analysis. Link to Article: 4,004 citations and imapct factor of 78.51


Graduate student Jonathan Gilbert presented a talk on "Methods of polymeric backpacks attachment for cell-mediated drug delivery" in the 244th ACS National Meeting & Exposition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the Abiotic/Biotic Interfaces session (Thursday, August 23 2012 at 2:00 PM).


Work in the Rubner group was presented at the 2012 APS March Meeting in Boston, MA.


Work in the Rubner group was presented at the 2011 MRS Fall Meeting in Boston, MA.

  • Tue. Nov. 29, 2:00 PM, Room 203 (Hynes) (JJ4.2)
    "Polymeric Backpacks for Cell-Mediated Drug Delivery"
    Jonathan Gilbert, Aaron Anselmo, Albert Swiston, Nishit Doshi, Samir Mitragotri, Robert Cohen and Michael Rubner
  • Mon. Nov. 28, 8:00 PM, Hynes Exhibition Hall D (MM3.15-Poster Session)
    "Immune Cell Multi-Layers Assembled Using Layer-by-Layer Processing"
    Girma T. Endale, Michael F. Rubner and Robert E. Cohen;

Work in the Rubner group involving Hydrogen-bonded assembly of layer-by-layer films will be presented at the 2011 ACS Fall Meeting in Denver, CO. Group member Hyomin Lee, who is co-advised by Prof. Michael F. Rubner of the Materials Science Department, will present a poster of his work on "Hydrogen-bonded layer-by-layer films composed of poly(vinyl alcohol) and poly(acrylic acid)" in the Polyelectrolyte Complexes and Multilayers Poster Session (Monday, August 29 at 6:00 PM).


The Rubner group would like to bid farewell to our recent graduates: Dr. Wui Siew Tan and Dr. Khek-Khiang (Gary) Chia, and wish them well in their current endeavors.