Jessica D. Schiffman

Assistant Professor & James M Douglas Career Development Faculty Fellow

Research Areas

  • Materials synthesis (hydrogels, nanofibers, particles, thin-films, membranes)
  • Characterization of materials (chemistry, morphology, function)
  • Microbial interactions with materials and interfaces (cell viability, antifouling materials, encapsulation technologies, microbial transport on materials)
  • Green chemistry and engineering to control biological fouling, attachment, and function

Current Research

The Schiffman lab is an interdisciplinary and imaginative research group that designs and applies “greener” materials toward new solutions to grand challenges in human health. To achieve this goal, we have two synergistic research thrusts. In Thrust 1, Materials from biopolymers and bioactive molecules, we fundamentally prove the historically recognized intrinsic properties of biopolymers and bioactive agents by employing modern characterization techniques. With a nuanced understanding of their properties, i.e., antibacterial activity, metal ion selectivity, corrosion inhibition, we synthesize new materials that enhance their functionalities using structure-property relationships. In Thrust 2, Fundamental studies at the materials-microorganism interface, we bring an excellent understanding of materials science and engineering to the world of microbiology. We have established materials-based strategies to deter microbial contamination by studying how bacteria and microbial communities interact with materials, such as, coatings, hydrogels, membranes, and nanofibers. This work addresses the grand challenge humanity faces as microorganisms continue to gain tolerance to commercial drugs.

Learn more at

Academic Background

  • BS Rutgers University, 2003
  • M Eng Cornell University, 2004
  • PhD Drexel University, 2009
  • Postdoctoral Training: Yale University, 2009-2011
For a full list of publications see Google scholar:
Kurtz, I.S. and Schiffman, J.D. (2018) “Current and emerging approaches to engineer antibacterial and antifouling electrospun nanofibers” Materials 11(7), 1059.
Kolewe, K.W., Dobosz, K.M., Emrick, T., Nonnenmann, S.S., Schiffman, J.D. (2018) “Fouling-resistant hydrogels prepared by the swelling-assisted infusion and polymerization of dopamine” ACS Applied Bio Materials. In Press.
Kolewe, K.W., Xhu, J., Mako N., Nonnenmann, S.S., Schiffman, J.D. (2018) “Bacterial adhesion Is affected by the thickness and stiffness of poly(ethylene glycol) hydrogels” ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 10(3), 2275–2281.
Meng, X., Perry, S.L., Schiffman, J.D. (2017) “Complex coacervation: Chemically stable fibers electrospun from aqueous polyelectrolyte solutions” ACS Macro Letters 6, 505–511.
Dobosz, K.M., Kuo-LeBlac, C.A., Martin, T.J., Schiffman, J.D. (2017) “Ultrafiltration membranes enhanced with electrospun nanofibers exhibit improved flux and fouling resistance” Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research 56(19), 5724–5733.
Rieger, K.A., Thyagarajan, R., Hoen, M., Ford, D., Schiffman, J.D. (2016) “Transport of microorganisms into cellulose nanofiber mats” RSC Advances 6, 24438-24445.
Kolewe, K.W., Peyton, S.R., Schiffman, J.D. (2015) “Fewer bacteria adhere to softer hydrogels” ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 7(35), 19562–19569.
Contact Info

Chemical Engineering
N533 Life Sciences Laboratories
240 Thatcher Road
Amherst MA 01003-9364