Gary R. Lapidus Faculty Fellow, Chemical Engineering
Engineered-materials that improve human health; Materials science and engineering; Green chemistry and renewable polymers; Microbiology
Life Science Laboratories
240 Thatcher Road
Amherst, MA 01003
The Schiffman lab is an interdisciplinary and imaginative research group that engineers bioinspired materials that address grand challenges in human health. We have two synergistic research thrusts. (1) In our first thrust, we focus on synthesizing materials using green chemistry and bioinspiration. Here, we look to nature to unveil creative ways to reduce our dependence on petroleum-derived polymers, organic solvents, volatile organic compounds, and/or commercial antibiotics. (2) In our second thrust, we are establishing, understanding, and controlling microbial interactions with materials. Here, we bring an excellent understanding of materials science and mechanics to the world of microbiology and for the first time, merged it with genome engineering. Taken together, our foci have enabled us to pioneer new multifunctional biomedical scaffolds that kill microbes without encouraging the development of resistance genes. Using mussel-inspired adhesives, we developed a universal contamination-free platform that can be applied to materials ranging from water purification membranes to medically relevant hydrogels. We have also reduced the use of organic solvents by developing all-aqueous manufacturing techniques. Currently, we are developing “living materials” that feature viable microorganisms and wearable electronic textiles; stay tuned for more!