Samuel Stupp is a chemist and materials scientist recognized for his work on self-assembly and supramolecular chemistry. He has developed strategies to create self-assembling soft materials, supramolecular polymers, and templated organic-inorganic hybrid materials with functions relevant to renewable energy, organic electronics, and regenerative medicine. Stupp was born and raised in Costa Rica and came to the United States in 1968 to initiate his undergraduate education. He obtained his B.S. degree in chemistry in 1972 at the University of California at Los Angeles, and his PhD in 1977 in materials science and engineering at Northwestern University. He joined the faculty at Northwestern after graduation in 1977, then moved to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1980, and returned to the Northwestern faculty in 1999 as Board of Trustees Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Chemistry, Medicine, and Biomedical Engineering. He directs at Northwestern the Simpson Querrey Institute focused on interdisciplinary research and also the Center for Bio-Inspired Energy Science, an Energy Frontiers Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Stupp is also a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Spanish Royal Academy, and the National Academy of Inventors.

Research Interests

Samuel Stupp's laboratory focuses on supramolecular self-assembly aimed at creating materials and nanostructures with functions ranging from biological activity and photocatalysis to electronic properties and actuation that emulates living organisms. His laboratory designs and synthesizes organic molecules programmed to spontaneously form nanostructures and superstructures with hierarchical organization across scales. He established many fundamental principles on how molecular structure programs formation of zero-, one-, and two-dimensional supramolecular assemblies based on both attractive and repulsive interactions. The laboratory has also developed strategies to template inorganic structures within supramolecular assemblies inspired by biomineralization in nature. An important area of interest in the Stupp laboratory has been the supramolecular self-assembly of peptide amphiphiles in water, which led to a broad platform of bioactive materials for use in regenerative medicine. These materials form hydrogels based on supramolecular filaments that display signals to cells and activate receptors to regenerate tissues such as bone, cartilage, muscle, blood vessels, and axons in the spinal cord. In the area of renewable energy the laboratory has developed materials for the synthesis of solar fuels in which the supramolecular assemblies support formation and motion of excitons to photosensitize catalysts. Very recent work focuses on supramolecular dynamics and its role in actuation to create robotic soft matter and optimize bioactivity.

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Primary Section

Section 14: Chemistry

Secondary Section

Section 31: Engineering Sciences