MatSE Research Across UIUC

Materials Science and Engineering at UIUC is highly interdisciplinary and collaborative. As such, our MatSE students conduct research across all disciplines. Below is a list of professors’ research groups that have MatSE students:

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

A microfluid chip to study glioblastoma

Brendan Harley

The Harley Lab develops biomaterials that replicate the dynamic, spatially-patterned, and heterogeneous microenvironment found in the tissues and organs of our body in order to study cancer, stem cells, women’s health, and heal musculoskeletal injuries.

MatSE contact: Marley Dewey -

Keywords: glioblastoma, hematopoiesis, stem cells, hydrogels, collagen scaffolds, craniomaxillofacial injuries, tendon-to-bone junction repair, microfluidics

Optical spectroscopy for image-guided surgery, wearable spectroscopic devices, digital health

Shuming Nie

The Nie Lab research primarily focuses in nanotechnology, image-guided robotic surgery, wearable spectroscopic devices, and digital health.

MatSE contact: Ruiyang Xue -

Keywords: nano technology, perovskite quantum cubes, image-guided cancer surgery, wearable specroscopic devices, digital health

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Growth equipment, material/defect charerization at various length scales, and device performance

Minjoo Larry Lee

The Lee Lab grows III-AsP compound semiconductor materials with molecular beam epitaxy and characterizes the material quality to design, grow, fabricate, and test optoelectronic devices such as solar cells, lasers, and LEDs.

MatSE contact: Ryan Hool -

Keywords: III-V compound semiconductors, synthesis, epitaxy, microscopy, dislocation characterization, III-V/Si integration

Materials Science and Engineering

Bending of 2D materials (visualization)

Pinshane Huang

The Huang Lab utilizes characterization techniques like electron microscopy to study two-dimensional materials, nanomaterials, and single molecules.

MatSE contact: Edmund Han -

Keywords: nano characterization, electron microscopy, machine learning, bending, 2D materials, graphene, gold nanoparticle, single molecule imaging

High-temperature optical furnace capable of temperatures up to 2000℃

Waltraud M. Kriven

The Kriven Lab has two main focuses: 1) high-temperature ceramics, where phase transformations, thermal expansion, and chemical reactions are studied during in-situ synchrotron experiments; and 2) structure-property relationships of geopolymers, which are amorphous aluminosilicates investigated as a green alternative to Portland cement.

MatSE contact: Benjamin Hulbert -

Keywords: lipids, biomaterials, self-assembly, liquid crystals, soft matter

Lipid films structure and characterization

Cecília Leal

The Leal Lab studies the self-organization of biomolecular matter to generate new materials to advance therapy and technology.

MatSE contact: Marilyn Porras Gomez -

Keywords: lipids, biomaterials, self-assembly, liquid crystals, soft matter