Primary Menu

Education, Events, Publication

Funding & Recognition

Jeff Bates

Title: Assistant Professor
College: Engineering
School / Department: Materials Science and Engineering
Mentoring Philosophy:

I believe in empowering students to ask good questions, develop methods for answering their questions, and helping them learn through failures and successes. While it is imperative that students do the work, and learn to work independently, I provide three levels of mentorship and advising in my research group: undergraduates work with other undergraduates on similar project, they are all mentored by a graduate student, and I mentor each undergraduate student. By doing this, students always have a point of contact with the lab and with their colleagues, so they can bounce ideas and get answers to their questions.

About The Group

Our research group focuses on the synthesis and characterization of polymers and biomaterials for soft robotics, hydrogel actuators, drug delivery, sensors, biodegradable materials, and other applications.

We strive to understand the material properties not only in a lab environment, but also in a simulated environment that mimics the environmental conditions where the materials will be used. Some of the problems we are trying to solve are in helping patients with glaucoma with drug delivery devices that remove some of the hassles associated with eye drop treatments, detecting the presence of biomarkers that are expressed in patients in Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome and are associated with patient outcomes, developing novel adhesives that incorporate biodegradable biomaterials, creating orthodontic adhesives with triggerable detachment processes that allow for the rapid release of the adhesive from a tooth substrate, and considering end-of-life scenarios of polymers and biomaterials and developing materials that degrade under natural environmental conditions, including soil, landfills, and water. Our works aims to understand structure and property relationships and how the properties of polymers change as a function of environmental conditions.

The philosophy that drives our innovation is in sustainable practices, whether that is decreasing the plastic waste accumulation in the environment, maximizing the use of polymer materials to prevent unnecessary contamination, or reimagining the monomers and constituents that are used in polymer-based consumer products.