Principal Investigator

Sanat K. Kumar

Postdoctoral Researchers

Sabin Adhikari

Controlling transport properties of polymer composites
Interests: Statistical mechanics, theory and computation, machine learning

I received my PhD in Physics from the University of Massachusetts (at Amherst) under the supervision of professor Murugappan Muthukumar. In a broad sense, my PhD research is on the statistical physics of charged polymeric systems where I developed theories and performed numerical computations to predict the equilibrium thermodynamic behaviors of the systems under consideration. My interests are in theoretical and computational modeling of physical systems in the soft material world. Currently, I am trying to understand the underlying physics governing the equilibrium behaviors of polymer nanocomposites by using theories and simulations.

PhD Students

Husam Alkhodairi

Compatibilization of immiscible polymer blends using polymer-grafted nanoparticles
Interests: Homopolymer blends, Copolymers, Pickering emulsions, Polymer nanocomposites

I received my MS in chemical engineering from Columbia University in 2016. Prior to joining the Kumar Group, I worked at a research center that specialized in testing and tailoring polymer properties to meet the desired end product applications. Currently, I am working on enhancing the mechanical properties of immiscible polymer blends through the use of polymer-grafted nanoparticle surfactants.

Abdullah Al Torbaq

Controlling transport properties of polymer composites
Interests: Polymer nanocomposites, Gas transport, Crystallization, Structure-property relationship

I received my MS in Chemical Engineering from Columbia University in 2016. My previous research experience includes developing and testing high-density polyethylene (HDPE) solutions for automotive and packaging applications. Currently, I am working on understanding and controlling the crystallization kinetics as well as the nanoparticle dispersion in semi-crystalline polymers with the aim of enhancing gas transport properties.

Sophia Chan

Morphology and gas transport in polymer nanocomposites
Interests: Polymer Nanocomposites, Gas Transport, Gas Barriers

I received my B.S. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and minor in Chemistry from UC Berkeley in 2017. There, I worked with Professor Clayton Radke on drug diffusion and adsorption properties of block-copolymer hydrogels, as well as with Professor Bryan McCloskey on ion transport properties of large anions in polyelectrolytes for battery applications. At Columbia, I am excited to study gas transport and barrier properties of polymer nanocomposites intended for solar cell encapsulants. In my spare time, I practice Taekwondo and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, bake, and do laundry.

Alejandro Krauskopf

Tuning nanoparticle dispersion in a polymer matrix
Interests: Polymer nanocomposites, semi-crystalline polymers

Alejandro received his Bachelor of Science in Chemical-Biological Engineering, Minor in Writing degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2017. He previously worked in Prof. Robert Langer's lab on developing nanoparticles within a polymeric matrix to deliver chemotherapy locally. He also worked in Prof. Yuriy Roman's group on developing zeolite catalysts for use in the conversion of biomass to fuels. Alejandro is currently working on the crystallization of polymer nanocomposites for different applications.

Deboleena Dhara

Dispersion and Dynamic Properties of Polymer grafted nanoparticles
Interests: Polymer nanocomposites, Rheology, Dynamic mechanical tensile testing

I received my BS in Chemical Engineering at Manipal Institute of Technology in 2017, where I worked with Professor Dhanya Sunil on developing oxadiazole derivatives for their potential use as antimicrobial agents. I received my MS at Columbia University in 2018 and started my PhD right after. Currently, I am studying the impact of different particle dispersions on the mechanical properties in polymer nanocomposites.

Robert Tannenbaum

Controlling transport properties of polymer composites
Interests: Polymer nanocomposites, Membrane separations, Gas transport, Entanglements, Simulations

I received my B.S.E. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and B.A. in Chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania in 2017 through the Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (VIPER), and my M.S.E. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania in 2018. My research at Columbia focuses on simulating entanglements present in polymer-grafted nanoparticle systems to gain further insight into the underlying mechanism responsible for enhanced mechanical properties. I also conduct permeation and sorption experiments to better understand the nature of gas transport through these materials.

Marshall Tekell

Ionic and thermal conductivity of polymer nanocomposites
Interests: Ionic and thermal conductivity, ion-exchange membranes

I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2019 with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering, a B.A. in Plan II Honors, and a Certificate in Computational Science and Engineering. At UT-Austin, I worked with Prof. Donglei Fan on 3D hierarchically porous materials for supercapacitors and 2D materials for photoelectrochemical hydrogen evolution and solar steam. In the Kumar group, I will explore the ionic and thermal conductivity of polymer nanocomposites.

Nico Mendez

Crystallization and crystallization induced dispersion in polymer nanocomposites
Interests: Polymer nanocomposites, crystallization, transport

I received my B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 2020 from the University of Florida. At UF, I worked in the Colina Group studying the adsorption of gases in polymers of intrinsic microporosity using monte carlo and molecular dynamics simulation techniques. In the Kumar Group I am currently working on the crystallization kinetics and dispersion of semicrystalline polymers.

Tejus Shastry

Machine learning as applied to nanoparticles and polymers
Interests: Machine learning, optimization algorithms

I received my B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2020. Previously, I worked with Professor Patrick Underhill on Monte Carlo simulations of soft matter self-assembly. At Columbia, I look forward to working on projects revolving around the intersection of chemical engineering and machine learning. These include the use of neural networks to study nanoparticle lattice formations as well as optimization algorithms in the context of polymer upcycling.

Undergraduate Researchers

Natalia Cislo

Past Members

Clement Fang Jin Koh (PhD, 2016-2021) - Postdoctoral Researcher at Hokkaido University and Visiting Scholar at Duke University

Mayank Jhalaria (PhD, 2016-2020) - Senior Research Specialist at Dow

Andrew Jimenez (PhD, 2015-2020) - Postdoctoral Researcher at University of Washington

Hamed Emamy (Postdoctoral Researcher, 2018-2020) - Postdoctoral Researcher at Lehigh University and Brown University

Sebastian Russell (PhD, 2014-2019) - Postdoctoral Researcher at Brookhaven National Laboratory

Connor Bilchak (PhD, 2014-2019) - Postdoctoral Researcher at University of Pennsylvania

Wes Barnett (Postdoctoral Researcher, 2017-2018) - Senior Machine Learning Engineer at American Express

Ellie Buenning (Ph.D., 2013-2018) - Polymer Technologist at Gore

Kai Zhang (Postdoctoral Researcher, 2015-2018) - Data Scientist at Data Incubator

Thi Vo (Ph.D., 2012-2017) - Postdoctoral Researcher at University of Michigan

Makoto Asai (Postdoctoral Researcher, 2013-2017) - Asst. Professor at Faculty of Science and Technology, Keio University

Mayank Misra (Ph.D., 2011-2016) - Senior Scientist at Schrodinger

Dan Zhao (Ph.D., 2011-2015) - Senior Engineer at Dow Chemicals

Mithun Radhakrishna (Ph.D., 2010-2014) - Assistant Professor at Indian Institute of Technology, Ghandinagar

Dong Meng (Postdoctoral Researcher, 2011-2015) - Assistant Professor at Mississippi State University

Daniel Sinkovits (Postdoctoral Researcher, 2012-2015) - Assistant Professor at University of Wisconsin-Stout

Nicolas Jouault (Postdoctoral Researcher, 2011-2013) - Assistant Professor at Université Pierre et Marie Curie

Jagannathan T K (Postdoctoral Researcher, 2009-2013) - Assistant Professor at National Institute of Technology - Surathkal

Sumit Sharma (Ph.D., 2005-2010) - Associate Professor at Ohio University

Pinar Akcora (Postdoctoral Researcher, 2005-2008) - Associate Professor at Stevens Institute of Technology