James is currently researching polymer nanocomposites featuring cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs). Highly crystalline and functionalizable rigid-rod like structures, CNCs disperse well in polymer matrices permitting mechanical strengthening through the formation of percolating networks. Utilizing the intriguing morphological attributes of diblock copolymers and the introduction of thermally stable step polymers, James seeks to create novel hierarchically structured materials capable of combining the above unique properties.
Hailing from Edina, MN, James received his B.S in Materials Sciences and Engineering from the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities in 2016. His undergraduate research at the U of M involved block copolymer physics under the mentorship of Prof. Frank Bates, particularly investigating the effect of conformational asymmetry on diblock copolymer phase behavior. Having joined IME as a graduate student in 2016, he is working toward his PhD in Molecular Engineering, being co-advised by both Prof. Stuart Rowan and Prof. Paul Nealey.