LaShanda Korley

Professor LaShanda Korley
Department of Materials Science and Engineering
University of Delaware
Host: Professor Tim Lodge


Bio-Inspired and Sustainable Design: Towards Functional Polymeric Materials

Materials that are found in Nature display a wide range of properties, including responsiveness to the environment, signal transmission, and the ability to adapt to support life. Learning from Nature, biomimetic principles can be powerful tools in designing, developing and accessing the next generation of synthetic materials and systems. Using a bio-inspired framework, I will highlight several molecular design strategies utilizing cues from natural systems to demonstrate several examples of gel and network materials that exhibit mechanical tunability, responsive behavior, and hierarchical architectures. 

Additionally, I will highlight pathways that enable materials sustainability via a life cycle management framework focusing on biomass building blocks. Alternative synthetic approaches are critical for the utilization of biomass building blocks in the development of robust polymeric materials with exceptional mechanical function and thermal properties. Lignocellulosic biomass, particularly the lignin fraction, is an attractive source of diverse, abundant, and inexpensive precursors for macromolecular design. I will discuss convergent research efforts to develop performance-advantaged materials within a circular economy.


Prof. LaShanda T. J. Korley is a Distinguished Professor in the Departments of Materials Science & Engineering and Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Delaware (UD). Previously, she held the Climo Associate Professorship of Macromolecular Science and Engineering at Case Western Reserve University, where she started her independent career in 2007. Taking inspiration from nature, her research program involves understanding the design rules employed by nature and applying these strategies to the development of mechanically-enhanced and tunable materials. Prof. Korley is the Director of the recently awarded Energy Frontier Research Center – Center for Plastics Innovation (CPI) funded by the Department of Energy and also the Co-Director of the recently announced Materials Research Science and Center – UD Center for Hybrid, Active, and Responsive Materials (UD CHARM). She is also the Principal Investigator for the National Science Foundation Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE): Bio-inspired Materials and Systems and the Associate Director of the Center for Research in Soft matter & Polymers (CRiSP) at the University of Delaware.

LaShanda Korley

She received a B.S. in both Chemistry & Engineering from Clark Atlanta University as well as a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1999. Prof. Korley completed her doctoral studies at MIT in Chemical Engineering and the Program in Polymer Science and Technology in 2005, and she was the recipient of the Provost’s Academic Diversity Postdoctoral Fellowship at Cornell University in 2005. She was named a DuPont Young Professor in 2011 and was selected for the National Academy of Engineering Frontiers of Engineering symposium. She was a Kavli Fellow of Japanese/American Frontiers of Science Symposium from 2012-16. Recently, Prof. Korley was elected as Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and was awarded the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) Lloyd N. Ferguson Young Scientist Award for Excellence in Research and the American Institute for Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Minority Affairs Committee Gerry Lessells Award. Her research focuses on bio-inspired polymeric materials, film and fiber manufacturing, plastics recycling and upcycling strategies, stimuli-responsive composites, peptide-polymer hybrids, fiber-reinforced hydrogels, and renewable materials derived from biomass.



Start date
Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022, 9:45 a.m.
End date
Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022, 11 a.m.

This seminar will be presented via Zoom
Zoom Link