The Olsen Lab focuses on engineering new biofunctional and bioinspired materials and understanding the novel polymer physics required to control the nanoscale structure and properties of these complex systems.  To do this, we apply cutting-edge polymer chemistry and protein engineering to synthesize new materials at the interface of biology and the physical sciences.  To intelligently design such systems, we investigate the relationships between molecular structure and self-assembly, applying concepts from block copolymer assembly and polymer gels to understand complex biohybrid materials.  Our efforts are aimed at applying biological components or biological design principles to dramatically extend the capability of soft materials such as engineering plastics, energy converters, catalysts, and biomedical hydrogels.  Through the study of natural polymer systems, we also hope to produce a new sustainable source of functional polymers.

Engineering Protein Materials

Polymer Gels and Networks

Sustainable Polymers

AI & Automation in Soft Matter


Recent News:

– Congratulations to our very own Helen Yao for being chosen as a Frank J. Padden Jr. Award finalist for the APS March Meeting! Learn more about her work here.

– Congratulations to recent graduate Brian Seifried for his publication in Bioconjugate Chemistry! Check it out!.

– Former Olsen Lab postdoc Danielle J. Mai is now an Assistant Professor in Stanford University’s Department of Chemical Engineering! We wish her the best of luck on her academic endeavors! For more information on her research, please visit her official research webpage.

– We would like to extend a warm welcome to grad student Zi Wang and undergraduates Anna Go, and Angelo Guo from the Stephen L. Craig lab. We look forward to their collaboration!

– Congratulations to newly minted Dr. Wui Yarn (Daphne) Chan for passing her thesis defense! Daphne will be starting as a postdoc in the Hillmyer Group at the University of Minnesota!

– Prof. Olsen was named a 2019 ACS Fellow!

– Congrats to our 2019 graduates Reginald Avery (BioE PhD), Carolyn Mills (ChemE PhD), Brian Seifried (ChemE PhD), Erika Ding (ChemE SB), and Zachary Schmitz (ChemE SB)!!

– Welcome to Emily Fitzgerald, a summer student visiting us from the Praxis Program at Smith College!

– Good luck to postdoc Michelle Calabrese, who has started as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Minnesota!

– Congratulations to newly minted Dr. Brian Seifried and Dr. Carolyn Mills for passing their thesis defenses! Brian will be starting at Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Carrie will be a postdoc in the Tullman-Ercek Group at Northwestern University!

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