Dr. Julia Kalow, Northwestern University
In polymer networks based on dynamic covalent bonds, changes in reactivity can be translated into macroscopic responses. Light offers precise, tunable, and noninvasive spatiotemporal control over molecular reactivity. The Kalow lab has designed crosslinks that allow us to tune the thermodynamics and kinetics of dynamic covalent bonds with light, including visible light, based on the conformation of an adjacent photoswitch. When incorporated into polymer networks, the mechanics can be tuned reversibly with light. I will discuss the molecular mechanism underlying these macroscopic changes, and their applications in biomaterials.
Bio: Julia was born and raised in Newton, MA. She obtained her BA at Columbia University in 2008, where she studied chemistry and creative writing. She pursued graduate studies at Princeton University under the supervision of Prof. Abigail Doyle. After completing her PhD in 2013, she was a postdoctoral fellow at MIT with Prof. Timothy Swager. She started her independent career at Northwestern’s Department of Chemistry in July 2016, where her group develops strategies to control the synthesis and properties of polymeric materials with light. Her group’s research has been recognized with the Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator Award, a NSF CAREER award, and the 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award.