Jan Genzer is the S. Frank and Susan Culberson Distinguished Professor and Associate Department Head in the Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at NC State University. Genzer previously served as an IRG co-lead in an NSF-funded Triangle MRSEC center and was the center co-director in 2014-2017. Genzer led the NSF-funded EFRI program (2012-2018) on the externally-trigged transformation of 2D sheets into 3D structures.
Genzer group at NC State University is actively involved in research related to the behavior of polymers at interfaces and in confined geometries, with particular emphasis on assembly, thin films, responsive and shape-memory materials, and materials combinatorial methods. Genzer concentrates on uncovering the fundamentals of the interfacial behavior of polymers and small organic molecules.
Much of recent Genzer research is motivated by solving ‘real-life’ environmental problems using fundamental science approaches. These involve designing effective coatings that prevent non-specific biological adsorption, capture toxins, heavy metals, and volatile organic compounds from contaminated waters, remove misfolded proteins from blood, or minimize adsorption of polymeric particles onto surfaces in wind-tunnel studies. In the context of STEPS, Genzer designs polymeric materials that degrade organophosphates. He currently develops materials that capture organophosphates. He also creates new soft material motifs to prevent phosphates release from fertilizers to form complexes with cations present in soils, i.e., Fe, Al, Ca. This effort will facilitate better uptake of phosphates by plants. In STEPS, Genzer is a co-leader (with Yara Yingling, NC State University) in Theme 1. The aim is to integrate and interpret multiple forms of mechanistic experimental data into a materials Informatics workflow to enable a new fundamental understanding of mechanisms for capturing, releasing, or transforming phosphorus species for various applications.
Genzer received his ‘Diploma-engineer’ degree (Dipl.-Ing.) in Chemical & Materials Engineering from the University of Chemistry & Technology in Prague, the Czech Republic, in 1989. In 1991 he moved to the US to pursue graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania under Professor Russ Composto, receiving a Ph.D. degree in Materials Science & Engineering in 1996. After two post-doctoral stints with Professor Ed Kramer, first at Cornell University (1996-1997) and later at the University of California at Santa Barbara (1997-1998), Genzer joined the chemical engineering faculty at the NC State University as an Assistant Professor in fall 1998.
Genzer honors include Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, NSF CAREER award, John H. Dillon Award of the American Physical Society, NSF Award for Special Creativity, NC State’s Outstanding Teacher Award, NC State Alumni Outstanding Research Award, NC State Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professorship, Alcoa Foundation Distinguished Engineering Award, North Carolina ACS Outstanding Lecturer Award, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company Award for Excellence in Teaching, Research and Extension, and others. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.