Coughlin Research Group

Coughlin Research Group

Phone: 413-577-1616

Meet the Coughlin Group!

Degree Information:

B.A. Chemistry, Grinnell College, 1988
Ph.D. Chemistry, California Institute of Technology, 1993

Mailing Address:

Department of Polymer Science and Engineering
Room: A612, Conte Research Center
University of Massachusetts Amherst
120 Governors Drive
Amherst, MA 01003

Research Interests

Tailoring Chemical Functionality into Functional Polymeric Materials

Current Research

"Tailoring Chemical Functionality to Generate Functional Polymeric Materials". We strive, through development of novel, and adaptation of known synthetic methods, to create new polymeric materials with properties suitable for a range of demanding applications. Our projects begin with synthesis  and sustainability as a major motivators, however characterization studies to test our hypotheses and to inform the next round of synthetic efforts is also given significant emphasis. Our efforts can be sub-divided several project areas:

Ion Transport in Organic Materials. Ion transport in complex heterogeneous organic media is ubiquitous to many important energy conversion devices, particularly fuel cells and batteries that have the potential to revolutionize energy conversion.

Polymer Upcycling and Sustainability.  The outstanding chemical stability of polymers simultaneously makes them robust, durable and the foundation of modern plastics, while also presenting tremendous challenges to designing feasible synthetic routes for polymer upcycling.

Precisely Functionalized Polymers. Using multi-step controlled polymerization methodologies in conjunction with single-molecule insertion (SMI), we develop synthetic pathways to synthesize a range of architecturally precise multi-arm block copolymers.

Fire-Safe Polymers and Polymer Composites. Advanced polymeric materials with improved burn resistance are being developed to reduce fire deaths in civilian and military transportation, or other areas of limited egress

Novel Inorganic-Organic Hybrid Copolymers. Synthetic strategies to generate ordered, nanometer length scale inorganic domains within polymer matrices are being developed using polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxanes, or icosahedral closo dicarbadodecaboranes.

Honors and Distinctions:

  • Fellow of the Americal Chemical Society (2018)
  • Department Head of Polymer Science and Engineering (2016-2019)
  • Chair POLYMERS Gordon Research Conference (2013)
  • Chair Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering Division of the American Chemical Society (2009)
  • Fellow of the Max Planck Society (2007-2008)
  • NSF CAREER AWARD (2003-2007)
  • 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Awards (2000, 2001, 2002)
  • OMNOVA Solutions Signature University Faculty Award (2000)
  • DuPont Young Faculty Award (2003-2005)