Samuel I. Stupp Professor


Board of Trustees Professor of Materials Science, Chemistry, Medicine, and Biomedical Engineering; Director, Simpson Querrey Insitute for BioNanotechnology

Research Statement

Research in the Stupp group is highly interdisciplinary, integrating chemistry, materials science, and medicine. The main interest of the group is the development of self-assembling organic materials, focusing on functions relevant to energy and medicine. The laboratory is currently interested in nanostructures and materials for solar photovoltaics and solar fuels, ferroelectrics for memories, regenerative medicine, and cancer therapies. The group has three different subgroups: self-assembly, energy materials, and biomaterials. Research includes molecular synthesis, characterization of structure, measurement of materials properties, cell biology, and in vivo studies of the efficacy of nanostructures and materials in medical applications.

The self-assembly subgroup works on programming of molecules to create functional supramolecular assemblies based on small molecules, polymers, and inorganic structures. The systems of interest at the moment include artificial cells which may have biomedical functions or serve as chemical microreactors, ferroelectric molecular assemblies based on electron transfer, and arrays of aligned nanofibers for tissue engineering of arteries. This sub-group focuses on all aspects of self-assembly including molecular synthesis, characterization of structure by electron microscopy, synchrotron small angle x-ray scattering, electron paramagnetic resonance, spectroscopic techniques, and computer simulations.

The energy materials subgroup is focused on the integration of self-assembly into solar photovoltaic devices and supramolecular catalytic systems for solar fuel production. Current targets include hybrid materials based on inorganic semiconductors and organic electronic materials, organic photovoltaic systems targeting designs for molecular recognition between electron acceptors and donors, and photosynthetic gels in which self-assembly processes optimize the function of catalysts for hydrogen production.

The biomaterials subgroup focuses on the development of bioactive materials that can signal cells for targets in regenerative medicine. The regenerative medicine targets include spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s disease, heart regeneration, diabetes, bone, cartilage, and muscle. This subgroup also investigates novel cancer therapies based on supramolecular nanofibers targeting apoptosis of cells. The research includes molecular design of self-assembling nanostructures that optimize cell signaling for regeneration, mediate cell death vs. cell survival, and guide differentiation of stem cells. A developing interest is the use of supramolecular nanostructures for genetic reprogramming. In this area work has been initiated to create virus-like structures that could carry nucleic acids into cells.

Selected Publications

Stephanopoulos, N.; Freeman, R.; North, H. A.; Sur, S.; Jeong, S. J.; Tantakitti, F.; Kessler, J, A.; Stupp, S. I. “Bioactive DNA-Peptide Nanotubes Enhance the Differentiation of Neural Stem Cells Into Neurons” Nano Letters 2015, 15(1), 603-609. 

Lee, S. S.; Hsu, E. L.; Mendoza, M.; Ghodasra, J.; Nickoli, M. S.; Ashtekar, A.; Polavarapu, M.; Babu, J.; Riaz, R. M.; Nicolas, J. D.; Nelson, D.; Hashmi, S. Z.; Earhart, J. S.; Merk, B. R.; McKee, J. S.; Bairstow, S. F.; Shah, R. N.; Hsu, W. K.; Stupp, S. I. “Gel Scaffolds of BMP-2-binding Peptide Amphiphile Nanofibers for Spinal Arthrodesis” Advanced Healthcare Materials 2015, 4(1), 131-141. 

Weingarten, A. S.; Kazantsev, R. V.; Palmer, L. C.; McClendon, M.; Koltonow, A. R.; Samuel, A. P. S.; Kiebala, D. J.; Wasielewski, M. R.; Stupp, S. I. “Self-Assembling Hydrogel Scaffolds for Photocatalytic Hydrogen Production” Nature Chemistry 2014, 6, 964-970. 

Cui, H.; Cheetham, A. G.; Pashuck, E. T.; Stupp, S. I. “Amino Acid Sequence in Constitutionally Isomeric Tetrapeptide Amphiphiles Dictates Architecture of One-Dimensional Nanostructures” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136(35), 12461-12468.

Preslar, A. T.; Parigi, G.; McCLendon, M. T.; Sefick, S. S.; Moyer, T. J.; Haney, C. R.; Waters, E. A.; MacRenaris, K. W.; Luchinat, C.; Stupp, S. I.; Meade, T. J. “Gd(III)-Labeled Peptide Nanofibers for Reporting on Biomaterial Localization In Vivo”  ACS Nano 2014, 8(7), 7325-7332.

Li, A.; Hokugo, A.; Yalom, A.; Berns, E. J.; Stephanopoulos, N.; McClendon, M. T.; Segovia, L. A.; Spigelman, I.; Stupp, S. I.; Jarrahy, R. “A Bioengineered Peripheral Nerve Construct Using Aligned Peptide Amphiphile Nanofibers” Biomaterials 2014, 35(31), 8780-8790.  

Ortony, J. H.; Newcomb, C.; Matson, J. B.; Palmer, L. C.; Doan, P. E.; Hoffman, B. M.; Stupp, S. I. “Internal Dynamics of a Supramolecular Nanofiber” Nature Materials 2014, 13, 812-816.

Boekhoven, J.; Stupp, S. I. “Supramolecular Materials for Regenerative Medicine” Advanced Materials 2014, 26(11), 1642-1659.

Newcomb, C. J.; Sur, S.; Ortony, J. H.; Lee, O-S.; Matson, J. B.; Boekhoven, J.; Yu, J-M.; Schatz, G. C.; Stupp, S. I. “ Cell Death Versus Cell Survival Instructed by Supramolecular Cohesion of Nanostructures” Nature Communications 2014, 5(3321), 1-10.

Berns, E. J.; Sur, S.; Pan, L.; Goldberger, J. E.; Suresh, S.; Zhang, S.; Kessler, J. A.; Stupp, S. I. “Aligned Neurite Outgrowth and Directed Cell Migration in Self-Assembled Monodomain Gels” Biomaterials 2014, 35(1), 185-195. 

Boekhoven, J.; Pérez, C. R.; Sur, S.; Worthy, A.; Stupp, S. I. “Dynamic Display of Bioactivity through Host-Guest Chemistry” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2013, 52(46), 12077-12080.  

Ruff, Y.; Moyer, T.; Newcomb, C. J.; Demeler, B.; Stupp, S.I. “Precision Templating with DNA of a Virus Like Particle with Peptide Nanostructures” JACS 2013, 135(16), 6211-6219.

Stephanopoulos, N.; Ortony, J. H.; Stupp, S. I. “Self-Assembly for the Synthesis of Functional Biomaterials” Acta Materialia 2013, 61(3), 912-930.  

Lee, S. S.; Hunag, B. J.; Kaltz, S. R.; Sur, S.; Newcomb, C. J.; Stock, S. R.; Shah, R. N.; Stupp, S. I. “Bone Regeneration with Low Dose BMP-2 Amplified by Biomimetic Supramolecular Nanofibers within Collagen Scaffolds” Biomaterials 2013, 34(2), 452-459.                          

Tayi, A. S.; Shveyd, A. K.; Sue, C-H.; Szarko, J. M.; Rolczynski, B. S.; Cao, D.; Kennedy, T. J.; Sarjeant, A. A.; Stern, C. L.; Paxton, W. F.; Wu, W.; Dey, S. K.; Fahrenbach, A. C.; Guest, J. R.; Mohseni, H.; Chen, L. X.; Wang, K. L.; Stoddart, J. F.; Stupp, S. I. “Room-Temperature Ferroelectricity in Supramolecular Networks of Charge-Transfer Complexes” Nature 2012, 488, 485-489.

Aida, T.; Meijer, E. W.; Stupp, S. I. “Functional Supramolecular Polymers” Science 2012, 335(6070), 813-817.

Webber, M. J.; Tongers, J.; Newcomb, C. J.; Marquardt, K-T.; Bauersachs, J.; Losordo, D. W.; Stupp, S. I. “Supramolecular Nanostructures that Mimic VEGF as a strategy for Ischemic Tissue Repair” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 2011, 108(33), 13438-13443.

Shah, R. M.; Shah, N. A.; Del Rosario Lim, M. M.; Hsieh, C.; Nuber, G.; Stupp, S. I. “Supramolecular Design of Self-Assembling Nanofibers for Cartilage Regeneration” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 2010, 107(8), 3293-3298.

Cui, H.; Pashuck, E. T.; Velichko, Y. S.; Weigand, S. J.; Cheetham, A. G.; Newcomb, C. J.; Stupp, S. I. “Spontaneous and X-Ray Triggered Crystallization at Long Range in Self-Assembling Filament Networks”Science 2010, 327(5965), 555-559.

Pashuck, E. T.; Cui, H.; Stupp, S. I. “Tuning Supramolecular Rigidity of Peptide Fibers through Molecular Structure” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2010, 132(17), 6041-6046.

Standley, M. S.; Toft, D. J.; Cheng, H.; Soukasene, S.; Chen J.; Raja, S. M.; Band, V.; Band, H.; Cryns, V. L.; Stupp, S. I. “Induction of Cancer Cell Death by Self-Assembling Nanostructures Incorporating a Cytotoxic Peptide” Cancer Research 2010, 70(8), 3020-3026.

Zhang, S.; Greenfield, M. A.; Mata, A.; Palmer, L. C.; Bitton, R.; Mantei, J. R.; Aparicio, C.; de la Cruz, M. O.; Stupp, S. I. “A Self-Assembly Pathway to Aligned Monodomain Gels” Nature Materials 2010, 9(7), 594-601.

Muraoka, T.; Koh, C-Y.; Cui, H.; Stupp, S. I. “Light-Triggered Bioactivity in Three Dimensions” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2009, 48(32) 5946-5949.

Sofos, M.; Goldberger, J.; Stone, D. A.; Allen, J. E.; Ma, Q.; Herman, D. J.; Tsai. W-W.; Lauhon, L. J.; Stupp. S. I. “A Synergistic Assembly of Nanoscale Lamellar Photoconductor Hybrids” Nature Materials 2009, 8(1), 68-75.

Capito, R.; Azevedo, H.; Velichko, Y. R., Mata, A.; Stupp, S. I. “Self-Assembly of Large and Small Molecules Into Hierarchically Ordered Sacs and Membranes” Science 2008, 319(5871), 1812-1816.

Silva, G. A.; Czeisler, C.; Niece, K. L.; Beniash, E.; Kessler, J. A.; Stupp, S. I. “Selective Differentiation of Neural Progenitor Cells by High-Epitope Density Nanofibers” Science 2004, 303, 1352-1355.

Hartgerink, J. D.; Beniash, E.; Stupp, S. I. “Self-Assembly and Mineralization of Peptide-Amphiphile Nanofibers” Science 2001, 294 (5547), 1684-1688.

Stupp, S. I.; Le Bonheur, V.; Walker, K.; Li, L. S.; Huggins, K.; Keser, M.; Amstutz, A. “Supramolecular Materials: Self Organized Nanostructures” Science 1997, 276, 384-389.

Selected Honors/Awards

  • Highly Cited Researcher in Chemistry, Thomson Reuters Corporation (2014)
  • Distinguished Visiting Scientist of the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering, Singapore (2014)
  • International Award, The Society of Polymer Science, Japan (2014)
  • President, International Scientific Committee of the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia, Spain (2014)
  • Distinguished Visiting Professor of Biochemistry, University of Hong Kong  (2014)
  • Member, Scientific Advisory Board, Xeltis Corporation, Zurich, Switzerland (2013)
  • Member, RIKEN Center for Emergent Matter Science Advisory Council, Japan (2013)
  • Creation of the Samuel I. Stupp Prize in Nanotechnology by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of Costa Rica (2013)
  • Honorary Doctorate from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden Medical School (2013)
  • Australian Centre for Nanomedicine Annual Visiting Professorship (2013)
  • International Scientific Advisory Board, Centre for Cooperative Research in Biomaterials-CIC biomaGUNE, Spain (2012)
  • American Chemical Society Ronald Breslow Award for Achievement in Biomimetic Chemistry (2012)
  • Member, National Academy of Engineering (2012)
  • Member, Royal Spanish Academy of Pharmacy (2012)
  • Thomson Reuters Top 100 Chemists for 2000-2010 (2011)
  • Honorary Doctorate, National University of Costa Rica (2011)
  • Michelin Chair, Ecole Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie, Paris (2010)
  • Fellow, Materials Research Society (2009)
  • Israel Pollack Distinguished Lecture Series Award, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology (2009)
  • Distinguished Professorship, Eindhoven University of Technology (2009)
  • Honorary Doctorate for Revolutionary Research in Complex Molecular Systems, Eindhoven University of Technology (2009)
  • Honorary membership, Israel Chemical Society (2009)
  • Member, World Premier International Program Advisory Committee to Advanced Institute for Materials Research, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Japan (2008)
  • International Advisory Group, Swedish Government Program on Biomaterials, Gothenburg University (2008)
  • Member, Scientific Advisory Board, University of Vienna (2006)
  • American Chemical Society Award in Polymer Chemistry (2005)
  • Merck-Karl Pfister Visiting Professorship, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2004)
  • Fellow, World Technology Network (2003)
  • Member, Scientific Advisory Board, National University of Singapore (2003)
  • Member, Baxter Scientific Advisory Board (2001)
  • Member, Solid State Sciences Committee, National Academy of Sciences (2001)
  • Materials Research Society Medal Award (2000)
  • Member, Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee, Department of Energy (1999)
  • Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science (1999)
  • Elected member of American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1998)
  • Humboldt Award for Senior U.S. Scientists (1997)
  • Joliot Curie Professorship, Ecole Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles (1997)
  • Member, Materials Panel, Air Force Scientific Advisory Board (1995)
  • U.S. Department of Energy Prize for Outstanding Scientific Accomplishment in Materials Chemistry (1991)
  • Exclusive consultant to 3M Company (1987)
  • Xerox Faculty Award for Excellence in Engineering Research (1985)
  • 3M Young Faculty Award (1981)