R. Helen Zha

Assistant Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering

R. Helen Zha obtained her B.S. from MIT in Materials Science & Engineering (2007) and her Ph.D. from Northwestern University (2013), where she worked as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow on self-assembling biomaterials. From 2013 - 2016, Helen completed postdoctoral research at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, where she developed supramolecular and photoresponsive nanomaterials. Currently, Helen is a postdoctoral fellow at UC Berkeley, where she explores bio-derived antimicrobial coatings. Aside from academic research, Helen is an enthusiastic educator with experience in developing graduate and undergraduate coursework as well as public outreach programs.

Dr. Zha seeks to create new biohybrid materials to tackle significant problems facing human healthcare and sustainability. Inspired by naturally occurring systems and phenomena, research in the group aims to synthesize functional materials that incorporate both biological and non-biological components. As is the case in nature, these materials are often structured across multiple length scales, and supramolecular self- assembly to control structure-property relationships lies at the foundation of the work. Research in Professor Zha’s lab is highly interdisciplinary and incorporates molecular engineering & synthesis, nanoscale character- ization, materials design, as well as in vitro & in vivo performance assays.

Education

Ph.D. Northwestern University (2013)
B.S. Materials Science & Engineering, MIT (2007)

Research Focus
  • Biomimetic and Bio-inspired Materials
  • Nanostructured Soft Matter
  • Molecular Engineering and Self-assembly
  • Nanomedicine
  • Materials for Energy and Sustainability
Contact zhar@rpi.edu