Group Members

Dr. Russell J. Composto

Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Bioengineering,
and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering


PhD Materials Science and Engineering 1987 – Cornell University
MS Materials Science 1984 – Cornell University
BA Physics 1982 – Gettysburg College

Member of:
Nano/Bio Interface Center (NBIC)
Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter (LRSM)
Institute for Medicine and Engineering (IME)
Penn Center for Energy Innovation, LRSM 321, (215) 898-4451

AuthorDashboard – Russell J Composto

Visiting Researchers

Dr. Xuanbo Liu
Visiting Researcher (MSE & CBE)

Xuanbo Liu received his Ph.D in Polymer Chemistry and Physics from Peking University and his B.S. in Polymer Chemical Engineering from Dalian University of Technology. He is currently studying the phase behavior and orientational control of liquid crystalline polymer nanocomposites.

Postdoctoral Researchers

Dr. Molly Shave
Postdoctoral Researcher (MSE & CBE)

Molly Shave received her Ph.D in Polymer Science and Engineering from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Colorado School of Mines. She is currently studying bacterial adhesion on anti-fouling surfaces within microfluidic devices. She is co-advised by Dr. Daeyeon Lee in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Dr. Mark Goulian in Biology.

Dr. Connor Bilchak
Postdoctoral Researcher (MSE & Chemistry)

Connor received his Ph.D. from Columbia University (advised by Dr. Sanat Kumar) researching gas transport and selectivity in mixed matrix membranes based on polymer-grafted nanoparticle materials. As part of the REACT program at the University of Pennsylvania, he is studying anisotropic alignment of nanomaterials using block-copolymer templating, magnetic fields, solvent annealing, and other methods.

Dr. Christopher S. O’Bryan
Postdoctoral Researcher (MSE & CBE)

Chris O’Bryan received his Ph.D. and M.S. in mechanical engineering and B.S. in aerospace engineering from the University of Florida. His research has focused on developing aqueous and organic microgels for 3D printing applications, investigating interfacial phenomenon at soft interfaces, and soft matter contact mechanics. His current research is focused on studying polymer absorption on metal films.

Ph.D. Students

Boris Rasin
Ph.D Candidate (MSE)

Boris Rasin received his B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is currently studying gold nanorod-block copolymer lamellea nanocomposites and gold nanorod-block copolymer cylinder nanocomposites.


Katie Rose
Ph.D Candidate (CBE)

Katie Rose received her B.S. in Polymer Science and Engineering from the Case Western Reserve University. She is a recipient of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, REACT Fellowship, and Affrick Fellowship. She is currently studying nanoparticle diffusion in polymer gels. She is co-advised by Dr. Daeyeon Lee in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

Shawn Maguire
Ph.D Candidate (MSE)

Shawn Maguire received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology. He is a recipient of the REACT Fellowship. He is currently studying the dynamics and thermodynamics of nanoparticles within polymer nanocomposites.

Mike Boyle
Ph.D Student (MSE)

Mike Boyle received his B.S.E in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics from the University of Pennsylvania. He is currently studying nanoparticle diffusion in strained polymer gels.




Masters and Undergraduate Students

Alexander Grun
Masters (MSE)

Alex Grun graduated from Gettysburg College with a B.S. in physics and is currently pursuing a masters in MSE here at Penn. His work with Liu Xuanbo focuses on aligning graphene oxide nanocomposites in a liquid crystal matrix.

Andreea-Maria Pana
Undergraduate (CBE)

Andreea is an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. She began research with the Composto Group in the spring of 2019. She is currently working under Shawn Maguire studying the thermodynamics and dynamics of functional solid polymer nanocomposite electrolytes.

Theresa Tsaggaris
Undergraduate (MSE)

Theresa is an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. She began research with the Composto Group in May 2019. She is currently working under Shawn Maguire and Connor Bilchak studying polymer infiltration of nanoporous gold, and the effects of polymer nanoconfinement on bicontinuous metal networks.