Dr. Michelle Gaines
Here, you will find a summary of my professional and academic activities, as a new Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Spelman College. I include my research interests in Polymer Materials, Biopolymers, and Polymer Interfacial Behavior. I also highlight some of my teaching experience, acquired as an NIH IRACDA postdoctoral fellow. Finally, I showcase a few of my outreach activities in the science community. After reading through my site, you will gain a sense that my personal mission is to be a progressive scientist, supportive mentor, and genuine colleague.
- B.S. Chemical Engineering, Michigan State University, 2003
- Ph.D. Materials Science & Engineering, North Carolina State University, 2008
- Postdoctoral Fellow, Georgia Tech Research Institute, 2010-2011
- Postdoctoral Fellow, Emory University, 2011-2014
- Postdoctoral Fellow, Georgia Tech, 2015 - 2017
Department of Chemistry, Science Center, #378
My research program is themed
around studying the interfacial
properties of soft materials. My lab’s main focus is to study the
material properties of colloidal microgel particle systems, which will lead
towards the development of self-actuating
biosensors. I also explores the interfacial chemistry between
cells and hydrogels on biological interfaces. Furthermore, I am interested
in understanding the fundamental the physical and chemical behaviors that
influence polymer self-assembly, which are being applied toward the development
of organic electronic materials.
I plan to develop a new educational venture called, Hair Academy. I envisions that this new interdisciplinary program will allow students and faculty to consider how phenotypic differences in hair produce different material properties. The program will add to Spelman College’s legacy of being a global leader in producing culturally inclusive thought-leaders.
Areas of expertise: Materials Science, Atomic Force Microscopy, Rheology, Block Copolymers, Polymer Chemistry, Polymer Physics and Nanomaterials
Key Interests: Soft materials. Interfacial chemistry. Biomolecular materials. Polymer microgel particles. Self-actuating polymers. Organic electronics. Block copolymers. Self-assembly. Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM). Hydrogels. Biophysics of epithelial cell monolayers. Inorganic nanomaterials. Material properties of hair.
- Current: Autonomous Migratory Microgel Particles for In Vivo Pharmacological Delivery Applications & Biophysics of epithelial cells biofilms on toroidal-shaped hydrogels
- Supramolecular self-assembly of helical polymers responding to chiral stimuli
- Equilibrium phase behavior and structure of deoxygenated sickle hemoglobin to lead toward the rational design of an effective anti-sickling agent
- Surface chemistry of pluronic polymers on red blood cell surfaces
- Discover new treatment options for sickle cell disease and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF)
- Biosenser design for bioregulation, chiral separation, and chiral sensing
- Nanoparticles for drug delivery
- Diseases that involve fluids
that facilitate waste removal
- Douglas, A.M.; Fragkopoulos, A.; Gaines, M.K.; Lyon, L.A.; Barker, T.H.;
and Fernandez-Nieves, A.; “Dynamic Assembly of Ultrasoft Colloidal Networks
Enables Cell Invasion Within Nanoporous Fibrillar Polymers,”
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2017 114 (5): 885-890.
- Gaines, M.K., Smith, S.D., Samseth, J., Khan, S.A., and Spontak, R.J.,"Nanoparticle Network Formation in Nanostructured and Disordered Block Copolymer Matrices," Nanoscale Res. Lett. 2010 5, 1712-1718.
- Gozen, A.O.; Gaines, M. K.; Hamersky, M. W.; Maniadis, P.; Rasmussen, K. Ø.; Smith, S. D.; Spontak, R. J. “Controlling the Phase Behavior of Block Copolymers Via Sequential Block Growth,” Polymer 2010 51, 5304-5308.
- Gaines M.K.; Smith S.D., Samseth J.; Bockstaller M.R.; Thompson R.B.; Rasmussen, K. Ø.; Spontak R. J.; Nanoparticle-regulated phase behavior of ordered block copolymers. Soft matter 2008 4,1609-1612.
"My Teaching Philosophy is to Inspire Students to take Responsibility for their own Learning."
Active Learning Training
- Digital Pedagogy Program for Emory IRACDA fellows hosted by The Emory Center for Digital Scholarship (see Pre-Lecture video below)
- “Course Within a Course” – science teaching course for Ph.D.s, provided by IRACDA postdoctoral fellowship program
- General Chemistry CHE 111
- Physical Chemistry Lab CHE 346L
- Inorganic Chemistry Lab CHE 421L
- “Supramolecular Chemistry – the Bridge between Materials Science and Classical Chemistry” Seminar – Clark Atlanta University, Spring 2012
- The Elevator Pitch” Workshop – resulted in positive NSF CREST Center annual review ratings – Clark Atlanta University, Spring 2012
Models for Classroom Instruction
My courses use digital media to communicate with students outside of class and active learning strategies to provide students with the most effective tools to enhance their learning.
I enjoy providing social and professional development to students and children on science topics and life in general. I was very fortunate to have many strong mentors in my academic, professional, and social life. My goal is to empower others with more knowledge and resources, so they can achieve their life-long dreams. Here are a few quotes that I strongly agree with. These were collected from students that attended a few of my workshops.
"It is always helpful to have social and professional development. It should be a part of all graduate [student] experiences." - Clark Atlanta Graduate Student, The Elevator Pitch Workshop
"Make sure that you know your value in life and how your career goal supports that." Spelman College Student, "Ins & Outs of Graduate School Program
Workshops & Leadership
- Mock Interviews Symposium & Registration Committee Chair, Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award (IRACDA) Postdoctoral Conference, Atlanta, GA, June 2nd – 4th, 2013
- “Ins & Outs of Graduate School” Program, Atlanta University Center Schools (Spelman College, Morehouse College, and Clark Atlanta University), Fall 2012
- “Polymer Materials Processing” & “Quality Control with M&M’s”, Spelman College Dual-Degree Engineering Program, June 2012
- Midwest Regional Secretary, National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), 2002 – 2003
ACS Project S.E.E.D. Mentee - 2012
A summer high school student and I pose in front of her poster during the American Chemical Society (ACS) Project S.E.E.D. poster session of the 2012 Southeast Regional Meeting of the ACS (SERMACS) conference in Raleigh, NC. I was a research mentor for this high school student and two other undergraduate chemistry students that summer.
- “Emulsions in Food Science”, National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) Super Science Saturday, November 20th, 2010
- “Lithium-Ion Batteries, Nanotechnology, and Emulsions in Food Science”, Decatur High School Engineering Club, Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC) Department at Georgia Tech, November 3rd, 2010
- Raleigh Boys & Girls Club, 2005
- Project S.E.E. (Science In
Everyday Experiences) Cocoordinator,
Theta Sorority, Inc.
Alumnae Chapter, 2004 –