Principal Investigator

Dr. Mu-Ping Nieh


Prof. Mu-Ping Nieh received his B.S. degree from the department of Chemical Engineering at National Taiwan University and Ph.D. degree from the departments of Chemical Engineering and Polymer Science and Engineering at University of Massachusetts, Amherst (working with Prof. David Hoagland). His graduate research focuses on investigating the conformation of solvated polymer chains in flow field using light scattering. Afterwards, he became a postdoctoral researcher employed by Pennsylvania State University (working with Prof. Sanat Kumar, now at Columbia University) but stationed at National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Center for Neutron Research (NCNR) working with Dr. Charles Glinka (at NCNR) and Prof. Robert Briber (at University of Maryland). At NIST, he was involved in many researches using neutron scattering to characterize the structures of a variety of soft materials including chain conformation of highly confined polymers, spontaneous morphologies of “bicellar (bilayered micellar)” lipid mixtures and aggregation behavior of Gemini surfactants. In 2002, he joined the Neutron Program for Material Research (now Canadian Neutron Beam Centre, CNBC) of National Research Council (NRC) of Canada as a visiting fellow and later a research officer. At CNBC, he worked with Dr. John Katsaras (now at Neutron Science Directorate, ORNL) continuing to investigate the structures of lipid mixtures and biomolecules associated with lipids as functions of temperature, pressure, concentration, charge density, membrane rigidity and lipid architecture. Some of these spontaneous forming structures have many applications such as targeting theragnostic carriers (i.e., nanodiscs and nano-vesicles) and lipid substrates for aligning membrane proteins in solution (e.g., bilayered ribbons and lamellae). He also developed the first Canadian small angle neutron scattering capability on a triple-axis spectrometer using a converging multi-channel Soller collimator.  In 2010, he took the faculty position at University of Connecticut as an associate professor at the Institute of Materials Science (IMS) and the department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (CBE), and later, in 2013 he also joined the department of Biomedical Engineering (BME). His current research group is seeking for the fundamental understanding of thermodynamics and kinetics, which leads to uniform nanostructures of self-assemblies applicable for the use of biomedical, sensing and energy materials. The principle and knowledge obtained from the research can facilitate low-cost, mass-production processes to manufacture uniform nanoparticles.

Prof. Nieh has published about 70 peer-reviewed scientific articles in many prestigious international journals, filed 2 patents and authored 5 book chapters. He has numerous invited and conference presentations as well. He is currently co-editing a book “Liposomes, Lipid Bilayers & Model Membranes: from Basic Research to Technology” with Drs. Georg PabstNorbert Kučerka and John Katsaras. Prof. Nieh has received two National Science Foundation (NSF) awards and several grants from UCONN (total > $ 1 million) to (1) study single-step manufacturing nanodiscs for targeting delivery and (2) develop the small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) capabilities at UCONN Prof. Nieh also serves as a committee member for reviewing grant and beamtime proposals submitted toDepartment of EnergyOak Ridge National LaboratoryNCNR and Center for Functional Nanomaterials at Brookhaven National Laboratory. He is a member of the American Physical Society (APS), the American Chemical Society (ACS), the American Institute of Chemical Engineering (AIChE) and the Neutron Scattering Society of America (NSSA).

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