Crystal Chu

Assistant Professor
Seeley G. Mudd, Room 797
Research Interests: 
Organic Synthesis
Polymer and Materials Chemistry
Dynamic Hydrogels
Structure-Property Relationships
Regenerative Medicine
Teaching Interests: 
Organic Chemistry
Physical Organic Chemistry
Polymers & Biomaterials

The Chu Research Group develops bioinspired materials for medical applications, mapping chemical structure to mechanical properties and therapeutic function. Tissue dysfunction can result from injury, aging, and genetic diseases. Therapies that can reverse or repair damage by regenerating the mechanical and biological properties of different tissue types are needed to provide patients with improved treatments. Hydrogels have many characteristics that make them useful for regenerative medicine applications. Our group investigates molecular design rules to rationally design new biomaterials using polymer hydrogels and hydrogel-derived fibers. We have a strong focus on structure-property relationships that govern how chemistry affects network dynamics and stability to enhance biocompatibility and biomimicry, and apply these rules to develop potential therapeutics to improve treatment outcomes.

Visit the Chu Research Group website to learn more about current projects and research opportunities!

Selected Publications:

Chu, C. K.; Joseph, A. J.; Limjoco, M. D.; Yang, J.; Bose, S.; Thapa, L. S.; Langer, R.; Anderson, D. G. “Chemical Tuning of Fibers Drawn from Extensible Hyaluronic Acid Networks,” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2020, 142, 19715–19721.

Chu, C. K.; Lin, T.-P.; Shao, H.; Liberman-Martin, A. L.; Liu, P.; Grubbs, R. H. “Disentangling Ligand Effects on Metathesis Catalyst Activity: Experimental and Computational Studies of Ruthenium–Aminophosphine Complexes,” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2018, 140, 5634–5643.

Liberman-Martin, A. L.; Chu, C. K.; Grubbs, R. H. “Application of Bottlebrush Block Copolymers as Photonic Crystals,” Macromol. Rapid Commun. 2017, 38, 1700058.
Featured in Advanced Science News
Most Accessed 11/2016 – 10/2017

Chu, C. K.; Ziegler, D. T.; Carr, B. M.; Wickens, Z. K.; Grubbs, R. H. “Direct Access to β-Fluorinated Aldehydes by Nitrite-Modified Wacker Oxidation,” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2016, 55, 8435–8439.

Chu, C. K.; Liang, Y.; Fu, G. C. “Silicon−Carbon Bond Formation via Nickel-Catalyzed Cross-Coupling of Silicon Nucleophiles with Unactivated Secondary and Tertiary Alkyl Electrophiles,” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2016, 138, 6404–6407.

Chen, M. S.; Niskala, J. R.; Unruh, D. A.; Chu, C. K.; Lee, O. P.; Fréchet, J. M. J. “Control of Polymer Packing Orientation in Thin Films through Synthetic Tailoring of Backbone Coplanarity,” Chem. Mater. 2013, 25, 4088–4096.

Cui, L.; Cohen, J. L.; Chu, C. K.; Wich, P. R.; Kierstead, P. H.; Fréchet, J. M. J. “Conjugation Chemistry through Acetals toward a Dextran-Based Delivery System for Controlled Release of siRNA,” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2012, 134, 15840–15848.