Jonathan Barnes, assistant professor of chemistry in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, was selected as one of 15 Young Investigators this year by the American Chemical Society’s Division of Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering (ACS PMSE). The selection recognizes Barnes’ excellence in polymer research and marks him as an emerging leader in the field.
PMSE Young Investigators are early-career scientists and engineers from academia, national labs and industry within seven years of beginning their independent careers. Barnes, alongside this year’s other Young Investigators, will present his recent research advancements at the PMSE Young Investigator Symposium during the fall national meeting of the ACS, which will be held virtually this year.
A notable area of Barnes’ research program so far has been his work on hydrogels. His lab produced a new kind of artificial molecular muscle from a polymer that contracts and stiffens reversibly when exposed to light. Taking their research further, Barnes and his team recently created new hydrogels using a biocompatible polymer, increasing their original material’s strength while also achieving precise control over where activations occur through photo-patterning. Barnes’ work promises exciting applications in biomedicine as well as other fields.