Polymer Synthesis, Biomaterials, Drug Delivery, Reactive Sulfur Species, Self-Assembly
In my research, I develop new small molecules and materials with applications in biology, medicine, and sustainability using techniques and tools from organic chemistry, polymer chemistry, supramolecular chemistry, and nanoscience. With my collaborators, we aim to answer biological questions, discover potential new therapeutics, explore new polymer topologies, and design sustainable materials for a broad variety of applications.
I began my independent career at Virginia Tech in 2012, was granted tenure in 2018, and became the A.C. Lilly Jr. Fellow of Nanoscience in 2020.
I majored in chemistry and German at Washington University, St. Louis, then moved to Caltech for my Ph.D. in organic and polymer chemistry under the direction of Nobel Laureate Bob Grubbs. After graduating in 2009, I moved to Northwestern University to pursue an National Institutes of Health funded postdoc in the area of peptide-based biomaterials in the lab of Sam Stupp.
I first discovered a passion for this work ...
Making polymers in my undergraduate research lab.
Groups or organizations I am involved in ...
I am a member of the Polymer Division of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC).
Honor or award I am most proud of ...
I am most proud of being granted tenure at Virginia Tech because it is really a recognition of the hard work of all the students and postdocs that have been a part of my research group.
Best part of working at Virginia Tech ...
We have a polymer conference room where polymers are the only acceptable topic of discussion.
Something that excites me in my field ...
Polymers and soft materials have dramatically changed how we live over the past several decades. By controlling their structure on a molecular level and at the nanoscale, we can now begin to consider and tune all aspects of these materials, including degradation in the body or in the environment.
I wish I invented ...
A time machine.
If I had a superpower, it would be ...
I wish I could pause time — Zack Morris style.
In my free time ...
My daughter and I make gluten free Rice Crispy treats.
John Matson | Associate Professor
Chemistry, Virginia Tech
Department of Chemistry - Faculty Bio Page