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Alshakim Nelson

Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Ph.D. University of California at Los Angeles, 2005

(Organic, Materials, and Polymer Chemistry)

(206) 543-2083


Nelson group website



Research Interests

The Nelson group harnesses an understanding of organic chemistry, polymer chemistry, and supramolecular chemistry to design stimuli-responsive materials for life science applications. Current areas of focus include polymer-living cell composite materials (also known living materials) and polymers to create anatomical models for human tissue. Our approach is to utilize the stimuli-responsive behavior of the materials to facilitate their fabrication or patterning. We are an interdisciplinary team of researchers, and our methods include living anionic polymerizations, rheological characterization, culturing microbes, and 3D printing.


Topics of current interest include:

  • Polymer chemistry
  • Supramolecular chemistry
  • Self-assembly
  • Stimuli-responsive materials
  • 3D printing
  • Whole-cell catalysis


Representative Publications


Karis, D. G.; Onor, R. J.; Zhang, M.; Vora, A.; Storti, D.; Ganter, M. A.; Nelson, A. Cross-linkable multi-stimuli responsive hydrogel inks for direct-write 3D printing. Polym. Chem. 2017, 8, 4199-4206.


Zhang, M.; Vora, A.; Han, W.; Wojtecki, R. J.; Maune, H.; Le, A. B. A.; Thompson, L. E.; McClelland, G. M.; Ribet, F.; Engler, A. C.; Nelson, A. Dual-Responsive Hydrogels for Direct-Write 3D Printing. Macromolecules 2015, 48, 6482-88.


Fukushima, K.; Liu, S.; Wu, H.; Engler, A. C.; Coady, D. J.; Maune, H.; Pitera, J.; Nelson, A.; Wiradharma, N.; Venkataraman, S.; Huang, Y.; Fan, W.; Ying, J. Y.; Yang, Y. Y.; Hedrick, J. L. Supramolecular high-aspect ratio assemblies with strong antifungal activity. Nat. Commun. 2013, 4, 3861.


Dai, Q.; Chen, Y.; Liu, C.-C.; Rettner, C. T.; Holmdahl, B.; Gleixner, S.; Chung, R.; Pitera, J. W.; Cheng, J.; Nelson, A. Programmable Nanoparticle Ensembles via High-Throughput Directed Self-Assembly. Langmuir 2013, 29, 3567-74.


Engler, A. C.; Chan, J. M. W.; Coady, D. J.; O'Brien, J. M.; Sardon, H.; Nelson, A.; Sanders, D. P.; Yang, Y. Y.; Hedrick, J. L. Accessing New Materials through Polymerization and Modification of a Polycarbonate with a Pendant Activated Ester. Macromolecules 2013, 46, 1283-90.


Dai, Q.; Frommer, J.; Berman, D.; Virwani, K.; Davis, B.; Cheng, J. Y.; Nelson, A. High-​Throughput Directed Self-​Assembly of Core-​Shell Ferrimagnetic Nanoparticle Arrays. Langmuir 2013, 29, 7472-77.


Thongsomboon, W.; Sherwood, M.; Arellano, N.; Nelson, A. Thermally Induced Nanoimprinting of Biodegradable Polycarbonates Using Dynamic Covalent Cross-​Links. ACS Macro Lett. 2013, 2, 19-22. (Featured Cover Art)


Fukushima, K.; Tan, J. P. K.; Korevaar, P. A.; Yang, Y. Y.; Pitera, J.; Nelson, A.; Maune, H.; Coady, D. J.; Frommer, J. E.; Engler, A. C.; Huang, Y.; Xu, K.; Ji, Z.; Qiao, Y.; Fan, W.; Li, L.; Wiradharma, N.; Meijer, E. W.; Hedrick, J. L. Broad-​Spectrum Antimicrobial Supramolecular Assemblies with Distinctive Size and Shape. ACS Nano 2012, 6, 9191-99.


Awards & Activities

  • 3M Non-tenured Faculty Award (2018)
  • NSF CAREER Award (2018)
  • Kavli Fellow (2016)
  • Ninth Invention Plateau Award (2013)
  • PMSE Young Investigator (2012)
  • IBM Master Inventor (2011)
  • Invention Achievement Award (2007)
  • NIH NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship (2004)
  • Saul & Sylvia Winstein Dissertation Award, UCLA (2004)

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