Curriculum: Foundations of Soft Materials for Life Sciences I/II

Lecture Hours: Monday, 2:30-4:10 pm

Location: Conte A524

Instructors: Carter, Tew and SMLS-NRT Faculty (Carter/Tew office hours by appt. only, contact

Course Content: Team taught by Carter and Tew with important teaching roles for all Core Participants, teh Core ourse includes technical content. The Core Course is an integrated interdisciplinary curriculum.

Polymeric soft materials are increasingly being used as tools to solve biological and biomedical problems. With the convergence of the physical and biological sciences, and with the central role of polymers in both, scientists and engineers from disparate fields will need an educational grounding that spans the broad biological-physical interface. The life scientist of the future will need not only have to be conversant in biological terms, but also have to understand at a fundamental level the increasingly important role that soft material will play in the life sciences. Enhanced curricula that include both synthetic and natural polymers as well as biology courses tailored to the needs of these scientists is provided. The science community needs to provide intellectual knowledge as well as both applied and “soft” skills. The course is interdisciplinary, designed for students from of wide diversity of scientific and engineering backgrounds.

Students successfully completing the course will understand the underlying use and function of soft materials and life sciences.

The course is intended to be taken over two semesters (Foundations I and II). The broad subject matter is split over two semesters. Each week, a lecture on a topic important to the understanding of soft materials in the life sciences will be presented. Lectures will be presented by UMass faculty that are experts in their fields.        


As an interdisciplinary course, there are no specifc prerequisite course needed, however, it will be assumed that all students will be M.S. or Ph.D. student in scientific or engineering department that each will hold B.S. or equivalent in their respective fields.

Class Preparation and Contribution:

Lectures will be designed to maximize interaction on the topic. Student may be periodically broken up into working groups to solve problems.  Students should do all of the required reading before class.

Course Materials

There is no one text that adequately covers the subject.  However, there are a number of resources available in the library (or my office) that contain great information:

·        Extensive Class Handouts

·        References in notes and lectures from blackboard

·        Many of the drawing, figures and schemes used in this class are from the above sources.

·        Important materials may be posted on:


Final grades will be based on the cumulative score of your exams, periodic problems sets that will be distributed during the semester and/or a research presentation. The presentation will be evaluated by fellow students and the instructors.

SPRING 2017 - Foundations II

  • Mon, Jan 23:  Prof. Greg Tew, PSE: Soft Materials for Immunology Part I
  • Mon, Jan 301:Prof. Greg Tew, PSE:Soft Materials for immunology Part II
  • Mon, Feb 6:    Prof. Jessica Schiffman, CE: Fibers and Fibrous Assemblies
  • Mon, Feb 13:  Prof. Alejandro Briseno, PSE: Organic Transistors in Life Science Applications 
  • Mon, Feb 27:  Prof. Maria Santore, PSE: Interactions at Material-Bio Interface
  • Mon, Mar 6:    Prof. Lisa Minter, FS, Ex vivo PTDM Delivery for Cell-Based Therapies
  • Mon, Mar 20:  Prof. Laurel Smith-Doerr, Soc: Diversity and the Science and Engineering Workforce
  • Mon, Mar 27:  Prof. Yubing Sun, MIE: Cell-matrix Interactions
  • Mon, Apr 3:     Prof. Yubing Sun, MIE: Microphysiological Systems
  • Mon, Apr 10:   Prof. Ken Carter, PSE: Polymers in Sensors I
  • Mon, Apr 18:   (Tuesday) Prof. Ken Carter, PSE: Polymers in Sensors II
  • Mon, Apr 24:   Student Presentations
  • Mon, May 1:   Student Presentations

FALL 2016 - Foundations I

  • Mon, Sep 12: Prof. Greg Tew, PSE: Drug Delivery: An Overview
  • Mon, Sep 19: Prof. Greg Tew, PSE: Delivery to the Immune System
  • Mon, Sep 26: Prof. Ken Carter, PSE: Polymers in Sensors, Part I
  • Mon, Oct 3:   Prof. Ken Carter, PSE: Polymers in Sensors, PartI I
  • Mon. Oct 11 (Tue): Prof. Lili He, Food Sci:  Advanced Imaging Techniques in Structural & Chemical Analysis, Part I (w/Lab)
  • Mon. Oct  24: Prof. Prof. Lili He, Food Sci: Advanced Imaging Techniques in Structural and Chemical Analysis, PartI I
  • Mon, Oct. 31: Prof. Alejandro Briseno, PSE: Conducting Polymer Chemical Sensors in Life Science Applications
  • Mon. Nov 7:   Prof. Yubing Sun, ChemE: Micro-nanotechnology for Bioengineering
  • Mon, Nov 14: Prof. Bob McWright, Tech Transfer Office: 
  • Mon, Nov 28: Prof. Laurel Smith-Doerr, Soc: Understanding Organizational Failure & Technological Risk
  • Mon, Dec 5:   Prof. Barbara Osborne, VASCI:  Engineering Antibodies for Clinical Applications I
  • Mon, Dec 12: Prof. Barbara Osborne, VASCI: Engineering Antibodies for Clinical Applications II

SPRING 2016 - Foundations II

  • Mon, Jan 25: Prof. Greg Tew, PSE: Soft Materials for Immunology Part I 
  • Mon, Feb 1:   Prof. Greg Tew, PSE: Soft Materials for immunology Part II
  • Mon, Feb 8:   Prof.  Jessica Schiffman, ChemE: Bionanomaterials
  • Mon, Feb 16: Prof.  Maria Santore, PSE: Interactions at Material-Bio Interface
  • Mon, Feb 22: Prof. Julie Goddard, Food Sci: Surface Modification of Polymer/Inorganic Substrates
  • Mon, Feb 29: Prof. Sam Nugen, Food Sci: Point-of-Care Diagnostics Design
  • Mon, Mar 7:   Prof. Ken Carter, PSE: Advanced Lithography and Patterning Part I
  • Mon. Mar 14: NO CLASS/ACS MTG
  • Mon, Mar 21: Prof. Ken Carter, PSE: Advanced Lithography and Patterning Part II
  • Mon, Mar 28: Prof. Jonathan Rothstein, Mech Ind & Eng: Roll-to-Roll Coating Part I
  • Mon, Apr 4:    Prof. Jonathan Rothstein, Mech Ind & Eng: Roll-to-Roll Coating Part II
  • Mon, Apr 11:  Prof. Laurel Smith-Doerr, Sociology: Science Policy
  • Mon, Apr 18:  Student Presentations
  • Mon, Apr 25:  Student Presentations