Thomas Epps

Thomas Epps, III

Allan & Myra Ferguson Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Materials Science & Engineering

Email :

Phone : (302) 831-0215

232 Colburn Lab


Thomas is the Allan & Myra Ferguson Distinguished Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Delaware (UD) with a joint appointment in Materials Science & Engineering. He is Director of the Center for Research in Soft Matter & Polymers (CRiSP), Director of the new NSF MRSEC at UD called CHARM (Center for Hybrid, Active, and Responsive Materials) and Deputy Director of the new DOE EFRC at UD called CPI (Center for Plastics Innovation). His research interests include nanostructured assemblies for targeted drug delivery and gene therapy, polymeric materials for bio-separation and ion-conduction membranes, nanostructured soft materials from biobased and plastics waste feedstocks, and polymer films for nanotemplating. He was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2017, Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC) in 2018, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering in 2021, Polymers Division of the American Chemical Society in 2021, the American Chemical Society in 2021, and the National Academy of Inventors in 2022. Thomas is also co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Lignolix, Inc. – a start-up focused on valorization of biomass waste. He has received several honors and awards including: the William W. Grimes Award (AIChE, 2021), Percy L. Julian Award (NOBCChE, 2020); John H. Dillon Medal (APS, 2016); Owens-Corning Early Career Award (AIChE, 2015), among others. Thomas is an associate editor for Science Advances and a member of the DOE Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee.


  • University of North Carolina, Department of Chemistry, Slayton Evans Lecture, 2023
  • Johns Hopkins University, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, William H. Schwarz Lecture, 2023
  • University of Massachusetts – Amherst, Alumni Lectures, 2022
  • Faculty Award for Excellence in Research and Entrepreneurship, UD, College of Engineering, 2022
  • University of Minnesota, Dept. of Chemistry, Jeannette Brown Lectureship, 2022
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Birnbaum Award, 2022
  • AIChE Minority Affairs William W. Grimes Award for Excellence in Chemical Engineering, 2021
  • University of Delaware, Men’s Soccer Team – Most Valuable Professor Award, 2021
  • C&E News Trailblazer, 2021
  • Allan & Myra Ferguson Distinguished Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, UD, 2021
  • Percy L. Julian Award (NOBCChE), 2020
  • University of Minnesota, Chemical Eng. and Materials Science Centennial & Jubilee Alumni Lecture, 2020
  • Texas A&M University, Dept. of Chemical Engineering, Lindsay Lectureship, 2017
  • American Chemical Society (ACS) Expert, 2017
  • National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Arab-US, Frontiers of Engineering Participant, 2016
  • University of Notre Dame, Dept. of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Thiele Lectureship, 2016
  • University of Massachusetts, Amherst – Graduate Students of Diversity Lectureship, 2016
  • John H. Dillon Medal, American Physical Society (APS), 2016
  • Owens Corning Young Investigator Award, AIChE, 2015
  • Kavli Fellow, National Academy of Sciences, 2014
  • National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Japan-US, Frontiers of Science Participant, 2014
  • Sigma Xi Young Investigator Award, 2014
  • National Academy of Engineering (NAE) US-EU, Frontiers of Engineering Participant, 2013
  • Thomas and Kipp Gutshall Chair of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, UD, 2012
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Visiting Professor Award (MIT), 2012
  • UD Gerard J. Mangone Best Young Scholar Award (Alison Young Professor), 2011
  • DuPont Young Professor Award, 2010
  • PECASE Award – Department of Defense (AFOSR), 2009
  • Outstanding Junior Faculty Award, UD, College of Engineering, 2009
  • Air Force Young Investigator Award, 2009
  • National Academy of Engineering (NAE), Frontiers of Engineering Participant, 2008
  • DOW Distinguished Lecturer, UC Santa Barbara, 2007
  • Lloyd Ferguson Young Scientist Award (NOBCChE), 2007
  • National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award, 2007

Research Interests

  1. Biobased materials from waste feedstocks to create performance-advantaged materials
  2. Valorization of plastics waste
  3. Ion-conducting battery membranes
  4. Nanostructured polymer thin films and coatings
  5. Nanoscale templating of materials
  6. Stimuli-responsive polymers systems for targeted drug delivery and gene therapy applications

Representative Publications

  1. Hinton, Z. R.; Talley, M. R.; Kots, P. A.; Le, A. V.; Zhang, T.; Mackay, M. E.; Kunjapur, A. M.; Bai, P.; Vlachos, D. G.; Watson, M. P.; Berg, M. C.; Epps, T. H., III; Korley, L. T. J. Annual Review of Materials Research 2022 52, 249-280 [invited article] “Innovations Toward the Valorization of Waste Plastics” (co-corresponding author)
  2. Epps, T. H., III; Korley, L. T. J.; Yan, T.; Beers, K. L.; Burt, T. M. JACS Au 2022 2(1), 3-11 [invited perspective] “Sustainability of Plastics: The Many Routes to Materials Life-Cycle Management” (corresponding author)
  3. O’Dea, R. M.; Pranda, P. A.; Luo, Y.; Amitrano, A.; Ebikade, E. O.; Gottlieb, E. R.; Ajao, O.; Benali, M.; Vlachos, D. G.; Ierapetritou, M.; Epps, T. H., III Science Advances 8 (3), eabj7523 2022 “Ambient-pressure lignin valorization to high-performance polymers by intensified reductive catalytic deconstruction” (corresponding author)
  4. Peterson, G. W.; Lee, D. T.; Barton, H. F.; Epps, T. H., III; Parsons, G. N. Nature Reviews Materials 2021 6, 605-621 [invited review] “Metal-Organic Framework – Polymer-Fiber Composites: Processing and Properties” (corresponding author)
  5. Korley, L. T. J.; Epps, T. H., III; Helms, B. A.; Ryan, A. J. Science 2021 373(6550), 66-69 [invited perspective] “Toward Polymer Upcycling ­– Adding Value and Tackling Circularity” (co-corresponding author)
  6. Roh, E. H.; Epps, T. H., III; Sullivan, M. O. ACS Nano 2021 15(10), 16055-16066 “Kinetic modeling to accelerate the development of nucleic acid formulations” (co-corresponding author)
  7. Ketkar, P. M.; Epps, T. H., III Accounts of Chemical Research 2021 54(23), 4342-4353 [invited article] “Nanostructured polymer electrolytes: tailoring self-assembly to unlock the potential in lithium-ion batteries” (corresponding author)
  8. Knauer, K.; Speros, J. C.; Kemp, L.; Savin, D. A.; Bao, Z.; Coates, G. W.; Epps, T. H., III; Hawker, C. J.; Roy, J. L.; Morse, M.; Yao, J.; Yu, O. ACS Macro Letters 2021 10, 864-872 “100th Anniversary of Polymer Science Viewpoint: Entrepreneurial Polymer Chemistry” *ACS Editors’ Choice
  9. Mahajan, J. S.; O’Dea, R. M.; Norris, J. B.; Korley, L. T. J.; Epps, T. H., III ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering 2020 8(40), 15072-15096 [invited perspective] “Aromatics from Lignocellulosic Biomass: A Platform for High-Performance Thermosets” (co-corresponding author) *Front Cover Article*
  10. Machado, C.; Hopkins, T.; Brown, G. O.; Epps, T. H., III ACS Energy Letters 2020 6, 158-176 [invited perspective] “Redox Flow Battery Membranes: Improving Battery Performance by Leveraging Structure-Property Relationships” (corresponding author)
  11. O’Dea, R. M.; Willie, J.; Epps, T. H., III ACS Macro Letters 2020 9, 476-493 [invited viewpoint] “100th Anniversary of Macromolecular Science Viewpoint: Polymers from Lignocellulosic Biomass. Current Challenges and Future Opportunities” (corresponding author)
  12. Lessard, J. J.; Scheutz, G. M.; Sung, S. H.; Lantz, K. A.; Epps, T. H., III; Sumerlin, B. S. Journal of the American Chemical Society 2019 142(1), 283-289 “Block Copolymer Vitrimers” (co-corresponding author)
  13. Ketkar, P. M.; Shen, K.; Hall, L. M.; Epps, T. H., III Molecular Systems Design & Engineering 2019 4, 223-238 [invited review] “Charging toward improved lithium-ion polymer electrolytes: exploiting synergistic experimental and computational approaches to facilitate materials design” (co-corresponding author)
  14. Peterson, G.; Browe, M.; Durke, E.; Epps, T. H., III Applied Materials and Interfaces 2018 10(49) 43080-43087. “Flexible SIS/HKUST-1 Mixed Matrix Composites as Protective Barriers against Chemical Warfare Agent Simulants” (corresponding author)
  15. Wang, S.; Shuai, L.; Saha, B.; Vlachos, D. G.; Epps, T. H., III ACS Central Science 2018 4(6), 701-708. “From Tree to Tape: Direct Synthesis of Pressure Sensitive Adhesives from Depolymerized Raw Lignocellulosic Biomass” (corresponding author)
  16. Peng, Y.; Nicastro, K. H.; Epps, T. H., III; Wu, C. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2018 66(44) 11775-11783. “Evaluation of Estrogenic Activity of Novel Bisphenol A Alternatives, Four Bio-inspired Bisguaiacol F Specimens, by in vitro Assays”
  17. Nicastro, K. H.; Kloxin, C. J.; Epps, T. H., III ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering 2018 6(11) 14812-14819. “Potential Lignin-Derived Alternatives to Bisphenol In Diamine-Hardened Epoxy Resins” (corresponding author)


  1. Angela L. Holmberg, Joseph F. Stanzione, III, Richard P. Wool, and Thomas H. Epps, III, “Bio-Based Block Polymers Derived from Lignin and Fatty Acids.” S. Pat. #9,512,249 – Issued 12/06/2016
  2. Wei-Fan Kuan and Thomas H. Epps, III, “Tapered Block Copolymer Electrolytes.” S. Pat. #9,935,332 – Issued 04/03/2018
  3. Angela L. Holmberg, Kaleigh H. Reno, and Thomas H. Epps, III, “Functionalized Dimethoxyphenol Monomers and Methods for Preparing Such Monomers” S. Pat. #10,253,131 – Issued 04/09/2019
  4. M. Shelton and T. H. Epps, III, “Device and method for making shear-aligned, solvent-cast films” U.S. Pat. #10,929,664 – Issued 11/10/2020
  5. B. Gordon, G. E. Knappe, S. Wang, N. J. Wagner, T. H. Epps, III, C. J. Kloxin, “Stress-Responsive Compositions and Uses Thereof” U.S. Pat. #10,968,301 – Issued 04/06/2021
  6. T. Greco, M. O. Sullivan, T. H. Epps, III, “Hybrid Formulation of Responsive Polymeric Nanocarriers for Therapeutic and Diagnostic Delivery.” US20200181649A1, Published 06/11/2020.
  7. W. Peterson, A. X. Lu, J. S. Epps, T. H. Epps, III, “Layered Mixed Matrix Membranes from Metal-Organic Frameworks and Metal Oxides” US2018000203, Published 05/06/2021.
  8. L. Holmberg, K. H. Nicastro, S. Wang, L. Shuai, B. Saha, M. A. Morris, D. G. Vlachos, T. H. Epps, III, “Bio-based Polymers from Raw Lignocellulosic Biomass” US20190144590A1, Published 01/09/2019.
  9. Peterson, T. H. Epps, III, “Multivariate HKUST-1 Based Metal Organic Frameworks with Reactive Amine Group” U.S. Pat Appl. 16/709,258, Filed 12/10/2019.
  10. H. Epps, III, L. T. J. Korley, J. Mahajan, H. S. Behbahani, M. D. Green “Bio-based polysulfones and uses thereof” PCT/US202037332, Filed on 06/11/2020.
  11. M. O’Dea, E. R. Gottlieb, T. H. Epps, III, “High-performance, potentially bio-based drag reducing agents for pipeline and oilfield applications” U.S. Prov. Pat. Appl. 63/038772, 06/13/2020. (Lignolix, LLC)
  12. W. Peterson, J. Landers, T. H. Epps, III “Polymer-Based Composite Beads Comprised of Metal-Organic Frameworks and Metal Oxides for Toxic Chemical Removal” U.S. Prov. Pat. Appl. 63/079218, 09/16/2020.
  13. R. Gottlieb, T. H. Epps, III, “A Method and Device for Making Shear-Aligned Solvent-Cast Films” U.S. Prov. Pat. Appl. 63/290882