Ellison, Christopher J. Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Frank A. Liddell, Jr. Centennial Fellowship in Chemical Engineering
William H. Tonn Professorial Fellow

Dr. Chris Ellison
Office: CPE 3.418 Mailing Address:
Phone: (512) 471-6300 The University of Texas at Austin
Fax: (512) 471-7060 McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering
Email: ellison@che.utexas.edu 200 E Dean Keeton St. Stop C0400
UT Mail: C0400 Austin, TX 78712-1589

Research Areas: Advanced Materials, Polymers & Nanotechnology

Research Group Website

Research Presentation for Prospective Graduate Students

Educational Qualifications

Postdoctoral Associate, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, University of Minnesota (2006-2008)
Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, Northwestern University (2005)
B.S., Chemical Engineering, Iowa State University (2000)


Design, synthesis, characterization and processing of nanostructured polymeric materials


In general, the specifics of the research are driven by a combination of fundamental and practical implications.  A particular advantage of our laboratory is the use of well-established chemistries (anionic and controlled free-radical polymerization, basic monomer synthesis, etc.) to control all aspects of molecular architecture.  This is critical framework required for establishing quantitative relationships in these complex multiscale materials.  We also work closely with other research groups focused on theory and simulation to both guide and advance our understanding of the experiments when appropriate.

Below is a small sampling of active research projects in our group.  Please contact Prof. Ellison for more detail.  Other projects may be available and new research proposals that fall into the group’s general research theme are of interest:

Directing Structure in Nanofilled Polymeric Materials (nanocomposites)

Understanding and Exploiting Diffusion and Relaxation Dynamics of Polymers at or Near Surfaces and Interfaces in Nanocomposites, Thin Films and Other Nanostructured Materials

Solventless / “Green” Processing Route to Polymer Nanofibers

We are always looking for highly motivated postdocs and graduate / undergraduate students to join our group.  Applicants should have a strong interest in conducting experimental research and participating in a highly collaborative, interdisciplinary environment.  Please contact Prof. Ellison by email at ellison@che.utexas.edu with a description of your interests and short curriculum vitae / resume.

Honors & Awards

DuPont Young Professor Award (2012)
3M Nontenured Faculty Award (2012)
National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2011)
Best Paper Award from the Engineering Properties and Structures Division, SPE ANTEC (2009)
Contributed as one of “Twenty-five of the profession’s thought-leaders” to AIChE’s Centennial
Chemical Engineering Progress issue article titled “Chemical Engineering in the Next 25 Years” (2008)
Frank J. Padden Jr. Award for Excellence in Polymer Physics Research, APS Division of Polymer Physics (2005)
Top ten most significant papers since the inception of the journal Nature Materials (from editors, 2005)
ICI Student Award in Applied Polymer Science, ACS PMSE and POLY and Poly. Ed. Comm. (2004)
Distinguished Graduate Researcher Award, Northwestern University, Dept. of Chem. and Biol. Eng. (2004)
Best Paper Award from the Polymer Analysis Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers, ANTEC (2004)
Polymer Physics Prize, Journal of Polymer Science Part B Polymer Physics (2004)
Henderson Terminal Year Fellowship, Northwestern University (2003-2004)
Best Poster Presentation, Society for Applied Spectroscopy (Chicago Section, Oct. 2001)
Walter P. Murphy Fellowship, Northwestern University (2000-2001)

Selected Publications

  • Polarity-Switching Top Coats Enable Orientation of Sub-10 nm Block Copolymer Domains. C.M. Bates, T. Seshimo, M.J. Maher, W.J. Durand, J.D. Cushen,  L.M. Dean, G. Blachut, C.J. Ellison and C.G. Willson, Science, 338, 775-779 (2012).
  • Thin Film Self-Assembly of Poly(trimethylsilylstyrene-n-D,L-lactide) with Sub-10 nm Domains. J.D. Cushen, C.M. Bates, E.L. Rausch, L.M. Dean, S.X. Zhou, C.G. Willson and C.J. Ellison, Macromolecules, 45, 8722-8728 (2012).
  • Patterning by Photochemically Directing the Marangoni Effect. J.M. Katzenstein, D.W. Janes, J.D. Cushen, N.B. Hira, D.L. McGuffin and C.J. Ellison, ACS Macro Letters, 1, 1150-1154 (2012).
  • Soybean Oil Based Fibers Made Without Solvent or Heat. D.W. Janes, K. Shanmuganathan, D.Y. Chou and C.J. Ellison, ACS Macro Letters, 1, 1138-1142 (2012).
  • Synthesis and Thin Film Orientation of Poly(styrene-block-trimethylsilylisoprene). C.M. Bates, M.A. Bedolla Pantoja, J.R. Strahan, L.M. Dean, B.K. Mueller, C.J. Ellison, P.F. Nealey, C.G. Willson, J. Polym. Sci. Part A: Polym. Chem., in press.
  • Block Copolymer Orientation Control Using a Top-Coat Surface Treatment. T. Seshimo, C.M. Bates, L.M. Dean, J.D. Cushen, W.J. Durand, M.J. Maher, C.J. Ellison, C.G. Willson, J. Photopolymer Science and Technology, 25, 125-130 (2012).
  • Solventless High Throughput Manufacturing of Poly(butylene terephthalate) Nanofibers. K. Shanmuganathan, Y. Fang, D.Y. Chou, S. Sparks, J. Hibbert and C.J. Ellison, ACS Macro Letters, 1, 960-964 (2012).
  • Triphenyl Phosphite Reactive Additives for Tuning Viscoelasticity of Vectra. Z. Li, P. Gonzalez, E. Baer and C.J. Ellison, Polymer, 53, 3245-3252 (2012).
  • Oligosaccharide/Silicon-Containing Block Copolymers with 5 nm Features for Lithographic Applications. J.D. Cushen, I. Otsuka, C.M. Bates, S. Halila, S. Fort, C. Rochas, J.A. Easley, E.L. Rausch, A. Thio, R. Borsali, C.G. Willson and C.J. EllisonACS Nano, 6, 3424-3433 (2012).
  • Nanoconfined Self-Diffusion of Poly(isobutyl methacrylate) in Films with a Thickness-Independent Glass Transition. J.M. Katzenstein, D.W. Janes, H.E. Hocker, J.K. Chandler and C.J. Ellison, Macromolecules, 45, 1544–1552 (2012).
  • Thermo-oxidative Stabilization of Polymers Using Natural and Synthetic Melanins. K. Shanmuganathan, P. Iyer, J.H. Cho, S. Baranowitz, C.J. Ellison, Macromolecules, 44, 9499–9507 (2011). (featured as Noteworthy Chemistry at www.acs.org)
  • Thiol–Ene Chemistry: A Greener Approach to Making Chemically and Thermally Stable Fibers. K. Shanmuganathan, R.K. Sankhagowit, P. Iyer and C.J. Ellison, Chemistry of Materials, 23, 4726-4732 (2011).