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The Dingemans Group

The Dingemans Group focuses on the design and synthesis of high-performance, all-aromatic, liquid crystal polymers.  We continually find ourselves at the nexus of material synthesis, characterization, and processing, allowing us to bridge the gap between chemistry and engineering.


Latest News in the Group

May 2023:  We are excited to announce that graduate student John Migliore has accepted an internship opportunity at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, OH with the Air Force Research laboratory (AFRL).  John will spend the summer developing novel composite materials for the Materials and Processes Division at AFRL.  Safe travels, John!

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April 2023:  Two exciting events were attended by the Dingemans group in April!  UNC MRS and CHANL hosted the 2023 Art in Science Competition.  Researchers across UNC were invited to submit their science through a creative medium.  Winners received over $200 in prizes.  Also, UNC MRS  hosted a table at the North Carolina Science Expo.  Attendees of all ages performed a bridge building activity to demonstrate the importance of material selection during construction.

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March 2023:  Members of the Dingemans lab, in collaboration with UNC MRS, hosted student research seminars at JSNN (Greensboro, NC) and NCCU (Durham, NC) this month.  The events consisted of presentations from members of all organizations.  We also made plenty of time for mixing and mingling between undergraduate and graduate student researchers.

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January 2023:  The end of 2022 was a busy season that saw multiple publications.  Check out our latest journal articles in ACS Applied Polymer Materials, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, and Polymer.  These works highlight our latest contributions to membrane and separation technologies.

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November 2022:  The Dingemans Group would like to wish a warm welcome to our newest member, Graduate Student Maria Furukawa!  Maria spent the last 3 years working in a polymer R&D setting before pursuing her PhD here at UNC-CH.  We look forward to learning and working alongside you, Maria!

November 14th, 2022:  Congratulations to Dr. Anna Fraser on successfully defending her thesis, "Sulfonated all-aromatic polyamides for water purification". Dr. Fraser has accepted a position at Solvay, located in Alpharetta, GA.


October 2022:  This month began with another successful Triangle Student Research Competition.  Organization efforts were led by graduate and undergraduate students from of the Dingemans lab, UNC-CH, Duke, NCCU, UNC-G, and NC A&T.  The event hosted over 100 participants from academia and industry.  Thank you to everyone who participated, and we hope to see you again next year!

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August 2022:  For the months of August and September, members of the Dingemans lab (in collaboration with the Materials Research Society at Chapel Hill and the UNC Graduate School) will be hosting a four-part NSF - GRFP Workshop Series.  The series will consist of lectures by Dr. Sophie McCoy and Ashalla Freeman.  Participants will also have the opportunity to work with current NSF Fellows to peer review their personal and research statements.

June 2022:  Members of the Dingemans lab, in collaboration with the Applied Physical Science and Chemistry Departments at UNC, helped organize this year's Sciathon event!  Thank you to all the volunteers, industry, and graduate student participants that make this a special opportunity to show case novel approaches to everyday challenges.

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May 2022:  The Dingemans lab is proud to announce that Dr. Theo Dingemans will be accepting the role of Applied Physical Sciences Department Chair here at UNC Chapel Hill effective May 2022.  With a diverse group of faculty, staff, and students in the APS Department at UNC, we are excited to watch as the Department continues to flourish.  What an incredible opportunity!  Congratulations, Theo!


May 2022:  Starting this month, research technician, Alex Forest, will be accepting a position at Carbon 3D Printing.  Alex was an integral part to the synthesis of materials for Bluesky Polymers.  We wish you the best and congratulations on the new position!

April 2022:  Congratulations to Graduate Student John Migliore!  John recently received Honorable Mention from the prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF GRFP).  And, shortly after, John earned the title of PhD Candidate after passing his second-year Doctoral Qualifying Exams.  Amazing work, John!


March 2022:  This month the Dingemans Group welcomes recent UNC Graduate, Sarah Davis.  Sarah will perform synthesis and characterize on high-performance polymers that are currently being generated by Bluesky Polymers, the start-up company located here at UNC in the Dingemans Group.

March 2022:  The Dingemans Group is excited to announce that post-doctoral researcher, Dr. Gabby Esposito, has accepted a position at the Air Force Research Laboratory in Dayton, OH.  We truly appreciate the hard-work and dedication that Gabby contributed to the Dingemans Group and are looking forward to watching you continue to grow.  Congrats, Gabby!

January 27th, 2022:  Science in the Stacks, a STEM outreach organization, received recognition on UNC's Discover Webpage.  Work by organization members and Graduate Student Executive Officers John Migliore and Anna Fraser have played an active role in bringing the wonders of science to children in the greater Chapel Hill area.  See the full story here.

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September-October 2021:  Graduate students John Migliore and Anna Fraser led organization efforts with a team of UNC, NC-State, and Duke graduate students in preparation for the 9th Annual Triangle Student Research Competition.  The event, hosted by UNC, NC-State, and Duke's Materials Research Societies and Electrochemical Societies, brought in over 100 students and industry representatives to promote scientific communication and help foster collaboration.

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May 2021:  Our senior undergraduate researcher, Christian DeSimone, graduated this spring.  Christian will begin working at Beghou Consulting this summer.  We will surely miss such an incredible lab member and are wishing you the best as the latest Tar Heel graduate!

May 2021:  In collaboration with the Madsen Group at Virginia Tech, Nature Materials recently accepted our most recent work demonstrating the combined properties of ionic liquids with a liquid crystalline polymer for the fabrication of next-generation, lithium-based batteries.

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February 2021:  As members of Science in the Stacks, a STEM outreach organization, graduate students Anna Fraser and John Migliore performed a virtual presentation and walked K-12 students through an activity that highlighted the importance of materials in extreme climates.

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January 2021:  After two years of incredible research, the Dingemans Group is excited to announce that post-doctoral researcher, Dr. Shreya Choudhury, will be leaving UNC to accepted a position at Corning, Inc. in Corning, NY.  We are wishing you the best!  Congrats, Shreya!

November 2020:  The Dingemans Group welcomes graduate student John Migliore!  John received a Chemistry B.S. from Bethel University in St. Paul, MN.  At UNC, he will begin elucidating the self-assembly and solution properites of rod-like polyelectrolytes for biomimetic applications.  Welcome to the group, John!

September-October 2020:  The past two months have seen the addition of Research Technician, Alex Forest, and Senior Scientist, Dr. Douglas Betts, to the Dingemans Group.  Alex and Doug will focus their research efforts towards the synthesis and design of materials for Blue Sky Polymers, the start-up company incubated within the Dingemans Group.

Summer 2020:  We are excited to announce that this past summer saw the publication of multiple papers and journal covers from UNC PhD graduate Dr. Ryan Fox.  Dr. Fox's recognition for his work at UNC is well deserved, congrats!

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May 2020:  Our senior undergraduate researchers, Brian Yang and Jacob Yankey, graduated this spring.  My, how the time flies!  Congratulations and great work! We're looking forward to watching your careers blossom as new UNC graduates.

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April 6th, 2020:  Congratulations to Dr. Ryan Fox on successfully defending his thesis, "Solution Structure, Rheology, and Nanocomposites of a Liquid Crystalline Polyelectrolyte". Dr. Fox will begin working for Exponent this summer.


Spring 2020:  We helped in manufacturing face shields for front-line COVID-19 workers and taught others how to do the same at UNC's BeAM Makerspace. Check out the story here:


February 2020:  This month saw the publication of Dr. Maruti Hegde's paper in Nature Communications, "Strong graphene oxide nanocomposites from aqueous hybrid liquid crystals".

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February 2020:  The Dingemans Group welcomes Dr. Gabby Esposito as the newest postdoctoral fellow in the lab. Gabby recently received her PhD from Leigh University and graduated from Georgia Tech with a Polymer Engineering degree.  Welcome, Gabby!

January 2020:  The Dingemans Group welcomes Dr. Michael Bakas, a visiting faculty member from the Army Research Office (ARO), and undergraduate researcher Christian DeSimone!  Welcome to the group, Michael and Christian!

October 2019:  In collaboration with the Creativity Hubs team, we were featured by Innovate Carolina for our work on water purification membrane technology.  Take a look at the story here:


August 2019:  We welcome undergraduate researchers Jacob Yankey and Brian Yang. They will be focusing on the development of high performance polyamides for heavy metal capture and process engineering applications. Welcome to the group, Jacob and Brian!

July 2019:  We are excited to announce that Ryan Fox will be leaving for a six month stay at Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL) to perform neutron scattering experiments as a Department of Energy Office of Science Graduate Research (DOE SCGSR) fellow.  Safe travels, Ryan!


February 2019:  In collaboration with the Madsen group at Virginia Tech, we recently published a report in Nature Communications evidencing the double helix self-assembly of a polyelectrolyte in water.  The paper, "Double helical conformation and extreme rigidity in a rodlike polyelectrolyte", highlights the novelty of a fully synthetic, hierarchical self-assembling polyelectrolyte.

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January 2019:  The Dingemans group welcomes Dr. Shreya Choudhury as a postdoctoral fellow.  We are looking forward to working alongside you and welcome to the group, Shreya!

Prior to 2019:  Want to learn more about the group? Don't worry, we are continuing to add updates regarding the full group history!

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