Principal Investigator

Rachel A. Letteri

Assistant Professor

Department of Chemical Engineering

University of Virginia

rl2qm [at]

308 Wilsdorf Hall

Faculty website Google scholar @rachel_letteri


Rachel A. Letteri is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Virginia.  She obtained a B.S. in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering from the University of Notre Dame in 2010 and a Ph.D. in Polymer Science & Engineering from the University of Massachusetts Amherst under the direction of Professors Todd Emrick and Ryan Hayward, prior to postdoctoral research in the laboratory of Professor Karen Wooley in the Department of Chemistry at Texas A&M University.  Her research interests include polymer- and peptide-based materials with applications in medicine and engineering, and she is thrilled to be building a new lab with an outstanding group of researchers.  Rachel thoroughly enjoys introducing second year undergraduates to chemical engineering through her Material & Energy Balances course.  She also teaches Biochemical Engineering and a graduate course on Chemistry for Engineering Functional Soft Materials.  In her free time, she enjoys cooking, running, and Notre Dame football.

Graduate Students

Mobina Alimadad

jhk2yh [at] virginia [dot] edu

Mobina is working on developing comb-shaped polymer-peptide conjugates with antimicrobial activities. Her research focuses on how the conjugates' peptide density and molecular weight affect their performance and stability. Outside of lab, Mobina enjoys cooking, watching movies, and discovering new places in the city.

Mark S. Bannon

msb6ph [at] virginia [dot] edu

Mark's research focuses on developing drug delivery strategies for therapeutic peptides to increase their in vivo stability. Specifically, Mark uses exosomes, polyelectrolyte complexes and polymer-metal organic framework hydrogels to encapsulate therapeutic peptide cargo. Outside of lab, Mark enjoys playing guitar and coaching boys lacrosse for Albemarle High School.

Kelly M. Bukovic

kmb5pu [at] virginia [dot] edu

Kelly is interested in developing novel cell culture systems for the advancement of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. Specifically, she studies cellular responses to thermoresponsive polymeric culture substrates for biomanufacturing engineered skeletal muscle tissue. When not in lab, Kelly enjoys gardening, visiting wineries and art museums, crocheting, and barre.

Zixian Cui

zc6pa [at] virginia [dot] edu

Zixian is working on antimicrobial peptide-polymer conjugates to improve the proteolytic stability and reduce cytotoxicity while maintaining antibacterial activity of the peptides. She is interested in engineering the molecular structures (e.g., linear, star-shaped, comb-like, and hyperbranched) of the conjugates to study the architectural effects on activity, stability, and toxicity. Zixian is working with Chris to study the kinetics of polymerization to prepare comb-like conjugates. Outside of lab, she loves movies, music, and literature.

Israt Jahan Duti

Israt is developing hydrogels with controllable thermomechanical properties and proteolytic degradability. In particular, she works on designing peptide stereocomplexes as dynamic cross-linkers in polymeric hydrogels. In her free time, she enjoys movies, painting, and crafting. 

Aditi Gourishankar

jkd4kk [at] virginia [dot] edu

Jerwin C. Lawrence Go

ruy6bd [at] virginia [dot] edu

Vincent P. Gray

vg9cm [at] virginia [dot] edu

Vince is designing biomaterials to target and sequester toxic peptides implicated in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis using stereochemistry-driven and electrostatic interactions. Specifically, he uses characterization techniques to explore the interactions between peptides and optimize the design of biomaterials.  Outside of lab, Vince enjoys playing disc golf and ultimate frisbee, hiking, listening to music, and reading.

Darren Miller

htr7ww [at] virginia [dot] edu

Darren's research focuses on designing hydrogels with controllable mechanical properties and proteolytic degradability. Specifically, he is investigating peptide stereochemical-directed interactions to help establish design rules for using these molecules as dynamic cross-linkers in polymeric hydrogels. Outside of lab, Darren enjoys cooking, golf, and hiking.

Hadley Mosby

fwh9gq [at]

Hadley is working on designing D-peptides to capture L-peptides for therapeutic separation applications. More specifically, she is investigating the stereochemistry-driven interactions that occur between D- and L- peptides, and how they can be applied to separations. Outside of lab, Hadley enjoys reading, cooking, going for walks, and trying new coffee shops. 

Undergraduate Students

Joshua Alexander

yax8zn [at] virginia [dot] edu

Elli Brna

jtv5cs [at] virginia [dot] edu

Clare Cocker

cec5fc [at] virginia [dot] edu

Clare conducts experiments and molecular dynamic simulations to understand stereochemically-driven assembly of peptides. Around SEAS she also is a mentor in SURE (Starting and Undergraduate Research Experience) and a member of Theta Tau. For fun she enjoys trying new crafts and hiking.

Jack Dunleavy

jcd2evu [at] virginia [dot] edu

Jack's research focuses on the analysis of various methods for encapsulation and controlled release of therapeutic peptide cargo. Outside of the lab, Jack enjoys skateboarding, yoga, and art.

Mackenzie Klepsig

gjm8rk [at] virginia [dot] edu

Keelin Reilly

ptk8gg [at]