Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Top 20 Doctoral Program—National Research Council


Dept. of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
University of Houston
S222 Engineering Bldg 1
4726 Calhoun Rd
Houston, TX 77204-4004
Phone: 713-743-4300
Campus Map


Dr. Megan Robertson

Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Office Location: S230, Engineering Building 1

Tel: (713) 743-2748 | Fax: (713) 743-4323

Email: mlrobertson [at] uh [dot] edu



  • B.S., Chemical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis (2001)
  • Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley (2006)

Professional Experience

  • Assistant Professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, 2010-present
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Minnesota, 2008-2010
  • Senior Scientist, Rohm and Haas (now Dow Chemical), 2006-2008


  • CHEE 5377/6377 Introduction to Polymer Science
  • CHEE 3333 Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics II
  • CHEE 3300 Introduction to Materials Science I

Research Interests

Nanostructured polymeric materials, self assembly, thermodynamics of polymer blends, structural characterization with light, neutron and x-ray scattering, biorenewable and biodegradable materials.

Current Research:

Nanostructured polymers are a class of soft materials, not unlike small-molecule surfactants, lipids and proteins, which can undergo spontaneous self-assembly into nanometer-sized domains. Polymers are pervasive in everyday life, from electronics to disposable products to medical equipment. Nanostructured polymers span many diverse and cutting-edge research areas such as nanolithography, organic semiconductors, drug delivery devices, and battery membranes. The Robertson Research Group works at the interface between polymer chemistry and polymer physics to design nanostructured materials for a variety of applications. Two current areas of emphasis are as follows:

Polymers Derived from Renewable Resources

The vast majority of polymers utilized are presently synthesized from petroleum feedstocks. The world supply of petroleum is finite and in the future it will be necessary to turn to sustainable alternative resources for polymer raw materials. The library of currently available synthetic polymers has an astounding diversity in physical properties, developed through decades of research. Though bio-based plastics are growing in number, their application is still limited due to the relatively small number of monomers that can be utilized. The goals of this research program are to:

  • Apply new and existing synthetic strategies to non-traditional monomers such as triglycerides, fatty acids, plant sugar-based molecules, and microbially-synthesized molecules.
  • Probe the physical properties of and thermodynamic interactions between biorenewable polymers including structural characterization with small angle scattering techniques.
  • Develop materials with superior properties for a plethora of applications including but not limited to drug delivery devices, organic semiconductors, and engineering plastics and elastomers.

Biodegradable Polymers for Biomedical Applications

A select group of polymers (whether renewable resource or petroleum derived) are biodegradable through a variety of mechanisms such as enzymatic degradation, hydrolysis, or microbial processes. This not only has environmental implications, but can be exploited in biomedical devices like drug delivery vehicles, heart stents, and resorbable sutures. Research efforts in this area will include:

  • Functionalization of amphiphilic polymers with reactive entities, and investigation of their controlled coupling and resulting morphological changes for use as organic nanoreactors and controlled drug delivery devices.
  • Characterization of the relevant thermodynamic and kinetic processes that govern the evolution of the polymer characteristics and resulting nanostructures during degradation.
  • Determination of the effect of polymer-drug interactions on the efficacy of materials used in drug delivery.

Awards and Honors

  • Kavli Fellow, 2015
  • National Science Foundation CAREER Award, 2014
  • Norman Hackerman Advanced Research Program Early Career Award, 2013
  • Texas Space Grant Consortium New Investigator Award, 2012

Professional Activities

  • Macromolecules and Macro Letters Editorial Advisory Board (2015-2017)
  • Executive Committee Member and Secretary, NIST User Group (2013-2016)
  • Executive Committee Member, ORNL CNMS User Executive Committee (2013-2016)
  • Board of Directors, South Texas Section of the Society of Plastics Engineers (2013-2016)
  • American Institute of Chemical Engineers Materials Engineering and Sciences Division Director (2015-2017)

Selected Publications

  1. Rohde, B. J.; Robertson, M. L.; Krishnamoorti, R.,

    "Concurrent Curing Kinetics of an Anhydride-Cured Epoxy Resin and Polydicyclopentadiene," Polymer, 69, 204-214

    , 2015
  2. Wang, S.; Ding, W.; Yang, G.; Robertson, M. L.,

    "Biorenewable Thermoplastic Elastomeric Triblock Copolymers containing Salicylic Acid-Derived End-Blocks and a Fatty Acid-Derived Midblock."  Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics 2015, in press.

    , 2015
  3. Wang, S.; Robertson, M.L.,

    "Thermodynamic Interactions between Polystyrene and Long-Chain Poly(n-alkyl acrylates) Derived from Plant Oils," ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, 7, 12109-12118

    , 2015
  4. Yang, G.; Kristufek, S. L.; Link, L. A.; Wooley, K. L.; Robertson, M. L.,

    "Synthesis and Physical Properties of Thiol-Ene Networks Utilizing Plant-Derived Phenolic Acids," Macromolecules 2015, in press.

    , 2015
  5. Wang, S.; Vajjala Kesava, S.; Gomez, E. D.; Robertson, M. L.,

    “Sustainable Thermoplastic Elastomers derived from Fatty Acids,” Macromolecules, 46, 7202-7212

    , 2013
  6. Yang, G.; Rohde, B. J.; Robertson, M. L.,

    “Hydrolytic Degradation and Thermal Properties of Epoxy Resins derived from Soybean Oil”, Green Materials1, 125-134

    , 2013
  7. Nedoma, A. J.; Lai, P.; Jackson, A.; Robertson, M. L.; Wanakule, N. S.; Balsara, N. P.,

    "Phase Diagrams of Blends of Polyisobutylene and Deuterated Polybutadiene as a Function of Chain Length", Macromolecules, 44 (8), 3077-3084

    , 2011
  8. Robertson, M. L.; Paxton, J. M.; Hillmyer, M. A.,

    "Tough Blends of Polylactide and Castor Oil", ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 3 (9), 3402-3410

    , 2011
  9. Gramlich, W. M.; Robertson, M. L.; Hillmyer, M. A.,

    “Reactive Compatibilization of Poly(L-lactide) and Conjugated Soybean Oil,” Macromolecules, 43, 2313-2321

    , 2010
  10. Nedoma, A. J.; Lai, P.; Jackson, A.; Robertson, M. L.; Wanakule, N. S.; Balsara, N. P.,

    “Phase Behavior of Asymmetric Multicomponent A/B/A-C Blends with Unequal Homopolymer Molecular Weights,” Macromolecules, 43, 3549-3555

    , 2010
  11. Nedoma, A. J.; Lai, P.; Jackson, A.; Robertson, M. L.; Wanakule, N. S.; Balsara, N. P.,

    "Phase Behavior of Off-Critical A/B/A-C Blends," Macromolecules, 43, 7852-7859

    , 2010
  12. Robertson, M. L.; Chang, K.; Gramlich, W. M.; Hillmyer, M. A.,

    “Toughening of Polylactide with Polymerized Soybean Oil,” Macromolecules, 43, 1807-1814

    , 2010
  13. Robertson, M. L.; Hillmyer, M. A.; Mortamet, A. C.; Ryan, A. J.,

    “Biorenewable Multiphase Polymers,” MRS Bulletin, 35, 194-200

    , 2010
  14. Chang, K.; Robertson, M. L.; Hillmyer, M. A.,

    “Phase Inversion in Polylactide / Soybean Oil Blends Compatibilized by Poly(isoprene-b-lactide) Block Copolymers,” ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, 1, 2390-2399

    , 2009
  15. Gomez, E. D.; Ruegg, M. L.; Minor, A. M.; Kisielowski, C.; Downing, K. H.; Glaeser, R. M.; Balsara, N. P.,

    “Interfacial Concentration Profiles of Rubbery Polyolefin Lamellae Determined by Quantitative Electron Microscopy,” Macromolecules, 41, 156-162

    , 2008
  16. Nedoma, A. J.; Robertson, M. L.; Wanakule, N. S.; Balsara, N. P.,

    “Measurements of the Composition and Molecular Weight Dependence of the Flory-Huggins Interaction Parameter,” Macromolecules, 41, 5773-5779

    , 2008
  17. Nedoma, A. J.; Robertson, M. L.; Wanakule, N. S.; Balsara, N. P.,

    “Measurements of the Flory-Huggins Interaction Parameter Using a Series of Critical Binary Blends,” Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research, 47, 3551-3553

    , 2008
  18. Wanakule, N. S.; Nedoma, A. J.; Robertson, M. L.; Fang, Z.; Jackson, A.; Garetz, B. A.; Balsara, N. P.,

    “Characterization of Micron-Sized Periodic Structures in Multicomponent Polymer Blends by Ultra-Small-Angle Neutron Scattering and Optical Microscopy,” Macromolecules, 41, 471-477

    , 2008
  19. Ruegg, M. L.; Balsara, N. P.,

    “Scattering from Polymer Systems,” Invited submission, Macromolecular Engineering, Matyjaszewski, K.; Gnanou, Y.; Leibler, L., editors, Wiley-VCH

    , 2007
  20. Ruegg, M. L.; Reynolds, B. J.; Lin, M. Y.; Lohse, D. J.; Balsara, N. P.,

    “Minimizing the Concentration of Diblock Copolymer Needed to Organize Blends of Weakly Segregated Polymers by Tuning Attractive and Repulsive Interactions,” Macromolecules, 40, 1207-1217

    , 2007
  21. Ruegg, M. L.; Reynolds, B. J.; Lin, M. Y.; Lohse, D. J.; Krishnamoorti, R.; Balsara, N. P.,

    “Effect of Pressure on a Multicomponent A/B/A-C Polymer Blend with Attractive and Repulsive Interactions,” Macromolecules, 40, 355-365

    , 2007
  22. Reynolds, B. J.; Ruegg, M. L.; Balsara, N. P.; Radke, C. J.,

    “Relationship between Macroscopic and Microscopic Models of Surfactant Adsorption Dynamics at Fluid Interfaces,” Langmuir, 22, 9201-9207

    , 2006
  23. Reynolds, B. J.; Ruegg, M. L.; Mates, T. E.; Radke, C. J.; Balsara, N. P.,

    “Diblock Copolymer Surfactant Transport across the Interface between Two Homopolymers,” Langmuir, 22, 9192-9200

    , 2006
  24. Ruegg, M. L.; Patel, A. J.; Narayanan, S.; Sandy, A. R.; Mochrie, S. G. J.; Watanabe, H.; Balsara, N. P.,

    “Condensed Exponential Correlation Functions in Multicomponent Polymer Blends Measured by X-ray Photon Correlation Spectroscopy,” Macromolecules, 39, 8822-8831

    , 2006
  25. Ruegg, M. L.; Reynolds, B. J.; Lin, M. Y.; Lohse, D. J.; Balsara, N. P.,

    “Microphase and Macrophase Separation in Multicomponent A/B/A-C Polymer Blends with Attractive and Repulsive Interactions,” Macromolecules, 39, 1125-1134

    , 2006
  26. Reynolds, B. J.; Ruegg, M. L.; Mates, T. E.; Radke; C. J.; Balsara; N. P.,

    “Experimental and Theoretical Study of the Adsorption of a Diblock Copolymer to Interfaces between Two Homopolymers,” Macromolecules, 38, 3872-3882

    , 2005
  27. Reynolds, B. J.; Ruegg, M. L.; Balsara, N. P.; Radke, C. J.; Shaffer, T. D.; Lin, M. Y.; Shull, K. R.; Lohse, D. J.,

    “Thermodynamics of Polymer Blends Organized by Balanced Block Copolymer Surfactants Studied by Mean Field Theories and Scattering,” Macromolecules, 37, 7401-7417

    , 2004
  28. Ruegg, M. L.; Newstein, M. C.; Balsara, N. P.; Reynolds, B. J.,

    “Small-Angle Neutron Scattering from Nonuniformly Labeled Block Copolymers,” Macromolecules, 37, 1960-1968

    , 2004
  29. Lee, J. H.; Ruegg, M. L.; Balsara, N. P.; Zhu, Y. Q.; Gido, S. P.; Krishnamoorti, R.; Kim, M. H.,

    “Phase Behavior of Highly Immiscible Polymer Blends Stabilized by a Balanced Block Copolymer Surfactant,” Macromolecules, 36, 6537-6548

    , 2003