Charles Schroeder's directory photo.

Charles Schroeder


Primary Affiliation

Artificial Intelligence for Materials


Status Full-time Faculty

Home Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Phone 333-3906


Address 3247 Beckman Institute, 405 North Mathews Avenue

  • Biography

    Charles M. Schroeder is the James Economy professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and professor in the Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering. He is Co-Chair of the Molecular Science and Engineering Theme and Leader of the AI for Materials (AIM) Group in the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. Professor Schroeder is a faculty member in the Center for Biophysics and Quantitative Biology and holds affiliate status in the Department of Chemistry, the Department of Bioengineering, the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, and the Materials Research Lab (MRL). He previously served as Associate Head in the Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at Illinois. Before joining the University of Illinois in 2008, he was a Jane Coffin Childs Postdoctoral Fellow and a K99/R00 NIH postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University (2004-2007). 


    • B.S., chemical engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, 1999

    • M.S., chemical engineering, Stanford University, 2001

    • Ph.D., chemical engineering, Stanford University, 2004

  • Honors
    • 2023: American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow

    • 2019: Ray & Beverly Mentzer Professor

    • 2019: Society of Rheology Publication Award

    • 2014: Center for Advanced Study, Beckman Fellow, University of Illinois

    • 2013: Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award

    • 2013: NSF CAREER Award, National Science Foundation

    • 2013: Dean's Award for Excellence in Research, University of Illinois

    • 2012: Arthur B. Metzner Early Career Award, Society of Rheology

    • 2012: U.S. Frontiers of Engineering, National Academy of Engineering

    • 2011: Packard Fellowship in Science and Engineering

    • 2008: Tomorrow's PIs, Genome Technology

  • Research

    Research areas:

    • Single polymer dynamics

    • Vesicle dynamics, biological membranes, microhydrodynamics & Stokes trap

    • Automated synthesis for materials discovery

    • Molecular electronics & bioelectronics

    Research interests:

    • Molecular engineering

    • Soft materials

    • Molecular rheology

    • Single molecule biophysics

    The cutting edge of chemical science research lies in the ability to manipulate and control single molecules. The Schroeder group has pioneered a unique and powerful brand of molecular engineering that allows for the precise design and characterization of single molecules, in problems ranging from polymer physics to molecular electronics. Imagine the ability to design and engineer new soft materials with any desired functional properties (e.g., electrical, optical, mechanical) by controlling chemical structure and composition at the molecular level. The Schroeder group aims to achieve this vision by understanding how form and function arise in soft materials given precise control over molecular synthesis, structure, and processing.

     A major unsolved problem in soft materials and rheology lies in understanding how the collective behavior of individual molecules gives rise to bulk properties in polymeric materials. To address this challenge, the Schroeder group has extended the field of single polymer dynamics to new materials including architecturally complex polymers such as rings and branched polymers. His work provides a molecular-level understanding of non-equilibrium polymer dynamics, bridging the gap between molecular behavior and bulk properties in polymeric liquids and solids. Recent work has focused on fully recyclable synthetic polymers using metastable chemistries.

    Schroeder's group studies the non-equilibrium conformational dynamics of lipid vesicles and colloidal clusters using a Stokes trap, which is a new method developed by his group that allows for the precise trapping and manipulation of single molecules or particles using automated flow control. Understanding the dynamics of membrane-bound vesicles is critical for developing new and efficient drug delivery vehicles. His recent work has focused on understanding the non-linear deformation of lipid membranes in flow, including phase separation and dynamics of multi-component lipid membranes under tension. 


    The Schroeder group uses automated synthesis to drive the discovery of new materials for applications including organic electronics and energy storage. A “Lego-like” building block approach is used to synthesize large libraries of chemically diverse, sequence-defined molecules via automated iterative Suzuki coupling (C-C coupling). Automated synthesis is also used in combination with AI-guided, closed-loop discovery methods for new materials, e.g., organic photovoltaics (OPVs) with improved photostability or new electrochromic molecules.


    Electron transport in proteins is essential for fundamental life processes in living cells. Understanding these mechanisms at the molecular level remains an open challenge in the field. Recently, the Schroeder group has studied charge transport mechanisms in sequence-defined polymers, redox-active molecules, and supramolecular assemblies using single molecule techniques. His work is focused on bioelectronics by developing new sustainable materials for next-generation electronic devices, including self-assembled protein circuitry and conductive peptide nanowires. 

  • 2022

    • C. Pan*, S. K. Tabatabaei*, S. M. H. Tabatabaei Yazdi, A. G. Hernandez, C. M. Schroeder*, O. Milenkovic*, "Rewritable Two-Dimensional DNA-Based Data Storage with Machine Learning Reconstruction", submitted (2021). Nature Communications, accepted (2022)


    • C. Lin, D. Kumar, C. Richter, S. Wang, C. M. Schroeder, V. Narsimhan, "Vesicle Dynamics in Large Amplitude Oscillatory Extensional Flow", Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 929 (2021).
    • S. Jain, S. Shukla, C. Yang, Y. Wang, X. Xiong, S. Abesteh, M. Lingamaneni, C. M. Schroeder, P. R. Selvin, H. Zhao, "TALEN Outperforms Cas9 in Editing Heterochromatin Target Sites", Nature Communications, 12, 606 (2021).
    • Y. Zhou, C. D. Young, K. E. Regan, M. Lee, S. Banik, D. Kong, G. B. McKenna, R. M. Robertson- Anderson, C. E. Sing, C. M. Schroeder, "Dynamics and Rheology of Ring-Linear Blend Semidilute Solutions in Extensional Flow: Single Molecule Experiments", Journal of Rheology, 65, 757-777 (2021).


    • 76. K. R. Peddireddy, M. Lee, C. M. Schroeder, R. M. Robertson-Anderson, "Viscoelastic Properties of Ring-linear DNA Blends Exhibit Non-monotonic Dependence on Blend Composition", Physical Review Research, 2, 023213 (2020).
    • 82. S. Patel, C. D. Young, C. E. Sing, C. M. Schroeder, "Non-monotonic Dependence of Comb Polymer Relaxation on Branch Density in Semi-dilute Solutions", Physical Review Fluids, 5, 121301R (2020).
    • D. Kumar, A. Shenoy, J. C. Deutsch, C. M. Schroeder, "Automation and Flow Control for Particle Manipulation", Current Opinion in Chemical Engineering, 29, 1-8 (2020).
    • D. Kumar, C. M. Richter, C. M. Schroeder, "Conformational Dynamics and Phase Behavior of Lipid Vesicles in a Precisely Controlled Extensional Flow", Soft Matter, 16, 337-347 (2020).
    • D. Kumar, C. M. Richter, C. M. Schroeder, "Double-mode Relaxation of Highly Deformed Vesicles", Physical Review E, 102, 010605R (2020).
    • D. Mai and C. M. Schroeder, "Single Molecule Studies of Synthetic Polymers", ACS Macro Letters, 9, 1332-1341 (2020).
    • E. R. Jira, K. Shmilovich, T. S. Kale, A. Ferguson, J. D. Tovar, C. M. Schroeder, "Effect of Core Oligomer Length on the Phase Behavior and Assembly of pi-conjugated Peptides", ACS Applied Ma- terials & Interfaces, 12, 20722-20732 (2020).
    • H. Yu*, S. Li*, K. E. Schwieter, Y. Liu, B. Sun, J. S. Moore, C. M. Schroeder, "Charge Transport in Sequence-defined Conjugated Oligomers", Journal of the American Chemical Society, 142, 4852-4861, (2020).
    • K. Peddireddy, M. Lee, Y. Zhou, S. Adalbert, C. M. Schroeder, R. Robertson-Anderson, "Unexpected Entanglement Dynamics in Semidilute Blends of Supercoiled and Ring DNA", Soft Matter, 16, 152-161 (2020).
    • L. Cuculis*, C. Zhao*, Z. Abil, H. Zhao, D. Shukla*, C. M. Schroeder*, "Divalent Cations Enhance TALE DNA-Binding Specicity", Nucleic Acids Research, 48, 1406-1422 (2020).
    • M. Tu, M. Lee, R. M. Robertson-Anderson, C. M. Schroeder, "Direct Observation of Ring Polymer Dynamics in the Flow-Gradient Plane of Shear Flow", Macromolecules, 53, 9406-9419 (2020).
    • S. Li, H. Yu, X. Chen, A. A. Gewirth, J. S. Moore, C. M. Schroeder, "Covalent Ag-C Bonding Contacts from Unprotected Terminal Acetylenes for Molecular Junctions", Nano Letters, 20, 5490-5495 (2020).
    • S. Li, J. Li, H. Yu, S. Pudar, B. Li, J. Rodriguez-Lopez, J. S. Moore, C. M. Schroeder, "Characterizing Intermolecular Interactions in Redox-active Pyridinium-based Molecular Junctions", Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry, in press (2020).


    • A. Shenoy, D. Kumar, S. Hilgenfeldt, C. M. Schroeder, "Flow Topology During Multiplexed Particle Manipulation using a Stokes Trap", Physical Review Applied, 12, 054010 (2019).
    • B. Li, H. Yu, E. C. Montoto, Y. Liu, S. Li, K. Schwieter, J. Rodriquez-Lopez, J. S. Moore, C. M. Schroeder, "Intrachain Charge Transport through Conjugated Donor-Acceptor Oligomers", ACS Ap- plied Electronic Materials, 1, 7-12 (2019).
    • C. Boucher-Jacobs, B. Li, C. M. Schroeder, and D. Guironnet, "Solubility and Activity of a Phosphinosulfonate Palladium Catalyst in Water with Di erent Surfactants", Polymer Chemistry, 10, 1988- 1992 (2019).
    • D. Kumar, A. Shenoy, S. Li, C. M. Schroeder, "Orientation Control and Nonlinear Trajectory Tracking of Colloidal Particles using Microfluidics", Physical Review Fluids, 4, 114203 (2019).
    • L. Valverde, B. Li, C. M. Schroeder, W. Wilson, "In Situ Photophysical Characterization of - conjugated Oligopeptides Assembled via Continuous Flow Processing", Langmuir, 35, 10947-10957 (2019).
    • S. Li*, H. Yu*, K. E. Schwieter, K. Chen, B. Li, Y. Liu, J. S. Moore, C. M. Schroeder, "Charge Transport and Quantum Interference in Oxazole-Terminated Conjugated Oligomers", Journal of the American Chemical Society, 141, 16079-16084 (2019).
    • Y. Zhou, K. W. Hsiao, K. E. Regan, D. Kong, G. B. McKenna, R. M. Robertson-Anderson, C. M. Schroeder, " Effects of Molecular Architecture on Ring Polymer Dynamics in Semi-dilute Linear Polymer Solutions", Nature Communications, 10, 1753, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-09627 (2019).


    • C. M. Schroeder, "Single Polymer Dynamics for Molecular Rheology", Journal of Rheology, 62, 371-403 (2018).
    • D. J. Mai, A. Sadaat, B. Khomami, C. M. Schroeder, "Stretching Dynamics of Single Comb Polymers in Extensional Flow", Macromolecules, 51, 1507-1517 (2018).
    • S. Li and C. M. Schroeder, "Synthesis and Single Molecule Studies of Thermo-responsive DNA Copolymers", ACS Macro Letters, 7, 281-286 (2018).
    • Y. Zhou and C. M. Schroeder, "Dynamically Heterogeneous Relaxation of Entangled Polymer Chains", Physical Review Letters, 120, 267801 (2018).