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Kane G. Jennings

Chair and Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering


Our research efforts are aimed at the molecular design and fabrication of new surfaces and materials that mimic, replicate, or employ highly functional biological systems. We use the methods of self-assembly as well as surface-initiated polymerizations (grafting from) to modify surfaces with molecular or (bio)macromolecular films for applications in solar energy conversion, responsive coatings, superhydrophobic surfaces, and nanoscale lubrication. For example, we investigate the interface between Photosystem I proteins that drive photosynthesis in green plants with electrodes and polymeric materials for the design of biohybrid solar cells. We also explore custom polymer films that replicate the surface structure of superhydrophobic plants for barrier coatings, as well as polymer films that mimic biological systems to function as outstanding lubricants.


Arthur K. Doolittle Award (PMSE Division of ACS), 2010
Chancellor’s Research Award, 2006
Ellen Gregg-Ingalls Award for Excellence in Classroom Teaching, 2005
Award for Excellence in Teaching from Vanderbilt School of Engineering, 2002
Hall of Fame Inductee-Cherokee County High School, Centre, AL, 2001
Department of Energy-Electrochemical Society Summer Fellowship, 1997
David Brown Practice School Fellowship, 1993
Barry M. Goldwater Scholar, 1992

Selected Publications:

Photosystem I Protein Films at Electrode Surfaces for Solar Energy Conversion. LeBlanc, G; Gizzie, E; Yang, SY; Cliffel, DE; Jennings, GK, LANGMUIR, 30, 10990-11001 , (2014) View Abstract

Reproducing superhydrophobic leaves as coatings by micromolding surface-initiated polymerization. Escobar, CA; Spellings, MP; Cooksey, TJ, Jennings GK, MACROMOLECULAR RAPID COMMUNICATIONS, 35, 1937-1942 , (2014) View Abstract

Photosystem I on Graphene as a Highly Transparent, Photoactive Electrode. Gunther, D; LeBlanc, G; Prasai, D; Zhang, JR; Cliffel, DE; Bolotin, KI; Jennings, GK, LANGMUIR, 29, 4177-4180 , (2013) View Abstract

Enhanced Photocurrents of Photosystem I Films on p-Doped Silicon. LeBlanc, G; Chen, GP; Gizzie, EA; Jennings, GK; Cliffel, DE, ADVANCED MATERIALS, 24, 5959-5962 , (2012) View Abstract

Graphene: Corrosion-Inhibiting Coating. Prasai, D; Tuberquia, JC; Harl, RR; Jennings, GK; Bolotin, KI, ACS NANO, 6, 1102-1108 , (2012) View Abstract