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John B. Matson

Professor John Matson
313B Davidson Hall


Research Interests

Our lab focuses on developing new materials to address problems in biology, medicine, and sustainability. With a focus on synthetic organic and polymer chemistry as well as self-assembly, we aim to synthesize, characterize, and test these new materials in an interdisciplinary and collaborative manner. Current research efforts include:

  • Developing methods for the delivery of hydrogen sulfide (H2S), a biologically vital signaling agent. To this end we focus on small molecule H2S donors triggered by specific stimuli, polymer and polymer assemblies capable of sustained H2S release, and hydrogels that have the ability to localize H2S delivery.
  • Synthesizing and studying bottlebrush polymers with unique shapes, such as tapered (cone-shaped) bottlebrush polymers.
  • Preparing new polymers and polymer blends based on a combination of synthetic polymers and naturally occurring polymers such as polysaccharides.
  • Investigating dendritic peptides with thermoresponsive properties. We are evaluating these high molecular weight, highly branched peptides as biomaterials for tissue engineering and drug delivery.



  • A.B. Washington University in St. Louis, 2004
  • Ph.D. California Institute of Technology, 2009
  • Postdoctoral Associate, Northwestern University, 2009–2012
  • Thieme Chemistry Journal Award, 2019
  • Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, 2018
  • PMSE Young Investigator Award, 2018
  • Jimmy W. Viers Teaching Award, 2016
  • 3M Non-tenured Faculty Award, 2015
  • Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award, 2014
  • ACS Petroleum Research Fund Doctoral New Investigator Award, 2014
  1. Wang, Y.; Kaur, K.; Scannelli, S. J.; Bitton, R.; Matson, J. B. “Self-Assembled Nanostructures Regulate H2S Release from Constitutionally Isomeric Peptides” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2018140, 14945-14951. doi:10.1021/jacs.8b09320 

  2. Powell, C. R.; Dillon, K. M.; Wang, Y.; Carrazzone, R. J. Matson, J. B. “A Persulfide Donor Responsive to Reactive Oxygen Species: Insights into Reactivity and Therapeutic Potential” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.201857, 6324-6328. doi: 10.1002/anie.201803087

  3. Radzinski, S.C.; Foster, J. C.; Scannelli, S. J.; Weaver, J. R.; Arrington, K. J.; Matson, J. B. “Tapered Bottlebrush Polymers: Cone-shaped Nanostructures by Sequential Addition of Macromonomers” ACS Macro Lett.20176, 1175-1179. doi: 10.1021/acsmacrolett.7b00724

  4. Radzinski, S. C.; Foster, J. C.; Chapleski, R. C..; Troya, D.; Matson, J. B. “Bottlebrush Polymer Synthesis by Ring-Opening Metathesis Polymerization: The Significance of the Anchor Group” J. Am. Chem. Soc.,2016138, 6998-7004. doi: 10.1021/jacs.5b13317