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John B. Matson

  • Dr. AC Lilly Jr. Faculty Fellow in Nanoscience
  • Associate Department Chair
John Matson
Research Office: 313B Davidson Hall
Associate Chair Office: 480B 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
  • Alan F. Clifford Faculty Service Award, 2022
  • Dr. A. C. Lilly Jr. Faculty Fellowship in Nanoscience, 2020
  • Humboldt Research Fellowship for Experienced Researchers, 2020
  • 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. Blosch, S. E.; Scannelli, S. J.; Alaboalirat, M.; Matson, J. B.* “Complex Polymer Architectures using Ring-Opening Metathesis Polymerization: Synthesis, Applications, and Practical Considerations” Macromolecules, 2022, 55, 4200-4227. doi: 10.1021/acs.macromol.2c00338
  2. Kaur, K.; Enders, P.; Powell, C. R.; Kashfi, K.; Matson, J. B.* “Amino acid-based H2S Donors: N-thiocarboxyanhydrides that release COS/H2S with innocuous by-products” Chem. Commun. 2021, 57, 5522-5525. doi: 10.1039/d1cc01309b
  3. Wang, Y.; Dillon, K. D.; Li, Z.; Winckler, E. W.; Matson, J. B.* “Alleviating cellular oxidative stress through treatment with superoxide-triggered persulfide prodrugs” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2020, 59, 16698-16704. doi: 10.1002/anie.202006656
  4. Arrington, K. J.; Haag, J. V.; French, E.; Murayama, M.; Edgar, K. J.; Matson, J. B.* “Toughening Cellulose: Compatibilizing Polybutadiene and Cellulose Triacetate Blends” ACS Macro Lett., 2019, 8, 447-453. doi: 10.1021/acsmacrolett.9b00136