Rodney D. Priestley

Dean of the Graduate School
Associate Director, Princeton Center for Complex Materials (PCCM)
Pomeroy and Betty Perry Smith Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering
Office Phone
422 Bowen Hall

Ph.D., Northwestern University, 2008

B.S., Texas Tech University, 2003


Honors and Awards

  • Fellow, American Physical Society, 2023
  • Carl S. Marvel Award for Creative Polymer Chemistry, ACS Division of Polymer Chemistry, 2023
  • Eminent Chemical Engineers Award, Minority Affairs Community, AIChE, 2022
  • ACS Marvel Award for Polymer Chemistry, 2022
  • TechUnited NJ Martinson-Ballen Award, 2021
  • Princeton Graduate School Clio Award, 2021
  • ACS Macro Letters/Biomacromolecules/Macromolecules Young Investigator Award, 2020
  • American Physical Society Dillon Medal, 2020
  • World Economic Forum Young Global Scientist, 2018
  • Moore Inventor Fellow Finalist, 2017
  • Leverhulme Trust Visiting Professor Fellowship, 2017
  • AICHE MSED Owens Corning Early Career Award, 2017
  • Distinguished Lecturer of the Graduate School at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, 2015
  • Named to The Root 100 list of most influential African Americans, 2014
  • Named ASEE list of 20 under 40 Inspiring Young Faculty, 2014
  • Duncan and Suzanne Mellichamp Lecturer at Purdue University, 2014
  • NAE Frontiers of Engineering Symposium Invitee, 2014
  • Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, 2014
  • Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, 2014
  • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, 2013
  • UK PPG/APS DPOLY Exchange Lecturer, 2013
  • Diverse: Issues In Higher Education Emerging Scholar, 2013
  • Howard B. Wentz, Jr. Junior Faculty Award, 2012
  • AFOSR Young Investigator Award, 2012
  • NSF CAREER Award, 2011
  • 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Grant, 2010
  • ACS Young Investigator Award, 2009


  • Associated Faculty, Princeton Materials Institute

Research Interests

Work in the Priestley Laboratory applies principles of physics, chemistry and engineering towards nanoscale processing and characterization of polymers and soft matter with particular emphasis on thin films, colloids, and nanocomposites. Our work aims to advance the fundamental understanding of how processing combined with confinement and interfacial effects modify materials properties, and how these modifications can be exploited for new materials design. Our work strongly influences the use polymers in thin film for membranes and coatings; nanocomposites as advanced materials; colloids for stabilization, delivery of active ingredients and molecular building blocks. We also endeavor to engage in the use sustainable materials and green processing.

Theme: Glass formation and glassy behavior of polymer thin films and nanocomposites

  1. How does irreversible adsorption alter the glass transition dynamics of polymer thin films and nanocomposites?
  2. Characterization and tuning of deformation at polymer-polymer interfaces
  3. Diffusion at the interface of amorphous polymer thin films
  4. Polymer/graphene nanocomposites: sustainable materials and processing

Theme: Physical vapor deposition of macromolecules

  1. Formation of nanostructured and stable amorphous polymer films
  2. Additive growth and crystallization of polymer thin films
  3. Polymer-polymer alloying by MAPLE deposition

Theme: Scalable and sustainable formation, and application of polymer-based colloids

  1. Production of patchy and Janus colloids by Flash NanoPrecipitation
  2. Hybrid Janus colloids as next generation surfactants and catalyst
  3. Production of capsules for protecting ingredients by Spinning Polymer into Nanocapsules (SPIN)
  4. Reactive-FNP for encapsulation of active ingredients
  5. Structured colloids as adhesives
Selected Publications
  1. D. Christie, R.A. Register, R.D. Priestley, Direct Measurement of the Local Glass Transition in Self-Assembled Copolymers with One Nanometer Resolution, ACS Central Science, 4, 504 (2018)
  2. L.S. Grundy, V.E. Lee, N. Li, C. Sosa, W.D. Mulhearn, R. Liu, R.A. Register, A. Nikoubashman, R.K. Prudhomme, A.Z. Panagiotopoulos, R.D. Priestley, Rapid Production of Internally Structured Colloids by Flash NanoPrecipitation of Block Copolymer Blends, ACS Nano, 12, 4660 (2018)
  3. H. Jeong, S. Napolitano, C.B. Arnold, R.D. Priestley, Irreversible Adsorption Controls Crystallization in Vapor Deposited Polymer Thin Films, Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, 8, 229 (2017)
  4. M.J. Burroughs, S. Napolitano, D. Cangialosi, R.D. Priestley, Direct Measurement of Interfacial Effects on Exposed and Buried Adsorbed Nanolayer Glass Transition Temperature in Polymer Thin Films, Macromolecules, 49, 4647 (2016)
  5. C. Sosa, R. Liu, C. Tang, F. Qu, M. Bazant, R.K. Prudhomme, R.D. Priestley, Soft-Multi-faced Colloids by Constrained Volume Self-Assembly, Macromolecules, 49, 3580 (2016)