Headshot photo of Dr. Danielle Mai, Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at Stanford University.
Bio-X Affiliated Faculty

Dr. Danielle J. Mai joined the Department of Chemical Engineering at Stanford in January 2020. She earned her B.S.E. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign under the guidance of Prof. Charles M. Schroeder. Dr. Mai was an Arnold O. Beckman Postdoctoral Fellow in Prof. Bradley D. Olsen's group at MIT, where she engineered materials with selective biomolecular transport properties, elucidated mechanisms of toughness and extensibility in entangled associative hydrogels, and developed high-throughput methods for the discovery of polypeptide materials.

The Mai Research Group integrates precise biopolymer engineering with multiscale experimental characterization to advance biomaterials development and to enhance fundamental understanding of soft matter physics. Molecular-scale biopolymer design presents a unique opportunity to rationally design materials based on biomolecular templates. Moreover, biopolymer engineering incorporates the rich functional landscape of biological systems into responsive biomaterials.

The Mai Group especially seeks to connect properties across multiple length scales (molecular, microscopic, macroscopic) using experimental methods. We will integrate rational biomolecular design, biological and chemical synthesis, and multi-scale characterization techniques to engineer biopolymers with tunable mechanics, stimuli-responsive behavior, and self-healing properties. Initial research efforts will address biological systems where deformation is significant, with specific project areas including:

  1. muscle-mimetic materials from polypeptides,
  2. biolubricants from bottlebrush polymers, and
  3. selective filters from programmable hydrogels.