Timothy E. Long, PhD
Timothy E. Long, Ph.D., Professor, MII Director
Dr. Long received his B. S. in 1983 from St. Bonaventure University, followed by his Ph.D. in 1987 from Virginia Tech. He spent nearly a decade as a research scientist at Eastman Kodak Company before returning to Virginia Tech as a Professor in the Department of Chemistry. He has over 40 patents in the field of macromolecular science and engineering, and has recently exceeded 225 peer-reviewed publications. He has been a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry since 1998 and currently serves as the Director of the Macromolecules and Interfaces Institute (MII) at Virginia Tech. He has received many prestigious honors in his field of polymer chemistry recently, including the 2015 Virginia Scientist of the Year, American Chemical Society (ACS) PMSE Cooperative Research Award and ACS POLY Mark Scholars Award, as well as the Pressure Sensitive Tape Council (PSTC) Carl Dahlquist Award in 2011, Virginia Tech’s Alumni Award for Research Excellence (AARE) in 2010, 2009 ACS Fellow, and invited organizer of the Gordon Research Conference – Polymers, and Chair, ACS Polymer Division. Dr. Long maintains a vigorous partnership with diverse industries, including BASF, Carlisle, Elevance, IBM, ExxonMobil, 3M, Kimberly Clark, Henkel, Bayer, Kraton Polymers, and Solvay. He has maintained a 20-member interdisciplinary research group and has been awarded ~ $41M in research funding over the past 16 years at Virginia Tech.
SYNOPSIS OF AREA OF INTEREST: Our research goal is to integrate fundamental research in novel macromolecular structure and polymerization processes with the development of high performance macromolecules for advanced technologies. Our research platforms focus on the design, performance, and societal implications of novel biomaterials for the following global impact: (1) gene/drug delivery, (2) tissue regeneration, and (3) biomedical devices. These three complementary platforms provide cutting-edge research opportunities and significant impact on global health, while also providing sufficient breadth for the alignment of universities and international organizations.
DETAILED AREA OF INTEREST: Our research team focuses on the development and study of water-soluble polycations, particularly segmented block copolymer structures, for the binding, encapsulation, and delivery of anionic drugs and nucleic acids into cultured cells. We currently examine the structure-property effects of incorporating different cationic groups into these structures such as histidine-mimics and quaternary ammonium and phosphonium groups, and investigate the influence of nucleobase substitution in vector design, which may lead to novel binding strategies.
Additional research builds on the discovery in the Long laboratories to fabricate nanometer-scale scaffolds based on nature-derived phospholipids and new families of photo-reactive amphiphiles. Recent efforts include focus on biomaterials for stents for sensing force needed to employ a device and also the incidence of tissue re-growth near the device interface with biological structure and biomaterial alternatives to acid-generation during polylactide absorption. Research efforts utilize the synthesis and characterization of charged polyurethanes for subsequent performance as an elastomeric electromechanical transducer.
In addition to macromolecular chemistry and engineering at the interface with biology, our research group also addresses fundamental questions involving ionic liquids, charged polymers for electroactive devices, fuel cell membranes, novel adhesives, block copolymer elastomers, high impact engineering thermoplastics, and responsive polymer compositions based on tailored hydrogen bonding and electrostatic interactions. Recent efforts in self-healing compositions offer promise for novel families of cationic polymers.