Research Team Faculty

Dr. Dean Webster - High Performance Bio-based Thermosets

Webster_DeanProfessor and Chair, Coatings and Polymeric Materials
North Dakota State University; Fargo, ND


Within the Center for Sustainable Materials Science (CSMS) research, the Webster research team is carrying out research on high performance thermosets derived from bio-based resins having unique molecular architectures. The group synthesizes resins with reactive functional groups, and then crosslinks these to form hard, rigid materials. Due to the unique molecular architecture and high functional group concentration, the thermosets are highly cross-linked and have properties comparable to petrochemical based thermosets. The thermosets can be used in applications such as coatings, adhesives, and composites.

biobased thermosetting resin systems

Biobased thermosetting resin systems.

Dr. Mukund Sibi - Polymer Synthesis, Programmed Degradation of Polymers

Sibi_MukundDistinguished Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry
North Dakota State University; Fargo, ND


Research in the Sibi group is focused on the development of novel methods for the conversion of renewable resources to feedstock chemicals for use in polymer synthesis and programmed degradation of polymers. In our work we have use three important renewable materials (1) oil seeds, (2) cellulose, and (3) lignin. In particular, we are investigating novel methodologies for the synthesis of linear dicarboxylic acids and application of 5-hydroxymethyl furfural (HMF) as a starting material. The Sibi group collaborates extensively with the polymer synthesis and polymer degradation team at NDSU.

Industrially important monomers from biomass.

Dr. Mikhail Bobylev - Polyformamides

Bobylev_MikhailProfessor, Chemistry
Minot State University; Minot, ND


The main goal of Bobylev’s research is to develop novel sustainable materials based on a novel type of polymers – substituted polyformamides. This goal will be achieved by the development of a new method of polymerization based on his recently patented method for the synthesis of substituted formamides.

Dr. Qianli (Rick) Chu - Organic Materials

Chu_QianliAssociate Professor, Chemistry
University of North Dakota; Grand Forks, ND

The main focus of Dr. Chu’s research for the Center for Sustainable Materials Science (CSMS) is the construction of innovative organic materials, such as chiral/stereoregular organic materials and SLIM (strong and lightweight materials). These materials have a variety of applications in nanoscience and sustainable technology. This research also offers new opportunities for molecular level structure-property studies. Dr. Chu’s group is best known for their work on solid-state photopolymerization and supramolecular atropisomer.

(For details, please visit the Chu group website:

Green Polymers

Dr. Guodong Du - Catalysis and Green Chemistry

chemistry department faculty membersAssociate Professor, Chemistry
University of North Dakota; Grand Forks, ND


Dr. Du’s research for the Center for Sustainable Materials Science (CSMS) centers on catalysis and green chemistry. Currently, one of the main focuses is the development of efficient and selective catalytic systems for the synthesis of biodegradable polymers such as polycarbonates, polylactides, and polyesters, from renewable resources such as carbon dioxide and biomass.

Polymers from Renewable Resources

Dr. Khwaja Hossain - Industrial uses of wheat bran

Hossain_KhwajaProfessor, Biology
Mayville State University; Mayville, ND


Dr. Hossain is a Bangladesh native who came to NDSU in 2000 to work on Wheat Genomics and is now a Professor of Biology at Mayville State University. He has been involved in various aspects of genetics and genomics research in uptake and translocation health related micronutrients in crop pants with continuous funding support from ND-INBRE.

Dr. Hossain’s focus with the Center for Sustainable Materials Science (CSMS) is utilizing wheat bran as filler in synthesizing industrial products. Eleven percent of wheat grain is bran, 90% of the bran is disposed of as waste which poses an environmental threat. Successful completion of Dr. Hossain’s research work will help find alternative uses of wheat, increasing wheat growers’ profit as well as reducing environmental pollution.

The processing and evaluation of wheat bran for thermoplastic compounding.

Dr. Alena Kubátová - Comprehensive chemical characterization of lignin degradation products

Dr. Alena KubátováProfessor, Analytical Chemistry
University of North Dakota; Grand Forks, ND


Within the Center for Sustainable Materials Science (CSMS) research, the Kubatova’s research team will focus on development of new analytical methods for products from valorization of lignins. In our study, we pursue a comprehensive characterization starting with the initial feedstock, serving as a reference point, followed by that of its breakdown products.  The analytical strategies include:  1) mass balance closure using a newly developed thermal carbon analysis (TCA) protocol, 2) MW determination using gel permeation chromatography with mass spectrometry (GPC-MS) and 3) evaluation of main structural features through phosphitylation followed by nuclear magnetic resonance (31P NMR) spectroscopy.


Dr. Mafany Ndiva Mongoh - Biodegradable Polymers

Mongoh_MafanyAg/Science Faculty
Sitting Bull College; Fort Yates, ND


Dr. Mongoh’s research interests focus on the impact of microorganisms in the environment, with an emphasis on the ecological roles microbial communities play in habitat interactions and processes. As a member of the Center for Sustainable Materials Science (CSMS) research group, he studies the natural fate of materials at the end of the sustainability cycle. He is conducting research on the ability of novel polymers to biodegrade so that these polymers meet the requirements of truly sustainable materials. His contribution to the CSMS research group will be demonstrating and harnessing the natural potential of microbes to degrade, transform and safely remove these polymers from the waste stream.

Sustainable Polymer Biodegradation Using a Microbial Pathway

Dr. Alexander Parent - Sustainable Polymer Building Blocks

Parent_AlexanderAssistant Professor, Chemistry
North Dakota State University; Fargo, ND


In the Center for Sustainable Materials Science (CSMS), Parent’s group is researching green and sustainable routes to polymer building blocks. Areas of particular focus are the development of catalyst systems using earth abundant metals and chemical processes using benign solvents and reagents, such as water and air. By improving the methods used for generating polymer building blocks the polymers themselves can be made more cheaply and sustainably.

Dr. Mohiuddin Quadir - Value-added biomedical polymers and materials from renewable sources

csm_Quadir_MohiuddinAssistant Professor, Coatings and Polymeric Materials
North Dakota State University; Fargo, ND


Mohiuddin Quadir’s research group aims at designing value-added biomedical polymers and materials from renewable sources. The cohort of macromolecules and assemblies synthesized from Quadir’s laboratory includes nanotechnology-powered delivery platforms, bioactive hydrogels and synthetic implants. In parallel to the mission statement of the Center for Sustainable Materials Science, we will be using building blocks derived from biomass to generate sustainable analogues comparable in efficacy to current state-of-the-art pharmaceutical polymers and devices.

Biomedical Materials from Renewable Sources:

Dr. Bakhtiyor Rasulev - Computational Chemistry and Cheminformatics in Research and Design of Polymeric Materials

Rasulev_BakhtiyorAssistant Professor, Coatings and Polymeric Materials
North Dakota State University; Fargo, ND


Within the Center for Sustainable Materials Science (CSMS) research, the research in the Rasulev group is focused on development of predictive models to design novel bio-based polymeric materials and to predict various properties, including degradation rate, solubility, toxicity, etc. The group applies computational chemistry and cheminformatics methods for modeling, data analysis and development of predictive structure-property relationship models to find structural factors responsible for activity of investigated polymeric materials. The group is planning to develop a materials database, which will be useful in designing new polymeric materials and nanomaterials, as well as assist in prediction of various properties, including degradation pathways for life cycle assessment.

Computational Chemistry and Cheminformatics in Research and Design of Polymeric Materials

Dr. Jayaraman Sivaguru (Siva) - Photocatalysis, Photochemistry, Programmed degradation of polymers and Bio-based phototriggers/photoinitiators

Sivaguru_JayaramanJames A. Meier Jr. Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry
North Dakota State University; Fargo, ND


Siva’s research interests on light induced processes span the areas of supramolecular photochemistry, asymmetric photochemistry, organo-photocatalysis, supramolecular photocatalysis and molecular recognition in chemical and biological systems. Currently his research program is investigating a) light induced axial to central chiral transfer in atropisomeric systems, b) atropisomeric templates for asymmetric organo-photocatalysis, c) supramolecular photocatalysis with water-soluble nano-containers and d) light responsive materials derived from biomass.

As one of the core researchers in the Center for Sustainable Materials Science (CSMS) research group, Siva’s research focus is on designing phototriggers biomass, build biobased photodegradable polymers that can be lead to high performance materials addressing the issue of sustainability, recyclability and renewability and developing new photoinitiators from bio-resources.

Biomass to photodegradable polymers

Dr. Chad Ulven - Biocomposites

Ulven_ChadAssociate Professor, Mechanical Engineering
North Dakota State University; Fargo, ND



The biocomposite group within the Mechanical Engineering Department at North Dakota State University (NDSU) has been involved in multiple research projects within the Center for Sustainable Materials Science (CSMS). This research group led by Dr. Chad A. Ulven currently consists of six graduate and undergraduate students working on bio-based composite development, environmentally friendly composites, characterization and modeling of bio-based composites and improving thermo-mechanical properties of bio-composites.

The research mainly involves the development of novel bio-based composites using flax fiber and bio-based thermoset resins such as epoxidized sucrose soyate (ESS) or methoxylated sucrose soyate polyols (MSSP). Studies conducted by this research group have proven that bio-based composites using ESS or MSSP exhibit superior mechanical properties compared to other natural fiber reinforced composites using other bio-based or petroleum-based resins. In addition, to further improve the fiber-matrix adhesion and other mechanical properties, the effect of different mechanical processes and chemical surface treatments of natural fibers are being examined.

Investigating time-dependent properties of newly developed composites is another important aspect of the research projects being conducted by the biocomposite group. Fatigue and creep testing along with the development of fatigue damage and creep models applicable to these bio-based composites help gain a thorough understanding of their potential expansion into more engineering and structural applications.

Bio-based polymers & fibers to composites

Dr. Andriy Voronov - Plant Oil-Based Vinyl Monomers and Polymers Thereof

Voronov_ AndriyAssociate Professor, Coatings and Polymeric Materials
North Dakota State University; Fargo, ND


The main goal of this project is to determine the feasibility of using oil from different oil-seed crops for synthesis of high value and high profit bio-based specialty monomers for free radical polymerization. If successful, new library of plant oil-based monomers will be applied directly in copolymerization with conventional vinyl counterparts to develop high-performance biobased polymer materials (including latexes, emulsions) for coatings/paints/adhesives applications.

Voronov Research