Principal Investigator

Eilaf Egap, Ph.D.

Eilaf is an Assistant Professor at the Departments of Materials Science and NanoEngineering and the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Rice University. Broadly, her research group is interested in the molecular-engineering and self-assembly of functional soft materials with the goal of controlling and creating novel photonic, electronic, and magnetic properties to enable new forms of technologies.

Eilaf was born in Athens, Ohio and grew up in New York. She received a combined B.S. and M.S. degree in Chemistry and a minor in philosophy from Stony Brook University in 2005. She earned her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Washington in 2011 under the guidance of Samson A. Jenekhe. Her graduate work focused on the design and synthesis of macromolecules, elucidating structure–property relationships and engineering the next generation, high–performance, low–cost organic electronics including field–effect transistors, light–emitting diodes, and photovoltaics. Eilaf then joined the laboratory of Timothy M. Swager at MIT as a postdoctoral fellow and developed a new platform of multicomponent conjugated polymer nanoparticles for in vivo imaging and target-specific drug delivery for early diagnostics and treatments of cancer. Eilaf started her independent career at Emory University in the Chemistry Department and the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology/Emory University and was a member of the Winship Cancer Institute prior to joining Rice University.

Graduate Researchers:

Zhe Su

Zhe received my B.S. degree in Chemistry from Zhengzhou University in 2013 and received my M.S. degree in Polymer Science from Case Western Reverse University in 2015. She joined the Egap group in December of 2015 as a PhD student. She is interested in studying self-assembly and morphology of polymer semiconductors, block copolymers and nanowires. Besides Chemistry, she is also interested in playing electronic keyboard and reading detective novels.

Yifan Zhu

Yifan is a 3rd-year PhD student in Materials Science and Nanoengineering. He received his undergraduate degree from USTC in China. He attended the school of gifted young at USTC in 2012 and completed his undergraduate degree at the same institution in 2016. He joined the group the same year.  His current project focuses on utilizing semiconductor quantum dots for radical polymerization

Apart from research, he enjoys weightlifting and shooting.

Kristen Miller

Kristen is a second-year Ph.D. student in Materials Science and NanoEngineering. She completed her B.S. at the University of Texas at Austin in Chemical Engineering and joined the group in Fall 2017. Her research interests are in developing spin-based polymer field-effect transistors and sensors.

Christine Nguyen 

Christine is a second-year PhD student in Materials Science and NanoEngineering and joined the group in Fall 2017. She received her B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from Rutgers University. Her research interest focuses on inorganic/organic hybrid materials for flexible electronic devices. Outside of research, she enjoys cooking and traveling

Alec Ajnsztajn

Alec is a first year PhD student in Materials Science and Nanoengineering. He received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Duke University. His research interests focus on the development of porous organic frameworks for energy storage applications. Outside the lab, he enjoys baking and is still a nationally competitive fencer.

Jessica Gayle (1st-year PhD Student)

Undergraduate Researchers:

Grace Wickerson

Grace is an undergraduate research assistant interested in the field of organic electronics. They are currently a junior majoring in Materials Science and Nanoengineering. They joined the Egap group September 2017 and they currently work on photocatalysts for living polymerization reactions. Their hobbies are cooking, martial arts, and learning new things



Dr. Mincheol Chang – Professor, Chonnam National University, Gwangju, South Korea
Dr. Yiming Huang (2015-2018)
Dr. Karimulla Mulla

Graduate Students

Jiahui Zhang (PhD Student at Emory University)
Yulei Cao (MS at Emory University, Class of 2018)
Jin Hou (MS at Rice University)


Shelly Saini (UG at Emory University) – Currently a Medical Student at Miami University
Martin Jin (UG at Emory University 2017) – Currently a PhD Student at Harvard University
Alyssa Pollard (UG at Emory University 2016) – Currently a PhD Student at the University of Arizona