Biography

David Kisailus is the Winston Chung Endowed Professor in Energy Innovation in the department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering and the Materials Science and Engineering program at the University of California, Riverside. His research interests are involved in the structure-function relationships in biomineralized tissues and the biologically inspired and mimetic synthesis of nano-scaled materials for energy-based applications. His current research group includes 1 post-doctoral researcher, 5 graduate students, and 14 undergraduate students. His research group is highly interdisciplinary, with students coming from a wide variety of backgrounds including Chemistry, Biology, Neurology, Invertebrate Zoology, Physics, Materials Science, Chemical Engineering, and Environmental Engineering.

Current projects include structure-function relationships in biomineralized tissues and syntheses of nanostructured materials for energy-based applications. He has written or co-authored more than 40 papers and patents in the areas of bio-mimetics, bio-inspired materials synthesis, biomineralization, ceramic processing, thin film growth, nanomaterials, and energy-based materials (fuel cells, batteries). He is currently funded by AFOSR and ARO to investigate the structure-function of biological composites and produce biomimetic structures for light-weight, high strength applications. He is also funded by the Winston Chung Global Energy to produce Li-ion batteries. He has also been funded by NSF, AFOSR and General Motors Corporation to develop biomimetic-based research on structural and energy-based materials.

Prior to his appointment at UCR, Professor Kisailus was a research staff scientist at HRL Laboratories (formerly Hughes Research Labs) in Malibu, California. His research at HRL Laboratories included conceiving synthetic strategies for the Hydrogen Fuel Cell and Lithium-ion Battery Programs as well as initiating a Biomimetic Program. Professor Kisailus was a post-doctoral researcher at UC Santa Barbara in the Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies, where he investigated biological pathways to novel materials and extended this to biomimetic and inspired systems. He received his Ph.D. from the Department of Materials at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2002, where he developed novel solution routes to epitaxial thin films and nanocrystals of GaN. He received his M.S. from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Florida in 2000, where he synthesized ceramic composite nanocrystals for low K media and investigated densification behavior of glass-ceramic composites. He has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Drexel University, during which he worked at Sun Oil, Mobil Chemical Polymers Division, and Pratt and Whitney Aircraft.

Mantis shrimp utilize a dactyl club to smash open the shells of many impressive oceanic biominerals. We are studying the structural features, such as the helicoidal design seen here in a model and fracture surface, which contribute to the material's ultra high toughness. Using advanced characterization and theory we are gleaning many insights which have lead to applicable improvements in the impact resistance of modern composite materials.
Nacre is found in the interior of Abalone shells. It is composed of interlocking tablets of calcium carbonate, which results in tough defensive structure.
Cryptochiton Stelleri, a common inhabitant of the rocky shores of the temperate Northeastern Pacific(A), graze for algae on hard substrates using a specialized rasping organ called the radula, a conveyor belt-like structure located in the mouth( B). The radular teeth are hard and abrassion resisitant as they rasp away the rock together with algae and make the mushroom-like island (A). The goal of this project is to learn from the structure – function relationship of the radular teeth and make biomimetic abrassion resistant composites (C) that can be used in industry, such as oil drilling and machining tools (D, E).