Lab space + creativity:

The two requirements to cultivate great science and great scientists. Accompany me on a journey to uncover new chemical function and understand the complexities of biological interactions through polymer chemistry.


When the UNC public relations department was brainstorming stories for their back-to-school media, they ran across one of Frank's tweets about his first delivery to the lab. While they usually focus on students coming back-to-school, they realized that few undergraduates on campus realize that a new crop of faculty is also moving in!

The team stopped by the lab numerous times through the summer as things were getting started and they documented the process quite accurately in the following story and accompanying photoessay. We've come a long way AND we are just getting started. Exciting times!


Frank is absolutely ecstatic to announce that he will join the UNC Department of Chemistry as an Assistant Professor. UNC has a strong tradition as a premier institution of higher education and the reputation and bright future of the Chemistry Department is an ideal infrastructure for a young scientist. Frank is excited to set up his new lab and work with the many great students and colleagues within the UNC community. Research in the Leibfarth group will focus on polymer science, spanning each stage from molecular design and synthesis to material function. The program will provide students with a diverse and competitive skill set bridging organic and polymer synthesis, small molecule and macromolecule characterization, and applied studies in materials science and biotechnology.


Frank wins the RSC Best Poster Prize at the Continuous Flow Chemistry Zing Conference!

Frank's poster, entitled "Flow IEG: Scalable Synthesis of Sequence and Architecturally Defined, Unimolecular Macromolecules," won the RSC best poster prize the the Continuous Flow Chemistry Zing Conference held in Alburfeira, Portugal. The speakers at this biannual conference was outstanding and Frank was humbled to be honored by such an excellent group of scientists.   


Watch Frank's TEDxUSD lecture now on YouTube

Frank TEDx lecture entitled "Rise of the Machines: How automated polymer synthesis will accelerate the pace of scientific discovery" at the TEDxUSD event was held on Saturday, Nov. 7th at the University of South Dakota's historic Farber Hall. Listen to Frank describe his research at MIT on automated polymer synthesis.


Alex Albanese interviewed Frank for the first episode of his new podcast; Glimpse is a podcast created and produced by Alex where he seeks to learn about the research going on at MIT by speaking to postdocs on the "front lines." In this episode, Alex and I discuss the power of ketenes, polymers,  and continuous flow chemistry. We also talk about the crucial difference between table salt and sodium hydroxide (hint: I learned this the hard way as an undergraduate researcher). Alex is a postdoc working in the Laboratory for Multiscale Regenerative Technologies in the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research for Professor Sangeeta Bhatia. Subscribe to Glimpse to learn more about the research going on at MIT and listen to my episode here: link.  


Chemical & Engineering News highlights Frank's paper

Frank's recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA [Scalable synthesis of sequence-defined, unimolecular macromolecules] has been highlighted in a full page article in the August 24th edition of Chemical & Engineering News, the weekly magazine published by the American Chemical Society. The article, written by Stu Borman, contains quotations from preeminent polymer scientists Prof. Craig J. Hawker and Prof. Jean-Francois Lutz


Frank's paper on continuous flow systems for polymer synthesis published

The manuscript describing Frank's postdoctoral research has recently appeared online. The paper, entitled "Scalable synthesis of sequence-defined, unimolecular macromolecules" is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.

The paper describes our work to expedite polymerization processes empowered by the convergence of multi-step continuous flow chemistry and iterative exponential growth (Flow-IEG).  The user-friendly nature, scalability, and modularity of Flow-IEG provides a general strategy for the automated synthesis of sequence and architecturally defined, uniform macromolecules. We envision this polymer synthesis machine will serve as an enabling tool for both fundamental explorations and advanced applications in biotechnology, medicinal chemistry, and materials science.


Dr. Frank A. Leibfarth to speak at USD TEDx

Frank has been selected to give a lecture at the University of South Dakota's TEDx event on November 7th! Frank's talk is entitled Rise of the Machines: How Automated Chemical Synthesis is Accelerating the Pace of Scientific Discovery.

TEDx was created in the spirit of TED's mission, "ideas worth spreading." It supports independent organizers who want to create a TED-like event in their own community. For more information on USD TEDx event, please visit their Facebook page [link]