Polymer Behavior in Mixed-Solvent Solutions

Lecture / Panel
For NYU Community

Dong Meng - Professional Photo


Dong Meng

NYU Dentistry


Polymer Behavior in Mixed-Solvent Solutions

In a great variety of applications, mixed solvents are often utilized in the solution- phase processing of polymers for improving solubility, manipulating conformations, and inducing polymer self-assemblies, etc. Highly nontrivial behavior by polymers had beenobserved in mixed-solvent solutions, with the phenomena of polymer co-solvency and co-nonsolvency being the two prime examples. A myriad of system-dependent
mechanisms based on the chemistry details of polymer solutions had been proposed for the explanations of the two phenomena. However, the microscopic complexities involved in the discussions inevitably conceal almost all traces of general, underlying mechanisms and principles. In this presentation, I will share our progress toward the development of a generic theoretical framework for studying and understanding polymer
behavior in mixed-solvent solutions. Applied to binary-solvent systems, the framework provides a general and unified understanding on the driving force underlying the reentrant conformational transitions in both polymer co-solvency and co-nonsolvency across systems with different chemistries. The revealed general principle is further exploited for applications of regulating polymer solubility and expanding the parameter space of polymer self-assembly in the solution phase.


Dong Meng joined the Biomaterials Division of Department of​​ Molecular Pathobiology at NYU College of Dentistry as a research associate professor in Fall 2023. The Meng Group conducts research in the general field of soft matter physics, focusing on developing theoretical and computational tools for understanding and engineering new soft materials. One particular research interest in Meng’s group is to apply polymer
physics principles to the development of polymer-based nanocarriers for drug delivery and tunable hydrogels for regenerative medicine. Dong received his Ph.D. degree in Chemical Engineering from the Colorado State University in 2009. After a brief stop at University of California Riverside he conducted postdoctoral training in the Chemical Engineering department at Columbia University in the laboratory of Sanat Kumar. In
2015, he joined Mississippi State University as an assistant professor, where he received tenure promotion and worked until 2023. Dong has been the recipient of an NSF CAREER award. His research has been featured in numerous prestigious journals including Advanced Materials, Nature Communications, etc.