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Reginald Thio

Assistant Professor

Research Areas:
Material Science

Reginald Thio graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 2002, followed by M.S. and Ph.D degrees in Chemical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2005 and 2008 respectively. His dissertation focused on the use of atomic force microscopy (AFM) to measure and characterize adhesive forces between biological particles and polymer surfaces in air, as well as the development of novel techniques to do this effectively. From 2009 to 2011, Reginald was a NSF/EPA sponsored postdoctoral scholar at UCSB’s University of California Center for the Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (UC-CEIN). His postdoctoral research aimed to understand the behavior of engineered nanomaterials in the environment, at scales ranging from nanoparticle interactions to transport and fate in ecosystems.

Reginald’s overarching research interest focuses on understanding the interfacial interactions in biological and materials systems and exploiting the knowledge gained to design and fabricate novel ‘green’ composite materials for a variety of  critical applications. These include the areas of bioremediation, catalysis, carbon sequestration, drug delivery, energy, food technologies, water conservation and purification.

Earned Degrees
  • Ph.D. Chemical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2008
  • M.S. Chemical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2005
  • B.S. Chemical Engineering, University of Wisconsin – Madison, 2002
Academic Appointments
  • Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2011 – 2012
  • Postdoctoral Scholar, Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, University of California at Santa Barbara, 2009 – 2011
Research Interests
  • Interfacial and colloidal phenomena
  • Foams, emulsions, micro and nano-particle dispersions
  • Adhesion, aggregation, deposition and mobility of particulates in air and aqueous media
  • Composite synthetic and natural materials for environmental, energy and food applications
Key Publications
  1.  B.J.R. Thio, M.O. Montes, M.A. Mahmoud, D. Lee, D. Zhou, A.A. Keller, “Mobility of Capped Silver Nanoparticles under Environmentally Relevant Conditions,” Environ. Sci. Technol., 2012, 46 (13), 6985 – 6991 (doi:10.1021/es203596w)
  2. 2. B.J.R. Thio*, K.K. Clark*, A.A. Keller, “Magnetic pollen grains as sorbents for facile removal of organic pollutants in aqueous media,” Journal of Hazardous Materials, 2011, 194, pp 53 – 61 (doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2011.07.070) (*Co-first authors)
  3. 3. B.J.R. Thio, D. Zhou, A.A. Keller, “Influence of natural organic matter on the aggregation and deposition of titanium dioxide nanoparticles onto silica,” Journal of Hazardous Materials, 2011, 189, pp 556 – 563 (doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2011.02.072)
  4. 4. B.J.R. Thio*, J.H. Lee*, J.C. Meredith, A.A. Keller, “Measuring the influence of solution chemistry on the adhesion of Au nanoparticles to mica using colloid probe atomic force microscopy,” Langmuir, 2010, 26 (17), pp 13995 – 14003 (doi:10.1021/la1020516)  (*Co-first authors)
  5. 5. V. Blasucci, R. Hart, V.L. Mestre, D.J. Hahne, M. Burlager, H. Huttenhower, B.J.R. Thio, P. Pollet, C.L. Liotta, C.A. Eckert, “Single component, reversible ionic liquids for energy applications,” Fuel, 2010,  89 (6), pp 1315 – 1319  (doi:10.1016/j.fuel.2009.11.015)
  6. 6. J.H. Lee, B.J.R. Thio, T.H. Bae, J.C. Meredith, “Role of Lewis Basicity and van der Waals Forces in Adhesion of Silica MFI Zeolites (010) with Polyimides,” Langmuir, 2009, 25 (16), pp 9101 – 9107    (doi: 10.1021/la9006313)
  7. 7. B.J.R. Thio, J.H. Lee, J.C. Meredith, “Characterization of ragweed pollen adhesion to polyamides and polystyrene using atomic force microscopy,” Environ. Sci. Technol., 2009, 43 (12), pp 4308 – 4313 (doi:10.1021/es803422s)
  8. 8. B.J.R.Thio, J.C. Meredith, “Quantification of E. coli adhesion to polyamides and polystyrene with atomic force microscopy,” Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, 2008, 65, pp 308 – 312 (doi:10.1016/j.colsurfb.2008.05.005)
  9. 9. B.J.R. Thio, J.C. Meredith, “Measurement of polyamide and polystyrene adhesion with coated-tip atomic force microscopy,” J. Colloid Interface Sci., 2007, 314,  pp 52 – 62 (doi:10.1016/j.jcis.2007.05.029)

 B.J.R. Thio, K.K. Clark and A.A. Keller. “Magnetic pollen grains as sorbents for organic pollutants in aqueous media,” United States Patent Application 20120061317.

Previous Work

Coffee ring effect on the deposition of nanoparticles

From suspension to a cantilever

Single pollen grain on a cantilever

Coating Ag nanoparticles onto larger polystyrene beads

Magnetic sorbents for water remediation

Current Research Projects
1. Water and Sanitation Technology Development: Bioremediation of contaminated natural and drinking waters
2. Understanding indoor fine particles' interactions with surfaces and its implications on human health under environmentally relevant conditions in Singapore and China


Thio Research Group Members
Principal Investigator
Reginald Thio
Joint SUTD-MIT Postdoctoral Fellow (with Cao group @ MIT)
Xinliang Xu (xinliang_xu at
Co-advised PhD Student (withDoyle and Hatton groups @ MIT)
Siwon Choi (siwonc at
Research Lab Technologist
Clara Tan
(clara_tan at
Evangeline Ng
(evangeline_ng at
Group Alumni
Siang Yee Yeo
MIT UROP exchange student(MISTI-SLI program, June 18 - Aug 10, 2012) 
Vivian Dien
(viviand at
Research Opportunities & Collaborations

We welcome inquiries for postdoctoral and lab research technologist openings. Please email me with a copy of your CV.

We are also interested in interdisciplinary collaborative research projects with colleagues.