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Xiaoran Hu

Xiaoran Hu

Xiaoran Hu

Assistant Professor




Ph.D., Tufts University


Social/Academic Links

Courses Taught

CHE 400/600 Selected Topics – Polymer Chemistry and Polymeric Drug Delivery Systems

Biographic Overview

Our group is interested in developing programmable smart materials and providing chemistry solutions to global challenges in materials innovation and health. We exploit molecular design and the synthetic organic toolbox to construct advanced material systems for sensing and drug delivery applications.

Research Interests

Smart materials; Polymers; Drug delivery; Stimuli-responsive chemistry; Organic chemistry

Research Specializations

Materials Chemistry

Lab Affiliations

Bioinspired Institute


(4) Robb, M. J.; Hu, X. “Mechanical Regulation of Photoswitching”. US Patent App. 17/019,107, published March 11, 2021. (Caltech)

(3) Asatekin, A.; Thomas, S. W. III; Kaner, P.; Hu, X. “Two-layer photo-responsive membranes”, US Patent Number 10,603,637, issued March 31, 2020. (Tufts)

(2) Hu, X.; Zhu, S.; Robisson, A.; Qu, M; Ossia, S. “Methods for Ring-Opening Metathesis Polymerization (ROMP) for In-Situ Formation of High Glass Transition Temperature (Tg) Polymers”, US Patent Appl. 16/335,409, published January 16, 2020. (Schlumberger)

(1) Robb, M. J.; Hu, X. “Method for Controlled Release Using Mechanical Force”. Provisional US Patent Appl. CIT 8330-P, filed August 12, 2019. (Caltech)


(15) Husic, C. C.; Hu, X; Robb, M. J. “Incorporation of a Tethered Alcohol Enables Efficient Mechanically Triggered Release in Aprotic Environments”, ACS Macro Lett. 2022 11, 948-953

(14) Versaw, B; Zeng, T; Hu, X; Robb, M. J. “Harnessing the Power of Force: Development of Mechanophores for Molecular Release”, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2021, 143, 21461–21473.

(13) Zeng, T; Hu, X; Robb, M. J. “5-Aryloxy Substitution Enables Efficient Mechanically Triggered Release from a Synthetically Accessible Masked 2-Furylcarbinol Mechanophore”, Chem. Commun., 2021, 57, 11173-11176.

(12) Hu, X; Zeng, T; Husic, C. C.; Robb, M. J. “Mechanically Triggered Release of Functionally Diverse Molecular Payloads from Masked 2-Furylcarbinol Derivatives”, ACS Cent. Sci. 2021, 7, 1216-1224.

(11) Hu, X; Zeng, T; Husic, C. C.; Robb, M. J. “Mechanically Triggered Small Molecule Release from a Masked Furfuryl Carbonate”, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141, 15018-15023.

(10) Barber, R. W.; McFadden, M. E.; Hu, X.; and Robb, M. J. “Mechanochemically Gated Photoswitching: Expanding the Scope of Polymer Mechanochromism”, Synlett 2019, 30, 1725–1732.

(9) Hu, X.; McFadden, M. E.; Baber, R. W.; Robb, M. J. “Mechanochemical Regulation of a Photochemical Reaction”, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2018, 140, 14073–14077.

(8) Feeney M. J.; Hu, X.; Srinivasan R.; Van N.; Hunter M.; Georgakoudi I.; Thomas S. W. III “UV and NIR-Responsive Layer-by-Layer Films Containing 6-Bromo-7-hydroxycoumarin Photolabile Groups”, Langmuir 2017, 33, 10877–10885.

(7) Hu, X.; Lawrence, J. A.; Mullahoo, J.; Smith, Z. C; Wilson, D. J.; Mace, C. R.; Thomas, S. W. III “Directly Photopatternable Polythiophene as Dual-Tone Photoresist”, Macromolecules 2017, 50, 7258–7267.

(5) Hu, X.; Qureishi, Z.; Thomas, S. W. III "Light-Controlled Selective Disruption, Multi-Level Patterning, and Sequential Release with Polyelectrolyte Multilayer Films Incorporating Four Photocleavable Chromophores”, Chem. Mater. 2017, 29, 2951–2960.

(6) Kaner, P.; Hu, X.; Thomas, S. W. III, Asatekin, A. “Self-Cleaning Membranes from Comb-Shaped Copolymers with Photoresponsive Side Groups”, ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2017, 9, 13619–13631.

(4) Hu, X.; Feeney, M. J.; McIntosh, E.; Mullahoo, J.; Jia, F.; Xu, Q.; Thomas, S. W. III "Triggered Release of Encapsulated Cargo from Photoresponsive Polyelectrolyte Nanocomplexes", ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2016, 8, 23517–23522.

(3) Hu, X.; Macintosh, E; Simon, M. G.; Staii, C.; Thomas, S. W. III "Stimuli-Responsive Free-Standing Layer-By-Layer Films", Adv. Mater. 2016, 28, 715–721.

(2) Hu, X.; Shi, J.; Thomas, S. W. III "Photolabile ROMP Gels Using ortho-Nitrobenzyl Functional Crosslinkers”, Polym. Chem. 2015, 6, 4966–4971.

(1) Gumbley, P.; Hu, X.; Lawrence, J. A., III; Thomas, S. W. III "Photoresponsive Gels Prepared by Ring Opening Metathesis Polymerization”, Macromol. Rapid Commun. 2013, 34, 1838–1843.

Honors and Awards

2019 ACS PMSE Distinguished Poster Nominee

2018 Finalist, ACS Eastman Chemical Student Award in Applied Polymer Science

2016 Graduate Student Research Competition Award, Tufts

2016 Graduate Research Excellence at Tufts Fellowship

2016 Graduate Student Travel Award, Tufts