Yefei is from Changchun, China. He earned his bachelor’s degree in polymer materials and engineering from Jilin University in 2010. Then he came to the US and received his master's degree in materials science and engineering from Cornell University in 2012. He joined the Rowan Group at Case Western Reserve University in the fall as a PhD student, working on isolation and modification of cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs). He moved to the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago with Professor Rowan in the summer of 2016.
Yefei’s research involves utilizing functionalized cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) to fabricate polymer materials with unique properties. CNCs are rigid rod-like particles derived from selective acid hydrolysis of cellulose materials. In one example, the surface of the CNCs was functionalized with allyl groups that can be crosslinked with a polymer matrix through UV initiated thiol-ene reaction. By varying the UV intensity, polymer nanocomposites with mechanical gradient can be created to mimic the properties of squid beak.
In Vitro and In Vivo Analyses of the Effects of Source, Length, and Charge on the Cytotoxicity and Immunocompatibility of Cellulose Nanocrystals
Weiss, A et al. ACS Biomater. Sci. Eng. 2021. doi: 10.1021/acsbiomaterials.0c01618
Zhang, Y., Pon, N., Awaji, A. & Rowan, S. J. Squid Beak Inspired Cross-Linked Cellulose Nanocrystal Composites. Biomacromolecules (2020)
Surfactant-Free Latex Nanocomposites Stabilized and Reinforced by Hydrophobically Functionalized Cellulose Nanocrystals
Zhang, Y., Yang, H., Naren, N. & Rowan, S. J. Surfactant-Free Latex Nanocomposites Stabilized and Reinforced by Hydrophobically Functionalized Cellulose Nanocrystals. ACS Applied Polymer Materials 2, 2291–2302 (2020).
Han Yang, Yefei Zhang, Ryo Kato, and Stuart J. Rowan. Preparation of cellulose nanofibers from Miscanthus x. Giganteus by ammonium persulfate oxidation. Carbohydrate Polymers. 2019. Vol. 212, Pg. 30-39.
Effect of processing conditions on the mechanical properties of bio-inspired mechanical gradient nan
Yefei Zhang, Alexandra N. Edelbrock, and Stuart J. Rowan. Effect of processing conditions on the mechanical properties of bio-inspired mechanical gradient nan. European Polymer Journal. 2019. Vol. 115, Pg. 107-114.
Zhang, Y.; Karimkhani, V.; Makowski, B.; Samaranayake, G.; Rowan S.J.. Nano-emulsions and nano-latexes stabilized by hydrophobically functionalized cellulose nanocrystals. Macromolecules. 2017. Vol. 50, Pg. 6032-6042.
The effect of sterics and degree of crosslinking on the mechanical properties of dynamic poly(alkylu
Zhang, L.; Rowan, S.J.. The effect of sterics and degree of crosslinking on the mechanical properties of dynamic poly(alkylu. Macromolecules. 2017. Vol. 50, Pg. 5051-5060.