Dean received his BS in chemical engineering from Clarkson University in 2008. He obtained his PhD in chemical engineering from Virginia Tech in 2014. During his dissertation he worked in William Ducker’s group utilizing colloidal probe atomic force microscopy to probe the interactions between hydrophobic surfaces in water and the stability of bubbles at the solid-liquid interface of hydrophobic surfaces in water. He worked as a postdoctoral researcher in Deborah Leckband’s group at the University of Illinois at Urbana, Champaign, where he used the surface forces apparatus (SFA) to investigate peptide-peptide interactions as a function solvent condition. In 2017, Dean joined Matt Tirrell’s group as a postdoctoral appointee at Argonne National Laboratory where he uses the SFA to study the surface forces and structure of polyelectrolyte brushes in the presence of multivalent counterions.
Dean’s research aims to understand and manipulate the surface properties and forces of charged polymers tethered to surfaces, known as polyelectrolyte brushes. Specifically, he is studying how multivalent counterions, such as calcium and yttrium, decrease the lubricity of polystyrene sulfonate and cause conformational changes in the structure of the polyelectrolyte brushes. His research interests are surface forces, self-assembled systems, hydrophobic systems, and ion-specific interactions.
Xu, Xin, Dean Mastropietro, Marina Ruths, Matthew Tirrell, and Jing Yu. "Ion-Specific Effects of Divalent Ions on the Structure of Polyelectrolyte Brushes." Langmuir 35, no. 48 (2019): 15564-15572.