Samanvaya Srivastava, an assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering, has received a National Science Foundation CAREER award, the agency’s highest honor for faculty members in the early stages of their teaching and research careers.

The award includes five years of funding, worth more than $600,000, to support his research on developing a new class of durable wet adhesives that can help heal wounds and affix implants to tissues.

Srivastava’s research group engineers soft materials to self-assemble through the design and synthesis of their constituent molecules, with a particular focus on the role of electrostatic interactions in influencing self-assembly. His research has applications in consumer products (such as cosmetics, adhesive and coatings), biomedical and biochemical industries, construction materials and 3D printing.

The NSF grant will support research to create a new family of versatile hydrogel wet adhesives that will feature intricate nanoscale structures and improved stickiness, elasticity and durability. Findings from this research could lead to next-generation tissue sealants to close wounds and surgical openings and affix tissue implants inside the body. Such improvements could offer a preferred option to seal wounds, over using sutures or staples, as the sealants would not need to be removed. The research will also explore avenues to add therapeutic compounds into the adhesives to help wound healing.

Srivastava joined the UCLA faculty in November 2017, following appointments as a postdoctoral researcher at the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago and as a visiting research associate at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois. He earned his doctorate in chemical engineering from Cornell University. Srivastava recently received an AIChE 35 Under 35 Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers for significant contributions to the field.