Karen I. Winey
Harold Pender Professor of Engineering and Applied Science


Tel: 215-898-0593
Email: winey@seas.upenn.edu
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Karen I. Winey is the Harold Pender Professor of Engineering and Applied Science with a 50:50 appointment between the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Karen earned her Ph.D. in polymer science and engineering from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and joined the Penn Engineering faculty after a brief postdoc at AT&T Bell Labs. Karen has made significant contributions to the field of polymer science, particularly in the understanding of and manipulation of unique polymer nanocomposites and ion-containing polymers. She has a strong record of service including as an Associate Editor for Macromolecules, Chair of the Division of Polymer Physics within the American Physical Society, Department Chair of Penn’s Material Science and Engineering Department, and a variety of advisory boards.


Research Interests
The focus of the Winey research group is hierarchical and nanoscale morphologies in polymers and connecting these morphologies to the underlying chemical structure as well as the mechanical, thermal and transport properties of the materials. We employ a variety of experimental and computational tools to probe the structural and physical properties of advanced polymers including X-ray scattering, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, and time of flight SIMS. Targeting a variety of energy-related and membrane applications, we study and design functional polymers to improve selective ion and proton conductivity. In polymer nanocomposites, our current interests focus on nanoparticle dynamics across a range of time and length scales. Our newest project focuses on polymer-to-polymer upcycling to convert waste polyolefins to higher value polymers. Our dynamics and highly-cited research group is currently funded by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy Basic Energy Sciences, and industry.


Research Areas

Soft Matter and Complex Fluids; Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology; Energy and Environmental Engineering; Molecular Simulation and Thermodynamics


Educational Background
Ph.D.: University of Massachusetts, Amherst (1991)
B.S.: Cornell University (1985)


2023 American Chemical Society, ACS Polymer Chemistry Award

2022 American Association for the Advancement of Science, Fellow,
Spring 2022 American Chemical Society, POLY/PMSE Division, Plenary Speaker
2021 POLY (Division of Polymer Chemistry) American Chemical Society, Fellow
2020 Am. Inst. of Chemical Engineering, Materials Engr. and Sci. Division, Braskem Award
2020 American Chemical Society, POLY, Mark J. Herman Senior Scholar Award
2017 Trustees Council of PennWomen Award for Undergraduate Advising
2016 PMSE (Polymeric Materials: Science and Energy Division) American Chemical Society, Fellow
2014 Visiting Miller Research Professor, Miller Institute, University of California, Berkeley
2013 TowerBrook Foundation Faculty Fellow
2013 Materials Research Society, Fellow
2012 George H. Heilmeier Faculty Award for Excellence in Research
2011-2015 American Physical Society, Division of Polymer Physics, Chair Elect, Vice Chair, Chair, Past Chair
2010-2014 Macromolecules, Associate Editor
2010 Gordon Research Conference, Polymer Physics, Chair
2009-2011 National Science Foundation, Special Creativity Award
2007 MRS Bulletin, Guest Editor
2003 American Physical Society, Fellow


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