Kathleen J. Stebe
Goodwin Professor of Applied Science and Engineering


Email: kstebe@seas.upenn.edu
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Kathleen J. Stebe is the Goodwin Professor in the School Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. Educated at the City College of New York, she received a B.A. in Economics and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at the Levich Institute advised by Charles Maldarelli. After a post-doctoral year in Compiegne, France under the guidance of Dominique Barthes-Biesel, she joined the Department of Chemical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, where she became Professor and served as the department chair. Thereafter, she joined the University of Pennsylvania, where she served in various administrative capacities including department chair and Deputy Dean. She has been recognized by the National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars, and as a Fellow of the American Physical Society and of the Radcliffe Institute. Her research focuses on directed assembly in soft matter and at fluid interfaces, with an emphasis on confinement, geometry, and emergent structures in far from equilibrium settings for novel functional materials.


Research Interests
The Stebe lab is interested in complex fluids, often in settings that are far from equilibrium from a fundamental and engineering viewpoint. In one aspect of her work, she studies the mechanics of fluid interfaces in the presence of surface active molecules to harness interfaces for applications ranging from enhanced transport to materials assembly to rare earth element separation. She is also deeply interested in complex structures which form on fluid interfaces, including nanoparticle-polyelectrolyte films, protein monolayers, bacterial biofilms, and particle-laden fluid interfaces. Finally, a major effort in her research group focuses on developing strategies for soft reconfigurable systems by molding director fields and topological defects in confined liquid crystals. Throughout, the Stebe group uses fundamental arguments to develop strategies to direct system to address societal needs.


Research Areas

Soft Matter and Complex Fluids; Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology


Educational Background
Ph.D.: City University of New York (1989)
M.S.E.: City University of New York (1989)
B.A.: City College of New York (1984)


2021 Member, National Academy of Engineering
2020 Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
2015 Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars
2010 Fellow, American Physical Society
2002 Fellow, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University
1993 Robert S. Pond, Sr. Teaching Award, Johns Hopkins University
1992 François N. Frenkiel Award, American Physical Society
1989 Bourse Chateaubriand for Postdoctoral Research

Named Lectureships

2024 Smith Lecturer, Cornell University
2023 Schowalter Lecturer, AIChE
2023 Harry Fair Memorial Lectureship, University of Oklahoma
2022 John L. Anderson Lecture, Carnegie Mellon University
2019 Stanley Katz Lecture, City College of New York
2019 D. O. Shah Lecture, Chemical Engineering, University of Florida
2018 Langmuir Lecturer, ACS Division of Colloid and Surface Chemistry
2018 McCabe Lecture, North Carolina State University
2012 Bird Stewart and Lightfoot Lecture, University of Wisconsin
2011 Ginn Lecture, Auburn University
2011 Women in Engineering Lecture, University of Delaware
2010 Stanley Corrsin Lecture, Johns Hopkins University
2010 Wohl Lecture, University of Delaware
2008 Casassa Lecture, Carnegie Mellon University 


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