The Faculty


Effects of biomimetic nanostructured surfaces on cell behavior; directed polymer self-assembly


Shoemaker Professor of, Chemical and Biological, Engineering, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Postdoctoral Research, Harvard University

Engineer, Solvay et Compagnie, Brussels

PhD, Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

BChE, magna cum laude, Rice University


Nealey is a pioneer of directed self-assembly, which is becoming very important in microelectronics processing to create patterns for integrated circuits. He is one of the world’s leading experts on patterning organic materials, literally creating physical patterns of structure and composition in the materials at the nanometer length scale, where the patterns affect the function of the materials.

Many of Nealey’s collaborative projects with Juan de Pablo have focused on block copolymer films, which spontaneously self-assemble to form structures with dimensions that range from three to 50 nanometers. Nealey’s experimental and de Pablo’s computational teamwork extends even to jointly advised doctoral students. Their approach has become so powerfully productive that other institutions seek to replicate their formula for success with their own research teams.

Nealey’s interest in tissue engineering of corneal prosthetic devices, pursued in collaboration with a veterinary ophthalmologist, demonstrates the versatility of his expertise in fabricating nanostructured surfaces.

Nealey holds 14 patents and is the author of more than 180 publications. His honors include fellowship in the American Physical Society, the 2010 Nanoscale Science and Engineering Forum Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and a 2009 Inventor Recognition Award from Semiconductor Research Corporation.

Selected Peer-reviewed Publications

(Selected from more than 180 peer-reviewed publications)

  1. Yañez-Soto B, Liliensiek SJ, Murphy CJ, Nealey PF. “Biochemically and topographically engineered poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate hydrogels with biomimetic characteristics as substrates for human corneal epithelial cells” J Biomed Mater Res A. 101(4):1184-94. (2013) PMID: 23255502
  2. Tocce EJ, Liliensiek SJ, Broderick AH, Jiang Y, Murphy KC, Murphy CJ, Lynn DM, Nealey PF. “The influence of biomimetic topographical features and the extracellular matrix peptide RGD on human corneal epithelial contact guidance” Acta Biomater. 9(2):5040-51. (2013)  PMID: 23069317
  3. Raghunathan V, McKee CT, Cheung W, Naik R, Nealey PF, Russell P, Murphy CJ. “Influence of extracellular matrix proteins and substratum topography on corneal epithelial cell alignment and migration” Tissue Eng Part A. (2013) PMID: 23488816
  4. Wilson MJ, Liliensiek SJ, Murphy CJ, Murphy WL, Nealey PF. “Hydrogels with well-defined peptide-hydrogel spacing and concentration: impact on epithelial cell behavior” Soft Matter. 8(2):390-398. (2012) PMID: 23264803.
  5. Ji S, Nagpal U, Liu G, Delcambre SP, Müller M, de Pablo JJ, Nealey PF. “Directed assembly of Non-equilibrium ABA Triblock Copolymer Morphologies on Nanopatterned Substrates” ACS Nano, 6, 5440-5448 (2012) PMID: 22559146.
  6. Ji S, Nagpal U, Liao W, et al. "Three-dimensional Directed Assembly of Block Copolymers together with Two-dimensional Square and Rectangular Nanolithography", Advanced Materials, 23, 3692-+ (2011)
  7. Liu, G. L., Thomas, C. S., Craig, G. S. W. & Nealey, P. F. "Integration of Density Multiplication in the Formation of Device-Oriented Structures by Directed Assembly of Block Copolymer-Homopolymer Blends". Advanced Functional Materials 20, 1251-1257, (2010).
  8. Last, J. A., Liliensiek, S. J., Nealey, P. F. & Murphy, C. J. "Determining the mechanical properties of human corneal basement membranes with atomic force microscopy".Journal of Structural Biology 167, 19-24, (2009).
  9. Kang, H.; Craig, G. S. W.; Nealey, P. F., "Directed assembly of asymmetric ternary block copolymer-homopolymer blends using symmetric block copolymer into checkerboard trimming chemical pattern", Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology B 26 (6), 2495-2499 (2008).
  10. Ruiz, R; Kang, H.M.; Detcheverry, F.A.; Dobisz, E; Kercher, D.S.; Albrecht, T.R.; de Pablo, J.J.; Nealey, P.F. “Density multiplication and improved lithography by directed block copolymer assembly”. Science 321 (5891): 936-939 (2008) PMID: 18703735.
  11. Park, S. M.; Craig, G. S. W.; La, Y. H.; Solak, H. H.; Nealey, P. F., "Square arrays of vertical cylinders of PS-b-PMMA on chemically nanopatterned surfaces", Macromolecules 40 (14), 5084-5094 (2007).
  12. Stoykovich, M.P.; Kang, H; Daoulas, K.C.; Liu, G; Liu, C.C.; de Pablo, J.J.; Mueller, M; Nealey, P.F.. "Directed self-assembly of block copolymers for nanolithography: Fabrication of isolated features and essential integrated circuit geometries". ACS Nano 1 (3): 168-175 (2007) PMID: 19206647.
  13. Stoykovich, M. P.; Edwards, E. W.; Solak, H. H.; Nealey, P. F., "Phase behavior of symmetric ternary block copolymer-homopolymer blends in thin films and on chemically patterned surfaces", Physical Review Letters 97, 147802 (2006) PMID: 17155291.
  14. Stoykovich, M. P.; Muller, M.; Kim, S. O.; Solak, H. H.; Edwards, E. W.; de Pablo, J. J.; Nealey, P. F., "Directed assembly of block copolymer blends into nonregular device-oriented structures", Science 308 (5727), 1442-1446 (2005) PMID: 15933196.
  15. Kim, S. O.; Solak, H. H.; Stoykovich, M. P.; Ferrier, N. J.; de Pablo, J. J.; Nealey, P. F., "Epitaxial self-assembly of block copolymers on lithographically defined nanopatterned substrates", Nature 424 (6947), 411-414 (2003) PMID: 12879065.