• P. Nichols & G. Winkel, J. Bunn, and J. Bates (2018). Physical Properties and Behaviors of Molecular Imprinted Hydrogels for Clinical Use. World Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Published, 03/01/2018.
  • P. Nichols & N. Mortensen, D. Tingey, A. Vasquez, and J. Bates (2018). Pharmacokinetics of Molecular Imprinted Hydrogels as Drug Delivery Vehicles. Biochemistry & Pharmacology. Published, 02/28/2018.
  • J.S. Bates and T.D. Sparks, Teaching Innovation in Materials Science and Engineering, ASEE Rocky Mountain Section Meeting, Conference Proceedings (2016). Published, 10/01/2016.
  • J. Bates, L. Whitson, K. Albertson, N. Hickerson, P. Nichols, B. Larson, T. Sparks, Molecular Imprinted Hydrogels in Drug Delivery Applications, MRS Proceedings 1797 (2015). Published, 03/06/2015.
  • J. Bates, J. Magda, pH-Responsive Hydrogels and their Applications in Chemomechanical Sensors, ScienceJet 4 (2014) 128. Published, 12/31/2014.
  • J. Bates, J. Magda, Storage and Operational Stability of pH-Responsive Hydrogels, Global Journal of Science Frontier Research, 14 (2014) 6. Published, 10/31/2014.
  • K. Krapcho, N. Farhang, C. Orantes, J. Bates, How to Recruit and Retain Students Using an Engineering Ambassador Program, ASEE Community Engagement Division (2014). Published, 06/28/2014.
  • J.S. Bates, A First-Year Course Based on Conceptual Design, ASEE First-Year Programs Division (2014). Published, 06/28/2014.
  • J.S. Bates, Survey of Engineering: A Guide to Choosing an Engineering Major, Kendall Hunt Publishing, Dubuque, IA, 2014. Published, 06/27/2014.
  • J. Bates, J. Magda, Time Interval and Continuous Testing of Stimuli Responsive Hydrogels, MRS Proceedings (2013). Published, 12/07/2013.
  • J. Bates, P. Tathireddy, S. Buetefisch, J. Magda, An Improved Design for Chemomechanical Sensors: The “Boss” Sensor, Chemosensors (2013). Published, 10/29/2013.
  • J.S. Bates, S.H. Cho, P. Tathireddy, L.W. Rieth, J.J. Magda, Smart Hydrogels Designed for Used in Microfabricated Sensor Arrays, MRS Proceedings 1570 (2013). Published, 04/06/2013.

Research Statement

Using Translational Research for the Development of Materials with Applications in Health Care and Sustainability

The focus of my research has been primarily in polymer materials used in both health care and sustainability applications.  I have a number of current research projects that are specifically aimed at hydrogels and their uses in optical drug delivery, stimuli-responsive materials in the design of self-monitoring irrigation systems, phase change materials used for thermal management systems, and super absorbent polymers that will degrade under environmental conditions for use by women in developing countries for personal hygiene. 

Creating chemical sensors from stimuli-responsive hydrogels was the focus of my dissertation work.  I used hydrogels with tertiary amine groups as the signal recognition component of the hydrogels.  The amine groups became protonated as the pH decreased, causing an electrostatic repulsion, and therefore a mechanical swelling.  The swelling pressure exerted by the hydrogel was measured with a piezoresistive pressure sensor.  One of the facets of this project was to optimize both the response time and swelling response. 

In addition, I currently have an active research project making polymers imprinted with a glaucoma drug.  These polymers are being explored as a potential drug delivery device that would deliver the drug directly to the ocular surface.  The project is in its infancy, but we have already obtained results with UV-Vis, showing that the drug is released from the polymer.  Progress is being made to determine the reversibility of binding as well as the extraction coefficient and the time for drug release.

Research Keywords

  • polymers
  • Sustainable polymers
  • Sustainability
  • Sensors and Actuators
  • Hydrogels and stimuli sensitive polymers
  • Hydrogel-based smart materials
  • Hydrogel actuators
  • Health Care
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Chemical Sensors
  • Biomaterials
  • Biological Polymers
  • Biodegradability of Polymers
  • Adhesives


  • Global Public Health Grand Round: Increasing Access to Hygiene Products in Developing Countries . Invited Talk/Keynote, Presented, 09/26/2017.
  • J.S. Bates and T.D. Sparks, Teaching Innovation in Materials Science and Engineering, ASEE Rocky Mountain Section Meeting, Conference Proceedings (2016). Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 10/01/2016.
  • Molecular Imprinted Hydrogels for Drug Delivery Applications. Conference Paper, Refereed, Presented, 04/01/2015.

Research Groups

  • Hailee Wright, Undergraduate Student. 08/01/2019 - present.
  • Auri Bauer, Undergraduate Student. 02/01/2019 - present.
  • Zach Robinson, Undergraduate Student. 02/01/2019 - present.
  • Zach Putnam, Undergraduate Student. 02/01/2019 - present.
  • Amelia Heiner, Undergraduate Student. 01/01/2019 - present.
  • Aruna Dhungel, Undergraduate Student. 08/01/2018 - present.
  • Curtis Session, Graduate Student. 08/01/2018 - present.
  • Isaac Kreiger, Undergraduate Student. 08/01/2018 - present.
  • Antonio Vasquez, Undergraduate Student. 09/01/2017 - present.
  • Nicole Mortensen, Undergraduate Student. 06/01/2017 - present.
  • Jaxon Roller, Undergraduate Student. 02/01/2017 - present.
  • Ashley Kennedy, Undergraduate Student. 02/01/2017 - present.
  • Thomas Shober, Undergraduate Student. 02/01/2017 - present.
  • Nicole Mortensen, Undergraduate Student. 01/02/2017 - present.
  • Amber Barron, Undergraduate Student. 01/01/2017 - 05/01/2019.
  • Christian Robert, Undergraduate Student. 03/01/2016 - 05/05/2017.
  • Jake James, Undergraduate Student. 03/01/2016 - 05/05/2017.
  • Gerrit Winkel, Graduate Student. 03/01/2016 - present.
  • Aaron Dobron, Undergraduate Student. 03/01/2016 - present.
  • Tom Folke, Undergraduate Student. 03/01/2016 - 05/05/2017.
  • Daniel Nguyen, Undergraduate Student. 03/01/2016 - 05/05/2017.
  • Ashlea Patterson, Undergraduate Student. 02/01/2016 - present.
  • Alicia Dibble, Undergraduate Student. 01/04/2016 - present.
  • Andrew Mullenax, Undergraduate Student. 10/01/2015 - 05/05/2017.
  • Amber Barron, Undergraduate Student. 08/01/2015 - present.
  • Jared Bunn, Undergraduate Student. 08/01/2015 - 08/31/2017.
  • Richard Otero, Undergraduate Student. 05/01/2015 - 02/29/2016.

Research Equipment and Testing Expertise

  • Adhesive Equipment.
  • Contact Angle.
  • Environmental Chamber.
  • QCM-I.
  • Rheology.
  • SLA 3D Printer.
  • Tribology.
  • Viscometry.

Geographical Regions of Interest

  • Australia
  • Guatemala
  • Kenya
  • Pakistan