B.S. Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, University of Notre Dame, 2010M.S. Polymer Science & Engineering, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2012Ph.D. Polymer Science & Engineering, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2016Post-Doc Chemistry, Texas A&M University, 2016-2018

Rachel A. Letteri is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering.  After obtaining a B.S. in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering from the University of Notre Dame, she completed a Ph.D. in Polymer Science & Engineering from the University of Massachusetts Amherst under the direction of Professors Todd Emrick and Ryan Hayward.  She then conducted postdoctoral research in the laboratory of Professor Karen Wooley in the Department of Chemistry at Texas A&M University from 2016-2018.  Her research interests include materials involving functional polymers, peptides, and interfacial assemblies with applications in medicine and engineering, among others.  Rachel also enjoys sharing science and engineering with others through education and outreach.

Lab overview

The Letteri lab is engineering materials that synergistically combine polymers and peptides to enable productive interactions with living systems and address central challenges in medicine and engineering.  Our specific interests include understanding and exploiting stereochemistry-driven interactions and stimuli-responsive motifs to control materials properties, and using polymers to present and encapsulate peptides in ways that maximize their function.


  • NSF CAREER Award 2022
  • included in the RSC Biomaterials Science Emerging Investigators Issue 2021
  • Thomas E. Hutchinson Award (Trigon Engineering Society) for outreach to students, enthusiastic lectures, obvious love of teaching, and contributions to the Engineering School 2019

Research Interests

  • Polymer synthesis and characterization
  • Peptide binding and assembly
  • Biomaterials
  • Therapeutic peptide delivery

In the News

Selected Publications

  • Buffering effects on the solution behavior and hydrolytic degradation of poly(β-amino ester)s ABS Kuenen, M. K.; Mullin, J. A.; Letteri, R. A.
  • Molecular Engineering of antimicrobial peptide (AMP)-polymer conjugates ABS Cui, Z.; Luo, Q.; Bannon, M. S.; Gray, V. P.; Bloom, T. G.; Clore, M. F.; Hughes, M. A.; Crawford, M. A.; Letteri, R.A.
  • User-defined, temporal presentation of bioactive molecules on hydrogel substrates using supramolecular coiled coil complexes ABS Grewal, M. G.; Gray, V. P.; Letteri, R. A.; Highey, C.B.
  • Biomaterials via peptide assembly: Design, characterization, and application in tissue engineering ABS Gray, V. P.; Amelung, C. D.; Duti, I. J.; Laudermilch, E. G.; Letteri, R. A.; Lampe, K. J.
  • Amphiphilic cross-linked liquid crystalline fluoropolymer-poly(ethylene glycol) coatings for application in challenging conditions: Comparative study between different liquid crystalline comonomers and polymer architectures. ABS Zigmond, J. S.; Letteri, R. A.; Wooley, K. L. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2016, 8, 33386-33393

Courses Taught

  • CHE 2215: Material & Energy Balances Fall 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021
  • CHE 6561: Chemistry for Engineering Functional Soft Materials Spring 2020, 2022
  • CHE 3347/6647: Biochemical Engineering Spring 2021