Erik Berda

Erik Berda
Assistant Professor
Materials Science & Chemistry
Parsons Hall N227
23 Academic Way
Durham, NH 03824
(603) 862-1762


  • B.S. 2003, Penn State University
  • Ph.D. 2008, University of Florida


  • Visiting Researcher, 2007, Kyoto University (Kyoto, Japan)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, 2009-2010, Eindhoven University of Technology (Eindhoven, The Netherlands)

Erik Berda joined the Materials Science Program and Department of Chemistry in 2010 after 2 years in the Netherlands as a postdoctoral research with Bert Meijer at Eindhoven University of Technology. Erik's research focuses on the synthesis of nanostructured polymer building blocks from single polymer chains and methods to tailor these materials towards real world applications.

Teaching Interests:

My main teaching interest is the chemistry of polymers. I teach our graduate Polymer synthesis course (MS905), as well as an upper lever undergraduate polymer chemistry course. I also enjoy teaching organic chemistry and am currently teaching the one semester course for life science majors as well as the second semester OChem laboratory course for chemistry and biochemistry majors.

Research Areas:

  • Design and synthesis of well-defined, shape persistent polymeric nanostructures from single polymer chains.
  • Hierarchical self-assembly of polymeric nanoparticle building blocks into nano, meso, and micro scale architectures and devices.
  • Functional polymeric materials for advanced applications (e.g. molecular machinery, catalysis, energy, and medicine).

Efficient means for producing nano scale building blocks and controlling their hierarchical self-assembly into useful structures on multiple length scales will become crucial in maturing synthetic nanotechnology from infancy into adolescence. Inspiration from Nature is only the beginning; we must learn to effectively utilize the same strategies adopted by Nature in our own designs. Nature's elegant efficiency on the submicron size regime is based largely on two principles: well-defined polymeric systems and supramolecular self-assembly.

Our group is interested in applying these two concepts to create interesting and useful materials that mimic both the beauty and complexity observed in "natural nanotechnology." Shape persistent polymeric nano-objects comprised of single, linear polymer chains are at the heart of Nature's design (i.e. proteins and nucleic acids). Nature assembles her versatile building blocks using powerful, orthogonal non-covalent synthetic methods. We look to borrow these strategies, applying our expertise in the areas of well-defined macromolecular architectures and supramolecular self-assembly to engineer complex arrays that approach the efficacy of natural systems in both form and function.

Our methods rely on the design and synthesis of polymer architectures that can undergo a controlled collapse or folding process to afford well-defined 3-dimensional objects. Based on their design, these systems can be functionalized to operate as individual entities to accomplish a certain task (similar to the way an enzyme catalyzes a reaction), or act a building block in the assembly of structures on multiple hierarchical levels (similar to way actin proteins form microfilaments or tubulin proteins form microtubules).

Select Publications:

  • Tuten, B. T., Chao, D, Berda, E. B.*, “Single-chain polymer nanoparticles via reversible disulfide bridges.” Polymer Chemistry 2012, 3, 3068-3071
  • Jia, X., Chao, D.*, Berda, E. B., Wang, S., Yang, R., Wang, C.*, “Synthesis and Properties of a Novel Electroactive Poly(aryl ether ketone) Bearing Pendant Aniline Tetramer.” Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics, 2012, 213, 1475−1481.
  • Chao, D.; Jia, X.; Liu, H.; Yang, R.; Bai, F.; Wang, C.*; Berda, E.B.*: A multifunctional poly(aryl ether) containing oligoaniline and fluorene pendants: Synthesis, electrochromic performance and tunable fluorescent properties. Journal of Polymer Science Part A: Polymer Chemistry 2012, 50, 2330-2336
  • Chao,D.; Jia, X.; Bai, F.; Liu, H.; Cui, L.; Berda, E.B.*; Wang, C.*;. An efficient fluorescent sensor for redox active species based on novel poly(aryl ether) containing electroactive pendants. Journal of Materials Chemistry, 2011, 22, 3028-3034.
  • Jia, X.; Chao, D.; Berda, E.B.; Pei, S.; Liu, H.; Zheng, T.; Wang, C.; Fabrication of electrochemically responsive surface relief diffraction gratings based on a multifunctional polyamide containing oligoaniline and azo groups Journal of Materials Chemistry. 2011, 21(45), 18317-18324 
  • Foster, E. J.; Berda, Erik B.; Meijer, E. W., “Metastable Supramolecular Polymer Nanoparticles via Intramolecular Collapse of Single Polymer Chains.” Journal of the American Chemical Society 2009, 131 (20), 6964-6966.