James Reuther is an Assistant Professor in the Chemistry Department at UMass Lowell.

James F. Reuther, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

College of Sciences
Olney Hall - 432B

Research Interests

Dynamic Nanocomposites, Nanoparticle Superlattices, Reconfigurable Materials, Helical Polymers, Chiral Inorganic Nanomaterials

Sub-Group 1: Dynamically Crosslinked Nanoparticle Superlattices and Nanocomposites. Metal Nanoparticles (MNPs) of various metal compositions and materials properties (i.e. plasmonic noble metal, ferromagnetic metal oxide, semiconducting/photoluminescent metal chalcogenide, etc.) will be synthesized with complementary tunable orthogonal reversible covalent (TORC) bonding reactive groups around the periphery. This controlled synthesis will utilized monodisperse, polymeric nanoreactors to facilitate nucleation and growth of nanocrystalline metal particles around the organic template. When complementary TORC-MNPs are mixed, triggered association/ dissociation can occur using specific stimuli to make dynamically crosslinked materials where the primary constituent consists of the MNPs. The association of MNPs can induce specific property manipulations such as tuned plasmonic resonances, photoluminscent quenching, or alterations of the local magnetic fields, to name a few.

Sub-Group 2: Scalable, Helical Polymer Nanostructures for Templated Synthesis of Chiral Inorganic Nanoparticles. Helical polycarbodiimides offer a versatile macromolecular scaffold for construction of functional polymeric nanoparticles with defined chirality. Using controlled, living polymerization techniques mediated by transition metal catalysts, monodisperse polycarbodiimides can be synthesized with preferential helical twists governed by either chirality of the catalyst or the monomer side chains. Combining this controlled polymerization with living radical polymerizations, we will synthesize chiral polymeric nanostructures in a scalable fashion through polymerization induced self-assembly (PISA) with helical, rigid-rod polycarbodiimides as macroinitiators. These nanostructures will be used as organic templates to template the formation of chiral inorganic nanoparticles consisting of silica or noble metals for enantiomeric separations or chiral plasmonic materials, respectively.


  • Postdoc: Supramolecular and Peptide Chemistry, (2018), University of Texas at Austin - Austin, TX
  • Ph D: Polymer Chemistry, (2014), North Carolina State University - Raleigh, NC
    • Dissertation / Thesis Title: Synthesis, Characterization, and Applications of Helical Polycarbodiimide Homopolymers and Copolymers
  • BS: Chemistry, (2010), Virginia Tech - Blacksburg, VA
    • Supporting Area: Mathematics

Selected Publications

  • Hernandez, E.T., Escamilla, P.R., Kwon, S., Partridge, J., McVeigh, M., Rivera, S., Reuther, J., Anslyn, E.V. (2018). 2,2′-Bipyridine and hydrazide containing peptides for cyclization and complex quaternary structural control. New Journal of Chemistry, 42(11) 8577 - 8582.
  • Reuther, J., Goodrich, A.C., Escamilla, P.R., Lu, T.A., Rio, V.D., Davies, B.W., Anslyn, E.V. (2018). A Versatile Approach to Noncanonical, Dynamic Covalent Single- and Multi-Loop Peptide Macrocycles for Enhancing Antimicrobial Activity. Journal of the American Chemical Society, (10) 3768.
  • Reuther, J., Dahlhauser, S.D., Anslyn, E.V. (2018). Tunable Orthogonal Reversible Covalent (TORC) Bonds: Dynamic Chemical Control over Molecular Assembly. Angewandte Chemie International Edition.
  • Hernandez, E.T., Kolesnichenko, I.V., Reuther, J., Anslyn, E.V. (2017). An efficient methodology to introduce o-(aminomethyl)phenyl-boronic acids into peptides: alkylation of secondary amines. New Journal of Chemistry, 41(1) 126 - 133.
  • Reuther, J., Dees, J.L., Kolesnichenko, I.V., Hernandez, E.T., Ukraintsev, D.V., Guduru, R., Whiteley, M., Anslyn, E.V. (2017). Dynamic covalent chemistry enables formation of antimicrobial peptide quaternary assemblies in a completely abiotic manner. Nature Chemistry, 10(1) 45–50.
  • Mammoottil, N.R., Reuther, J., Siriwardane, D.A., Kulikov, O.V., Novak, B.M. (2017). Developments in synthesis, characterization, and self-assembly of polycarbodiimide systems. Journal of Polymer Science Part A: Polymer Chemistry, 55(18) 2915-2934.
  • Campos, R., Reuther, J., Mammoottil, N.R., Novak, B.M. (2017). Solid State Sensing of Nonpolar VOCs Using the Bistable Expansion and Contraction of Helical Polycarbodiimides. Macromolecules, 50(13) 4927-4934.
  • Sun, X., Reuther, J., Phillips, S.T., Anslyn, E.V. (2017). Coupling Activity-Based Detection, Target Amplification, Colorimetric and Fluorometric Signal Amplification, for Quantitative Chemosensing of Fluoride Generated from Nerve Agents. Chemistry - A European Journal, 23(16) 3903-3909.
  • Siriwardane, D.A., Kulikov, O., Reuther, J., Novak, B.M. (2017). Rigid, Helical Arm Stars through Living Nickel Polymerization of Carbodiimides. Macromolecules, 50(3) 832-840.
  • Kulikov, O.V., Siriwardane, D.A., Reuther, J., McCandless, G.T., Sun, H., Li, Y., Mahmood, S.F., Sheiko, S.S., Percec, V., Novak, B.M. (2015). Characterization of Fibrous Aggregated Morphologiesand Other Complex Architectures Self-Assembled from Helical Alkyneand Triazole Polycarbodiimides (R)- and (S)-Families in the Bulk and Thin Film. Macromolecules, 48(12) 4088 - 4103.
  • JamesF., R., Dumindika A., S., Oleg V., K., Benjamin L., B., Raymond, C., Bruce M., N. (2015). Facile Synthesis of Rod–Coil Block Copolymerswith Chiral, Helical Polycarbodiimide Segments via PostpolymerizationCuAAC “Click” Coupling of Functional End Groups. Macromolecules, 48(10) 3207 - 3216.
  • Reuther, J., Siriwardane, D.A., Campos, R., Novak, B.M. (2015). Solvent Tunable Self-Assembly of Amphiphilic Rod–Coil Block Copolymers with Chiral, Helical Polycarbodiimide Segments: Polymeric Nanostructures with Variable Shapes and Sizes. Macromolecules, 48(19) 6890-6899.
  • Bhatt M, P., Du, J., Rainbolt E, A., Pathiranage T M S, K, ., Huang, P., Reuther, J., Novak B, M., Biewer M, C., Stefan M, C. (2014). A semiconducting liquid crystalline block copolymer containing regioregular poly(3-hexylthiophene) and nematic poly(n-hexyl isocyanate) and its application in bulk heterojunction solar cells. Journal of Materials Chemistry A.
  • Merten, C., Reuther, J., DeSousa, J.D., Novak, B.M. (2014). Identification of the specific, shutter-like conformational reorientation in a chiroptical switching polycarbodiimide by VCD spectroscopy. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 16(23) 11456.
  • Reuther, J., Bhatt, M.P., Tian, G., Batchelor, B.L., Campos, R., Novak, B.M. (2014). Controlled Living Polymerization of Carbodiimides Using Versatile, Air-Stable Nickel(II) Initiators: Facile Incorporation of Helical, Rod-like Materials. Macromolecules, 47(14) 4587-4595.
  • Reuther, J., Novak, B.M. (2013). Evidence of Entropy-Driven Bistability through 15N NMR Analysis of a Temperature- and Solvent-Induced, Chiroptical Switching Polycarbodiimide. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 135(51) 19292-19303.
  • Budhathoki-Uprety, J., Reuther, J., Novak, B.M. (2012). Determining the Regioregularity in Alkyne Polycarbodiimides and Their Orthogonal Modification of Side Chains To Yield Perfectly Alternating Functional Polymers. Macromolecules, 45(20) 8155-8165.
  • Reuther, J., DeSousa, J.D., Novak, B.M. (2012). Direct Probing of Regioregularity for Polycarbodiimide Systems via 15N NMR Analysis. Macromolecules, 45(19) 7719-7728.

Selected Presentations

  • Versatile, Effective Formation of Biologically-Active Single-and Multi-Loop Peptide Macrocycles via Hydrazone Condensation - 253st ACS National Meeting, April 2017 - San Diego, CA
  • Versatile, Effective Formation of Biologically-Active Single- and Multi-Loop Peptide Macrocycles via Hydrazone Condensation, April 2017
  • Serendipitous Discovery of an Unlikely Polycarbodiimide Switch and Recent Applications to VOC Sensing - 251st ACS National Meeting, March 2016 - San Diego, CA
  • Serendipitous Discovery of an Unlikely Polycarbodiimide Switch and Recent Applications to VOC Sensing - 251st ACS National Meeting, March 2016 - San Diego, CA
  • Depolymerization Kinetics and Gas Capture of Polycarbodiimides - 249th ACS National Meeting, March 2015 - Denver, CO
  • Preparation of Helical Star Polymers Using Tris-Nickel Initiators - 249th ACS National Meeting, March 2015 - Denver, CO
  • TMAFM Inspection of the Fibrous Aggregated Morphologies and Other Complex Architectures Self-Assembled from Helical (R)- and (S)-triazole polycarbodiimides - 248th ACS National Meeting, August 2014 - San Francisco, CA
  • End-Functionalization of Chiral, Helical Polycarbodiimides: A Facile Route to Novel Rod-Coil Block Copolymers - 247th ACS National Meeting, March 2014 - Dallas, TX
  • Precise Synthesis and Characterization of Novel Rod-Coil Diblock Copolymers with Helical, Chiral Polycarbodiimide Segments - 247th ACS National Meeting, March 2014 - Dallas, TX
  • Synthesis and Structural Studies of the New (R)- and (S)- Polycarbodiimides Bearing Ethynyl Groups as Potential Functional Helical Polymers - 247th ACS National Meeting, March 2014 - Dallas, TX
  • Helical Molecular Switches: Identification of the Specific Molecular and Supramolecular Rearrangement in a Thermo- and Solvo-Driven Chiroptical Switching Polycarbodiimide - Excellence of Polymer Graduate Research Symposium; 247th ACS National Meeting, March 2014 - Dallas, TX
  • Utilizing VCD and 15N NMR Spectroscopy to Examine the Solvent and Temperature Controlled, Conformational Dependence of a Chiroptical Switching Polycarbodiimide - International Conference on Chiroptical Spectroscopy, June 2013 - Nashville, TN
  • Investigating the Reversible Chiroptical Switching Phenomenon in Polycarbodiimides Using 15N NMR and VCD Spectroscopy - 245th ACS National Meeting, April 2013 - New Orleans, LA
  • Investigation of the Chiroptical Switching Phenomenon via Direct 15N-Isotope Labeling of the Polycarbodiimide Backbone - Chirality Conference, June 2012 - Fort Worth, TX
  • Using 15N-NMR Spectroscopy to Directly Probe the Regioregularity and Chiroptical Switching Phenomenon in Polycarbodiimides - Southeast Regional Meeting of the ACS, October 2011 - Richmond, VA

Selected Intellectual Property

  • Patent - Reuther, J., Campos, R., Novak, B.M."Infrared (IR) Spectroscopy-Based Molecular Sensing Using the Chemo- and Thermo-Responsive Behavior of Polycarbodiimides," 62/116,439