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George John

Faculty and Staff Profiles

George John



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CDI 4.302
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George John is a Professor of Chemistry/Center for Discovery and Innovation, the City College of the City University of New York. He is recognized for his active research in the field of functional molecular materials from renewable resources and green nanotechnology. After obtaining his Ph.D. in Chemistry in 1993, he held research positions-in the Netherlands, Japan and USA before joining the City College of New York. The research in John’s laboratory is highly interdisciplinary and is focused on molecular design of synthetic lipids, membrane mimics, soft nanomaterials, green energy technologies and organic materials chemistry. His group has successfully developed environmentally benign antibacterial paints, polymer-coatings, molecular gel technologies, oil spill recovery materials, energy storage materials, vegetable oil thickening agents and transfat alternatives. He is the recipient of Senior Fulbright Scholar to India (2015), Tokyo University of Sciences (TUS) Award, Pfizer Visiting Professorship at IISc. (Bangalore) and Kerala Center award (NY). He is on the editorial team of three international journals. He holds more than a dozen patents on inventions related to value-added chemicals/surfactants from renewable resources and bioproducts.


Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Twente, The Netherlands (1994-1995)

Ph.D. Chemistry, NIIST Thiruvananthapuram (University of Kerala India) (1987-1992)

M.Sc. Chemistry, Mahatma Gandhi University, India (1983-1985)

B.Sc. Chemistry, University of Kerala, India (1980-1983)

Professional Experience

2012 -Present    Professor, Department of Chemistry, the City College of New York

2004 – 2012       Associate Professor of Chemistry, the City College of New York

2002 - 2004       Research faculty, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York

2001 - 2002       CREST fellow, Nanoarchitectonics Res. Center, AIST Tsukuba, Japan

1999 - 2000       NIMC fellow, AIST Tsukuba, Japan

1997 - 1998       Research scientist, JSBC Japan

1995 - 1997       STA fellow, AIST Hokkaido, Japan

1994 - 1995       Postdoctoral fellow, University of Twente, The Netherlands

1993 - 1994       Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of Calicut, India

Research Interests

John’s research is rooted in the idea that innovation can be inspired by nature to develop economical and green technologies for a sustainable future. The group has harnessed crop-based precursors such as sugars, fatty acids and plant lipids to design a unique set of multifunctional soft-materials including polymers, gels and green surfactants. His group has successfully developed environmentally benign antibacterial paints, polymer-coatings, molecular gel technologies, oil spill recovery materials, battery components and oil thickening agents. As soft materials research is highly interdisciplinary and collaborative, John’s lab encourages the blending of such diverse elements including organic synthesis, green chemistry, material chemistry, interfacial phenomena, colloid science, materials and chemical engineering and biomimetics.

  • Divya, K. P.; Miroshnikov, M.; Dutta, D.; Vemula, P. K.; Ajayan, P. M.; John, G.  In situ Synthesis of Metal Nanoparticles Embedded Hybrid Soft Nanomaterials, Accounts of Chemical Research, 2016, 00-000
  • Miroshnikov, M.; Divya, K. P.; Babu, G.; Meiyazhagan, A.; Arava, L. M. R.; Ajayan, P. M.  John, G. Power from nature: designing green battery materials from electroactive quinone derivatives and organic polymers, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2016, Advance Article, DOI: 10.1039/C6TA03166H.
  • Silverman, J. R. Samateh, M.; John, G. Functional Self-Assembled Lipidic Systems Derived from Renewable Resources, Eur. J. Lipid Sci. Technol. 2016, 118, 47–55. Invited Review. Cover Page feature
  • Gupta, D.; Sarker, B.; Thadikaran, K.; John, V.; Maldarelli, C.; John, G. Sacrificial Amphiphiles: Eco-friendly Chemical Herders as Oil Spill Mitigation Chemicals, Science Advances, 2015, 1, e1400265.
  • Bhadani, A.; Rane, J.; Veresmortean, C.; Banerjee, S.; John, G. Bio-Inspired Surfactants Capable of Generating Plant Volatiles, Soft Matter, 2015, 11, 3076 – 3082.
  • Hwang, H.; Jadhav, S. R.; Silverman, J.; John, G. ‘Sweet and Sustainable: Teaching the Biorefinery Concept through Biobased Gelator Synthesis,’ J. Chem. Educ., 2014, 91, 1563–1568. Cover Page feature
  • Vemula, P. K.; Kohler, J. E.; Blass, A.; Williams, M.; Xu, C.; Chen, L.; Jadhav, S. R.; John, G. Soybel, D. I.; Karp, J. M. ‘Self-assembled hydrogel fibers for sensing the multi-compartment intracellular milieu’ Scientific Reports (Nature) 2014, 4, 4466.
  • Faure, L.; Nagarajan, S.; Hwang, H.; Montgomery, C. L.; Khan, B. R.; John, G.; Koulen, P.; Blancaflor, E. B.; Chapman, K. D. Synthesis of Phenoxyacyl-Ethanolamides and Their Effects on Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase Activity, J. Biol. Chem, 2014, 289, (13): 9340-51.
  • Silverman, J.R.; John, G. Jung, J-H. Co-ordination gels in biology and in environmental applications, Chem. Soc. Rev., 2013, 42(3): 924-936.
  • Vijai Shankar, B.; Jadhav. S. R.; Vemula, P. K; John. G. Recent Advances in Cardanol Chemistry in a Nutshell: From a Nut to Nanomaterials, Chem. Soc. Rev., 2013, 42 (2), 427 - 438 (Invited). Cover Page feature
  • Reddy, A. L.M.; Chumyim, P.; Jadhav, S. R.; John, G.; Ajayan, P. M. Lithium storage mechanisms in purpurin based organic lithium ion battery electrodes, Scientific Reports (Nature) 2012, 2, 960-964. 
  • John, G.; Jadhav, S.R.; Menon, V. M.; John, V.T, Flexible Optics: Recent Developments in Molecular Gels, Angewandte Chemie. Int. Ed. 2012, 51, 1760 –1762. Invited Highlights.
  • Jadhav, S. R.; Chiou, B-S.; Wood, D. F.; Glenn, G. M.; John, G. Molecule gels-based controlled release devices for pheromone, Soft Matter, 2011, 7, 864-867. Cover Page feature
  • Lee, H.; Kang, S., Lee, J. Y.; John, G.; Jung, J.H. Pyridine-based coordination polymeric hydrogel with Cu2+ ion and its encapsulation of a hydrophobic molecule, Chemical Communications 2011, 47, 2937-2939.
  • Shankar, B. V.; Jadhav, S. R.; Pradhan, P.; De Carlo, S.; John, G. Adhesive vesicles through adaptive response of a biobased surfactant, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2010, 49, 9509-9512. Cover Page feature.
  • Jadhav, S. R; Vemula, P. K.; Kumar, R.; Raghavan, S.; John, G. Sugar-derived phase-selective molecular gelators as model solidifiers for oil spills, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2010, 49, 7695-7698, Cover Page feature.
  • John, G., Vijai Shankar, B., Jadhav. S. R., Vemula, P. K. Biorefinery – A Design Tool for Molecular Gelators, Langmuir 2010, 26(23), 17843–17851, INVITED feature article, Cover Page feature.
  • Jadhav, S. R., Jyothish, K., John, G. Vegetable oil derived chemodosimeter for the selective detection of Hg2+ in aqueous media: A potential green laboratory method, Green Chem. 2010, 12, 1345-1348. Cover Page feature.
  • Jyothish, K., Vemula, P. K., Jadhav, S. R., Francesconi, L. C. John, G. Self-standing, metal nanoparticle embedded transparent films from multi-armed cardanol conjugates through in situ synthesis. Chemical Communications 2009, 5368-5370. Cover Page feature.
  • Vemula P., Cruikshank, G., Karp, J. M., John. G. Self-Assembled Acetaminophen Prodrugs: A New Enzymatically Triggered Drug-Delivery Platform, Biomaterials 2009, 30, 383-393.
  • Goyal, A., Kumar, A., Patra, P. K., Mahendra, S., Tabatabaei, S., Alvarez, P. J., John, G., Ajayan, P. M. In situ Synthesis of Metal Nanoparticle Embedded Free Standing Multifunctional PDMS Films, Macromol. Rapid Commun. 2009, 30, 1116–1122.
  • Kumar, A., Vemula, P., Ajayan, P. M., John, G. Silver Nanoparticles Embedded Anti-microbial Paints Based on Vegetable Oil. Nature Materials 2008, 7, 236-241. 
  • Vemula, P., John. G.  Crops: A Green Approach toward Self-Assembled Soft Materials. Accounts of Chemical Research 2008, 41, 769-782. Invited.
  • Vemula, P., Douglas, K., Achong, C., Kumar, A., Ajayan, P., John. G. Autoxidation Induced Metal Nanoparticles Synthesis in Biobased Polymeric Systems: A Sustainable Approach in Hybrid Materials Development. J. Biobased Materials and Bioenergy 2008, 2, 218-222. Cover Page feature.
  • Vemula, P. K., Mallia, V., Bizati, K., John, G. Cholesterol Phenoxy Hexanoate Mesogens: Effect of meta Substituents on Their Liquid Crystalline Behavior and In Situ Metal Nanoparticle Synthesis. Chemistry of Materials 2007, 19, 5203-5206.
  • Ajay Mallia, V., Vemula, P., John, G, Kumar, A., Ajayan, P. M. In Situ Synthesis and Assembly of Gold Nanoparticles Embedded Glass Forming Liquid Crystals. Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2007, 46, 3269-3274 (2007).
  • Vemula, P., Aslam, U., Mallia, A., John, G. In Situ Synthesis of Gold Nanoparticles Using Molecular Gels and Liquid Crystals from Vitamin-C Amphiphiles. Chemistry of Materials 2007, 19, 138-140.
  • Kumar, A., Murugesan, S., Pushparaj, V., Soldano, C., Xie, J., John, G., Nalamasu, O., Linhardt, R. J., Ajayan, P. Ionic liquid induced formation of conducting organic nanotubes-new hybrid materials for device applications. Small 2007, 3, 429-433.
  • John, G., Vemula, P. Design and Development of soft nanomaterials from biobased amphiphiles. Soft Matter 2006, 2, 909-914. Front cover page feature. Best Cover of the Year Award.
  • Vemula, P., John, G. ‘Smart Amphiphiles: Hydro/Organogelators for In Situ Reduction of Gold’ Chemical Communications 2006, 2218-2220. Cover Page feature.
  • Vemula, P., Li, J, John, G. Enzyme Catalysis: Tool to Make and Break Amygdalin Hydrogelators from Renewable Resources - A Delivery Model for Hydrophobic Drugs. Journal of American Chemical Society 2006, 128, 8932-8938. Highlighted in Green Chem. 8, 675 (2006).
  • John, G., Zhu, G., Li, J., Dordick J. S. Enzymatically-Derived Sugar Containing Self-Assembled Organogels with Nanostructured Morphologies. Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2006, 45, 4772-4775. Cover page feature. Angewandte Chemie 2006, 118, 4890-4893. Cover Page feature.
  • Zhu, H., John, G., Wei, B. Synthesis of Assembled Copper Nanoparticles from Copper-Chelating Glycolipid Nanotubes. Chemical Physics Letters 2005, 405, 49.
  • Dordick, J. S., Zhu, G. Y., John, G., Li, J. Biocatalytically-enabled assembly of functional and responsive carbohydrate-based nanostructures. Journal of Biotechnology 2005, 118, S89.
  • Yui, H., Guo, Y., Koyama, K., Sawada, T. John, G., Yang, B., Masuda, M., Shimizu, T. Local Environment and Property of Water inside the Hollow Cylinder of a Lipid Nanotube. Langmuir 2005, 21, 721-727.
  • John, G., Mason, M, Ajayan, P. M. and Dordick, J. S. Lipid-Based Nanotubes as Functional Architectures with Embedded Fluorescence and Recognition Capabilities. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2005, 126, 15012.
  • John, G., Masuda, M., Jung, J. H., Yoshida, K., Shimizu, T. Unsaturation Influenced Gelation of Aryl Glycolipids. Langmuir 2004, 20, 2060-2065. 
Additional Information

Selected Awards/Honors:

  • 2015 - Senior Fulbright Scholar Award to India
  • 2015 - Visiting Professor, Max Plank Institute for Colloids and Interfaces, Potsdam, Germany
  • 2014 - Tokyo University of Science (TUS) President Award and Visiting Professor, Tokyo, Japan
  • 2014 - Pfizer Visiting Professorship, Indian Institute of Science (IISc. Bangalore), India
  • 2014 - Visiting Faculty, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Princeton University
  • 2010 - RSC International Author Travel Award, UK
  • 2010 - Distinguished Scientist Visitor and Lecture Tour at Ben-Gurion University, Israel
  • 2010 - Second Best Poster Award at the Cosmetic Society of New York, NY
  • 2009 - Kerala Center Award, NY
  • 2007 - Noritake Materials Chemistry (faculty development) Award, Japan
  • 2007 - Royal Society of Chemistry - Best Cover Page of the Year Award (Soft Matter)
  • 2001 - Japan Science and Technology (CREST) Fellowship, Japan
  • 1995 - STA Fellowship by Japan JISTEC, Govt. of Japan
  • 1987 - Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Fellowship by Govt. of India
  • 1986 – University Grant Commission (UGC) Fellowship by Govt. of India

Invited Talks (selected): (Total>170)

  • Invited talk, Maxplank Institute for Colloids and Interfaces, Potsdam-Golm, Germany, 6/2015
  • Invited talk, ACS National Meeting, Denver, USA, 3/2015
  • Keynote Speaker, Int. Symp. on Functional Fibrous Materials, Jiangnan University in Wuxi, China, 12/2014
  • Keynote Speaker, for AOCS-OTAI International Conference, India, 8/2013
  • Keynote Speaker, AOCS National Meeting, Montreal, Canada, 4/2013 (Organizer & Session Chair)
  • Keynote Speaker, Avant Symposium, Ashland Inc. Paris, France, 4/2013
  • Plenary Speaker, 2nd Argentinean Workshop in Environmental Science, Rosario, 5/2012
  • Keynote Speaker, NYSCC 2011 (Cosmetic Society of New York), NJ, 11/2011.
  • Keynote Speaker, ACS Colloid Conference, Montreal, 6/2011.
  • Plenary Speaker, BioEnvironmental Polymer Society Meeting Chicago, 6/2009.
  • Plenary Speaker, Leatherhead Food International, Food Conference, 6/2009.

Newsworthy Research Featured in Journals, Magazines and other Media (selected): Discovery News, New York Times, Scientific American, Newsweek, Nature, Science, Nature Materials, Nature Nanotech., Nature Chemistry. C&EN, New Scientist (UK).

  • Biodegradable Chemical Could Be Greener Option for Oil Spill Cleanup (AAAS), C&EN etc.
  • Sugar Derivative Solidifies Oil (C&EN):
  • “New Materials Turns Oil from Liquid to Solid: The soap like molecule could help clean up after oil spills”   Discovery News, Nature Materials/Chemistry, C&EN and MSNBC.
  • CCNY Chemist Design Molecule that Respond to Stimuli” Science Magazine, 11/2010.
  • Nanofibers Deliver Drug to Exact Spot” The NewScientist, ‘this week’ 01/2009.
  • “Harnessing Biology, and Avoiding Oil, for Chemical Goods” New York Times, 04/2008.
  • “Nanoparticles help paint resist germs” Materials Today, 02/2008.
  • “Smart Gel-O” Newsweek, 02/2006.
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