Chris Bowman
Distinguished Professor • Clinical Professor of Restorative Dentistry • Co-Director of the NSF I/UCRC for Fundamentals and Applications and Photopolymerizations • James M & Catherine Patten Chair in Chemical Engineering
Chemical and Biological Engineering • Materials Science and Engineering Program

Office: JSCBB C121
Mailbox: 596 UCB



B.S., Purdue University (1988)
Ph.D., Purdue University (1991)


  • National Academy of Engineering, 2021
  • Fellow, National Academy of Medicine, 2018
  • ACS Roy W. Tess Award in Coatings, 2018
  • Mark Scholar Award, American Chemical Society, Division of Polymer Chemistry, 2017
  • Fellow, National Academy of Inventors, 2017
  • Plenary Lecture, American Chemical Society National Meeting, Divisions of Polymer Chemistry and Polymeric Materials Science and Engineering, Joint Symposium Plenary Lecture, 2016
  • International Association for Dental Research Peyton-Skinner Award for Innovation in Dental Materials, 2015
  • Named Distinguished Professor of the University of Colorado by CU Board of Regents, 2012
  • American Institute of Chemical Engineering Professional Progress Award for Outstanding Progress in Chemical Engineering, 2011
  • Colorado Bioscience Discovery Evaluation Grant Program, 2011
  • American Institute of Chemical Engineering Charles M.A. Stine Award, 2009
  • Residence Academic Life Teaching Award, Committee on Learning and Academic Support Services, University of Colorado, 2008
  • American Chemical Society, Division of Polymeric Materials Science and Engineering Cooperative Research Award, 2007
  • American Institute of Chemical Engineers R.H. Wilhem Award, 2006
  • University of Colorado Faculty Fellowship, 2005-06
  • Clemson University Award for Contributions to the Literature, 2005
  • College of Engineering Max S. Peters Outstanding Service Award, 2004
  • University of Colorado Technology Transfer Office Physical Sciences Inventor of the Year, 2003
  • College of Engineering, John and Mercedes Peebles Teaching Innovation Award, 2002
  • Boulder, Faculty Assembly Award for Excellence in Research, Scholarly, and Creative Work, 2002
  • Department of Chemical Engineering Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award, 2002
  • AIChE Allan P. Colburn Award (2001)
  • American Society of Engineering Education Curtis W. McGraw Award (2000)
  • Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow (1998)
  • Materials Research Society Outstanding Young Investigator Award (1997)
  • Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (1996)

Selected Publications

  • C. Wang, T. Goldman, BT. Worrell, MK. McBride, MD. Alim, C.N. Bowman, "Recyclable and Repolymerizable Thiol-X Photopolymers" Materials Horizons, 5, 1042-1046 (2018). DOI: 10.1039/c8mh00724a
  • S. Mavila, B. Worrell, H. Culver, T. Goldman, C. Wang, CH. Lim, D. Domaille, S. Pattanayak, MK. McBride, CB. Musgrave, C.N. Bowman, "Dynamic and Responsive DNA-like Polymers" Journal of the American Chemical Society, 140, 13594-13598 (2018). DOI: 10.1021/jacs.8b09105
  • M. McBride, A. Martinez, L. Cox, M. Alim, K. Childress, M. Beiswinger M. Podgorski, B. Worrell, J. Killgore, C.N. Bowman, “A Readily Programmable, Fully Reversible Shap-Switching Materail” Science Advances, 4, eaat4634 (2018). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aat4634
  • B. Worrell, M. McBride, G. Lyon, L. Cox, C. Wang, S. Mavila, CH. Lim, H. Coley, C. Musgrave, Y. Ding, C.N. Bowman, “Bistable and photoswitchable states of matter” Nature Communications, 9, 3204 (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-05300-7
  • H. Byul Song, A. Baranek, B.T. Worrell, W.D. Cook, C.N. Bowman, “Photopolymerized Triazole‐Based Glassy Polymer Networks with Superior Tensile Toughness,” Advanced Functional Materials, 28, 1801095 (2018). DOI:  10.1002/adfm.201801095
  • W. Xi, S.K. Pattanayak, C. Wang, B.D. Fairbanks, T. Gong, J. Wagner, C.J. Kloxin, and C.N. Bowman, “Clickable Nucleic Acids: Sequence Controlled Periodic Copolymer/Oligomer Synthesis by Orthogonal thiol-X Reactions,” Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 54, 14462-14467 (2015). (Front Cover Taken from This Article)
  • C.E. Hoyle and C.N. Bowman, “Thiol-Ene Click Chemistry,” Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 49, 1540-1573 (2010).
  • T.F. Scott, B.A. Kowalski, A.C. Sullivan, C.N. Bowman, R.R. McLeod, “Two-color Single-photon Photoinitiation and Photoinhibition for Subdiffraction Photolithography,” Science, 324, 913-917 (2009).
  • H.D. Sikes, R.R. Hansen, L.M. Johnson, R. Jenison, J.W. Birks, K.L. Rowlen, and C.N. Bowman, “Using Polymeric Materials to Generate an Amplified Response to Molecular Recognition Events,” Nature Materials, 7, 52-56 (2008).
  • T.A. Scott, A. Schneider, W.D. Cook and C.N. Bowman, “Photoinduced Plasticity in Crosslinked Network,” Science 308, 1615-1617 (2005).
  • C.A. Guymon, E.N. Hoggan, T.P. Rieker, N.A. Clark, D.M. Walba, and C.N. Bowman, “Effects of Monomer Structure on Their Organization and Polymerization in a Smectic Liquid Crystal,” Science, 275, 57-59 (1997).

Research Interests

Photopolymerizations, Polymerization Reaction Engineering, Highly Cross linked Polymers, Dental Materials, Nanotechnology
Our general research thrust is the investigation of the formation, structure and properties of cross linked polymeric materials, particularly those formed from photopolymerization reactions. Specifically, our group is focusing on developing new materials and photopolymerization mechanisms for a variety of applications including biomaterials, microfluidic devices, dental restorations, liquid crystal displays, nanotechnology, and high technology. These interests are investigated by incorporating a mixture of polymerization reaction engineering, monomer and polymer synthesis, and experimental characterization.

Photopolymerization Reactions: The primary focus of our research effort involves the development, application, and understanding of photopolymerizations. We are currently utilizing a multifaceted approach to characterize the underlying mechanisms of the polymerization and the polymer structural evolution while also developing improved systems for a wide range of applications. The first approach involves experimental characterization and modeling of the polymerization kinetics and the cross linked polymer structural evolution. A second emphasis is the development of new monomers. In this effort we are designing, synthesizing and evaluating numerous monomer structures to obtain the most rapidly polymerizing system that forms a polymer with ideal properties. Lastly, we are developing new types of photopolymerizations, including both living radical polymerizations and thiol-ene polymerizations. These polymerizations are developed with the goal of leading to new applications and novel material architectures.

Polymers for Micro- and Nanotechnology: Our thrusts in the areas of micro- and nanotechnology are threefold. First, we are attempting to develop polymer – liquid crystal composites with controlled polymer nanostructures. To date, we have successfully created a three-dimensional polymer architecture that involves approximately 3 Å sheets of polymer separating 30 Å thick sheets of liquid crystal. These systems form materials for liquid crystal displays that have improved optical and mechanical properties relative to their non-polymer stabilized counterparts. Secondly, we are designing improved microfluidic devices that utilize living radical photopolymerizations to form unique, three-dimensional constructs. These devices, or labs-on-a-chip, are then used to detect diseases or chemical compounds. Finally, our micro- and nanotechnology efforts also focus on developing techniques for producing nanometer size patterns on surfaces. These capabilities will enable higher resolution patterning for micro- and nanolithography, including, for example, higher resolution semiconductor production.

Biomaterials Development: A focus of our group has been the development of new materials for various biological systems. In this area we are attempting to produce materials with controlled properties and controllable interactions to improve biocompatibility and functional performance. A thrust of our efforts in this area is in the development of novel dental restorative materials. The proposed materials, based on our improved understanding of the monomer structure – polymer formation – polymer property relationships in photopolymerizations, are targeted to polymerize more rapidly and form a material with improved properties. Additionally, we have developed techniques for utilizing our thiol-ene and living radical photopolymerizations to produce materials that facilitate improved control of material properties and polymer surfaces, respectively, in biomaterials.