Matthew J. Harrington


CRC tier 2 in Green Chemistry
Co-Director of McGill Institute for Advance Materials (MIAM)
B.A. (University of Delaware, 2002)
Ph.D. (University of California, Santa Barbara, 2008)
Postdoctoral Fellow (Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, 2008-2010)
Alexander von Humboldt Fellowships for Postdoctoral Researchers
Research Group Leader (Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, 2010-2017)
Associate Faculty Member of the International Max Planck Research School on Multi-scale Biosystems (Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, 2016-2017)

Contact Information

Office: Pulp & Paper 106
Phone: (514) 398-3180
Email: matt.harrington [at]
Group Website:

Research Themes:

  • Chemical Biology
  • Materials Chemistry

Research Interests

Green Materials Fabrication Inspired by Nature

Living organisms rapidly fabricate a range of high performance biopolymeric materials such as silk and mussel byssus from biomolecular building blocks (e.g. proteins) via bottom-up assembly processes. Our group is fascinated by how characteristic chemical features of these building blocks and their multi-scale structural organization determine the emergent properties of biogenic materials and by the processes by which these materials are fabricated. Moreover, we are interested in adapting and translating the extracted natural design principles for production of new synthetic materials exhibiting complex multi-scale structure and advanced material properties (e.g. self-healing, stimuli-responsive behavior).

Thus, our main research goals are to:

  1. Elucidate biogenic structure-function relationships and bio-fabrication processes.
  2. Adapt natural design principles for development of advanced bio-inspired materials.

To achieve these goals, our group utilizes a cross-disciplinary strategy comprised of approaches in materials science, biochemistry, molecular biology and polymer science. In particular, we aim to couple advanced materials characterization techniques (e.g. confocal Raman microspectroscopy and X-ray diffraction) with in situ mechanical testing and bio-fabrication investigations in order to connect the multi-scale structural organization and chemistry of protein building blocks with the bulk material properties. 

Currently Teaching

CHEM 334 Advanced Materials 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

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