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Stefanie Sydlik - Carnegie Mellon University. Pittsburgh, PA, US

Stefanie Sydlik

Associate Professor | Carnegie Mellon University


Stefanie Sydlik's research interests include polymer science, materials chemistry, biomaterials and sustainable materials.


Stefanie Sydlik's research interests include polymer science, materials chemistry, biomaterials and sustainable materials. The Sydlik group synthesizes novel polymers and materials via the principles of molecular design. Drawing on her diverse background in materials, the Sydlik group is uniquely situated at the interface of chemistry, biomedical engineering and materials science. Some sample research areas from the group include: 1) transforming graphene oxide into a cell-instructive, biodegradable scaffold for bone regeneration; 2) creating sustainable, degradable composite materials with recycled plastics; and 3) addressing the public health crisis of lead by developing materials to limit and remediate exposure.

Areas of Expertise (8)

Materials Chemistry

Polymer Science



Stem Cells

Electronic Materials

Tissue Regeneration

Cell-Instructive Material

Media Appearances (3)

Stefanie Sydlik Named a 2022 Moore Inventor Fellow

Carnegie Mellon University  online


"We take a natural biopolymer and create a chemical bond to a small chelator molecule which creates a large, biomimetic chelator," said Sydlik, a 2007 graduate of CMU's Mellon College of Science(opens in new window). "By doing so, we're able to disguise the toxicity of the chelators and allow the metal to be removed from the body more safely."

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Young scientists reshaping our world

Innovators Magazine  online


Stefanie Sydlik (Carnegie Mellon University, USA, American): Sydlik designs new materials that stimulate the body’s healing response to enable the regeneration of natural bone as an alternative to metal implants currently used to heal bone injuries.

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Researchers investigate new biomaterial for orthopedics

The Tartan  online


Stefanie A. Sydlik, a Carnegie Mellon alumnus, spoke last Tuesday as part of a seminar series hosted by the biomedical engineering department at Carnegie Mellon University. In front of a packed audience in a classroom in Doherty Hall, Sydlik discussed her extensive research in polymer science, materials chemistry, biomaterials, and electronic materials. During her presentation, she also introduced a biomaterial that may hold the key to creating new orthopedic materials, implants and devices that could help advance the field of orthopedics.

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Industry Expertise (1)


Accomplishments (5)

PMSE Young Investigators Award (professional)


Ruth L. Kirschstein NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship (professional)


ACS Excellence in Graduate Polymer Research, MIT Chemistry Nominee (professional)


NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (professional)


MIT Department of Chemistry Award for Outstanding Teaching (professional)


Education (2)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Ph.D., Organic Chemistry 2012

Carnegie Mellon University: B.S., Chemistry and Polymer Science with a minor in Engineering Studies 2007

Articles (5)

Environmental and health impacts of functional graphenic materials and their ultrasonically altered products


2023 Graphenic materials have excited the scientific community due to their exciting mechanical, thermal, and optoelectronic properties for a potential range of applications. Graphene and graphene derivatives have demonstrated application in areas stretching from composites to medicine; however, the environmental and health impacts of these materials have not been sufficiently characterized. Graphene oxide (GO) is one of the most widely used graphenic derivatives due to a relatively easy and scalable synthesis, and the ability to tailor the oxygen containing functional groups through further chemical modification. In this paper, ecological and health impacts of fresh and ultrasonically altered functional graphenic materials (FGMs) were investigated.

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Regeneratable Graphene-Based Water Filters for Heavy Metal Removal at Home

ACS ES&T Water

2023 At-home water filters for drinking water are used by over 100 million Americans. These filters are successful at removing heavy metals from drinking water; however, when heavy metals are present, filters can reach saturation quickly. This currently requires a full filter replacement; treating and regenerating (re-activating) the filter are not currently recommended by filter manufacturers. Here, we present a sustainable graphene-based water filter that can be regenerated by treatment with hot (80 °C) water or vinegar (mild acid). The filter has multiple desirable properties for heavy metal adsorption, including high surface area, conjugation, and oxygen-containing functional groups. This regeneratable filtration technology removes 3- to 65-fold more heavy metals (lead, cadmium, and mercury) from tap water than activated charcoal. Further, the filter can undergo a simple regeneration treatment, allowing for up to 3 cycles of reuse before metal breakthrough occurs. Due to the decreased frequency of filter replacement compared to current technologies, this graphene-based water filter could seamlessly integrate into existing at-home water filtration technologies, providing a more sustainable filter option.

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Hyaluronic acid-based antibacterial hydrogels for use as wound dressings

ACS Applied Bio Materials

2022 Wound dressings have been shifting toward a more active role in the wound-healing process. Hydrated environments with additives to aid in the healing process are currently being explored through the application of hydrocolloid dressings. However, these moist healing environments are also ideal for bacterial growth, leading to the widespread use of antibiotics with concerns of antibiotic resistance and toxicity. To overcome this concern, we present a hydrogel wound dressing consisting of hyaluronic acid (HA) cross-linked with gentamicin. This hydrogel treats bacterial infection locally, lowering the effective dose and reducing the concerns of antibiotic resistance and systemic exposure. Changing the cross-linking density, by using varied amounts of a cross-linker, created gels that provided a sustained release of gentamicin for up to 9 days with a range of adhesive and cohesive properties.

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Electrochemical Performance of N-Doped Carbon-Based Electrodes for Supercapacitors

ACS Applied Electronic Materials

2022 Capacitors are a ubiquitous component of many modern-day electronics that provide remote sensing, power conditioning, electrical noise filtering, signaling coupling or decoupling, and short-term memory storage. With the desire for flexible, smaller, and more powerful electronics, capacitors and other electrical components will have to be improved to meet these growing demands. Carbon-derived materials are good candidates for use as electrodes in electrochemical capacitors (i.e., supercapacitors) because of their nanoscale and flexible architecture. However, implementations of these materials tend to have inferior specific capacitance and energy density compared with other options.

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Ultra-low binder content 3D printed calcium phosphate graphene scaffolds as resorbable, osteoinductive matrices that support bone formation in vivo

Scientific Reports

2022 Bone regenerative engineering could replace autografts; however, no synthetic material fulfills all design criteria. Nanocarbons incorporated into three-dimensional printed (3DP) matrices can improve properties, but incorporation is constrained to low wt%. Further, unmodified nanocarbons have limited osteogenic potential. Functionalization to calcium phosphate graphene (CaPG) imparts osteoinductivity and osteoconductivity, but loading into matrices remained limited. This work presents ultra-high content (90%), 3DP-CaPG matrices. 3DP-CaPG matrices are highly porous (95%), moderately stiff (3 MPa), and mechanically robust. In vitro, they are cytocompatible and induce osteogenic differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs), indicated by alkaline phosphatase, mineralization, and COL1α1 expression.

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