Contact Information

Office: NHB: 5.136A
Phone: 512-232-3839


Office: NHB: 5.320/5.310

Christopher W. Bielawski

Professor, Faculty

Research Group

Bielawski Research Group


PhD, California Institute of Technology, 2003
BS, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1997
Postdoctoral Studies, California Institute of Technology (2004)


Journal of Polymer Science Innovation Award, 2012

Texas Blazers Faculty Excellence Award, 2011

Defense Science Study Group (DSSG), 2011

IUPAC-Samsung Young Polymer Scientist Award, 2010

Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, 2009
IUPAC Young Observer Fellowship, 2009
J. Phys. Org. Chem. Award for Early Excellence in Physical Organic Chemistry, 2009
Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, 2008
College of Natural Sciences Teaching Excellence Award, 2008
Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, 2008
3M Nontenured Faculty Award, 2008
Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, 2008
Research Corporation Cottrell Scholar Award, 2007
DuPont Young Professor Award, 2007
Beckman Foundation Young Investigator Award, 2007
National Science Foundation CAREER Award, 2007
National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2003
Unilever Award for Outstanding Graduate Research in Polymer Chemistry, 2003
Dow Innovation Recognition Award, 2001
ACS Division of Organic Chemistry Graduate Fellowship, 2000
National Science Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship, 1997
American Institute of Chemists Award, 1997
Marvel Research Award for Best Senior Thesis, 1997
Pfizer Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, 1996


Center for Nano- and Molecular Science and Technology; Center for Electrochemistry; Texas Materials Institute

Organic & Organometallic Materials, Polymer Chemistry and Catalysis

We are broadly interested in synthesizing, studying, and applying unique organic and organometallic polymeric materials. Often this requires the discovery and development of new fundamental reactions. As such, our research is highly multidisciplinary: students are educated in a wide range of different chemistries and exposed to a variety of techniques. Brief summations of current projects are listed below: A Modular Approach to Conjugated Organic and Organometallic Polymers: We have recently discovered that difunctional N-heterocyclic carbenes and their presursors are versatile and useful building blocks in the construction of conjugated polymeric materials: they can be homopolymerized or copolymerized with electrophiles including various transition metals to form the respective organic and organometallic polymers. We are currently exploring their use in electronic devices, as new drug delivery systems, and as the foundation for self-healing materials.

Reaction Development: “Clicking" Together Carbenes and Azides: Click chemistry - where a spontaneous reaction between complementary partners is used to rapidly construct molecular complexity - has found utility in a multitude of medicinal, biological, materials, and pharmaceutical applications. In an effort to help expand this powerful synthetic repertoire, we have discovered that N-heterocyclic carbenes react rapidly and quantitatively with azides to form triazenes. We believe this reaction has great potential in the synthesis of valuable nitrogen-rich substrates such as aziridines and guanidines and in electroactive azo polymers.

Metal-Mediated Synthesis of Functionalized Polyolefins: Securing the next generation of high-performance polymers is limited by incompatibilities of contemporary polymerization techniques with polar functional groups. We are developing a new series of metal catalysts to prepare well-defined and densely functionalized polyolefins.


Representative Publications

Dreyer, D. R.; Bielawski, C. W. "Carbocatalysis: Heterogeneous Carbons Finding Utility In Synthetic Chemistry" Chem. Sci. 2011, 2, 1233-1240.


Wu, Z.-Q.; Ono, R. J.; Chen, Z.; Bielawski, C. W. "Synthesis of Poly(3-alkylthiophene)-block-poly(arylisocyanide): Two Sequential, Mechanistically Distinct Polymerizations Using a Single Catalyst" J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2010, 132, 14000-14001.


, T. W.; Moerdyk, J. P.; Bielawski, C. W. "Ammonia N–H Activation By a N,N'-diamidocarbene" Hudnall Chem. Commun. 2010, 46, 4288-4290.


Tennyson, A. G.; Norris, B. C.; Bielawski, C. W. "Structurally Dynamic Conjugated Polymers" Macromolecules 2010, 43, 6923-6935.


Wiggins, K. M.; Hudnall, T. W.; Shen, Q.; Kryger, M. J.; Moore, J. S.; Bielawski, C. W. "Mechanical Reconfiguration of Stereoisomers" J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2010, 132, 3256-3257.