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Welcome to the Gillies Research Group

Our group is part of the Department of Chemistry, Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, and the School of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Western Ontario

E.R Gillies

Dr. Elizabeth. R Gillies

BSc, Queen’s University, 2000
PhD, University of California, Berkeley, 2004
Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Bordeaux, France (2004-2006)
Dr. Gillies leads a research program in smart materials and biomaterials spanning from fundamental discoveries to applications with a focus on polymer chemistry and the design and synthesis of materials with new properties and functions. She is collaborating with other research groups to explore applications of her materials in drug delivery, regenerative medicine, and agriculture.
  • NSERC E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship, 2017
  • Florence Bucke Prize in Science, 2017
  • Fallona Interdisciplinary Science Award, 2016
  • Faculty Scholar, Western University, 2016-2018
  • Petro Canada Young Innovator Award, Western University, 2012
  • Early Researcher Award, Government of Ontario, 2008-2013
  • Tier 2 Canada Research Chair, Government of Canada, 2006-2016
  • John Charles Polanyi Prize, Government of Ontario, 2006

Research Focus

I. Functional Biodegradable Polymers

Biodegradable polymers are of increasing interest for a wide range of applications including tissue engineering, drug delivery, and medical devices. We have been developing biodegradable polymers that degrade by novel mechanisms, potentially allowing for unprecedented control over the degradation rate and for the triggering of polymer degradation under specified conditions. For example, we are developing new "self-immolative" polymer backbones, which depolymerize by an end-to-end mechanism upon the cleavage of a stimuli-responsive end-cap from the polymer terminus. We are studying their depolymerization and exploring their potential for various applications.
We are also developing poly(ester amide)s and using them to prepare drug delivery vehicles and tissue engineering scaffolds.

II. Macromolecular Assemblies as Biomaterials

Recent developments in controlled polymer synthesis, and the imaging of polymeric assemblies provide access to a wide variety of systems ranging from hydrogels to micelles, worms, vesicles, and nanoparticles. The properties of these systems can be controlled by the structures of the constituting polymers, and the conditions under which they are assembled. The potential applications of polymeric assemblies in biology and medicine are very diverse ranging from the delivery of small molecules, proteins, and DNA in vivo, to their use as scaffolds for tissue engineering.
To realize the potential for polymeric assemblies in medical applications, significant progress is still required to control their behaviour, particularly in vivo under biological conditions. Here we are focusing on preparing new functional and biodegradable polymers, and using these to make polymer assemblies with controlled biological behaviour. In addition, we are working on functionalizing polymer assemblies with specific chemical units, either to control their localization in the body or to impart specific biological properties. Assemblies of self-immolative and other stimuli-responsive assemblies allow us to trigger the assembly and disassembly of these materials in a controlled manner.

III. Links To Works



Positions in the group

Contact Beth to hear more info about the research in our group
Masters and PhD Positions:
Please feel free to contact Beth if you are interested in joining the group. Admissions to the graduate program in Chemistry or Chemical and Biochemical Engineering at Western are handled by the admission’s committee. Detailed information on admissions requirements is available on the departmental websites at http://apply.chem.uwo.ca/ for chemistry or http://www.eng.uwo.ca/chemical/prospect-grad.htm for chemical engineering
Postdoctoral Positions:
Interested applicants should send a copy of their current CV via either e-mail or regular mail


  • Dr. Amir Rabiee Kenaree

  • Charmainne Cruje (PhD student, jointly supervised with M. Drangova)
  • Trent Gordon (MESc student)
  • Quinton Sirianni (PhD student)
  • Jue Gong (PhD student)
  • Siamak Keshtpour (MSc student)
  • Yu-Ting (Natalie) Liang (MSc student, jointly supervised with L. Flynn)
  • Ian Villamagna (PhD student, jointly supervised with F. Beier)
  • Tristan Harrison (PhD student, jointly supervised with P. Ragogna)
  • Rebecca Yardley (PhD student)
  • John Epling (PhD student)

  • Aneta Borecki

  • Amna Muhammad (summer volunteer)

  • Trevor McIntosh (MSc, 2015)
  • Thomas Gungor (MSc, 2015)
  • Ryan Guterman (PhD, 2015, jointly supervised with P. Ragogna)
  • Xinyi Li (4th year thesis student, BEng, 2015)
  • Tristan Harrison (4th year thesis student, BSc, 2015, jointly supervised with P. Ragogna)
  • Blake Waters (4th year thesis student, BSc, 2015)
  • Alex Prinzin (4th year thesis student, BSc, 2015)
  • Darryl Knight (PhD, 2014, jointly supervised with K. Mequanint)
  • Melessa Salem (MESc, 2014 jointly supervised with S. Rohani)
  • Amira Moustafa (MESc, 2014)
  • Namrata Jain (MSc, 2014)
  • Inderpreet Sran (MESc, 2014)
  • Taylor Mottola (4th year thesis student, BSc, 2014)
  • Solmaz Karamdoust (PhD, 2013)
  • Ali Nazemi (PhD, 2013)
  • Rasoul Soleimani (PhD, 2013)
  • Ryan McBride (MESc, 2013)
  • Bethany Turowec (MESc, 2013)
  • Dr. Mahmoud Moustafa (Postdoctoral Fellow, 2011 - 2013)
  • Matthew McEachran (MSc, 2013)
  • Fatimah Al-Garni (MSc student, jointly supervised with J. Wisner)
  • Jose Samuel Mejia (MSc, 2012)
  • Dr. Matt DeWit (PhD, 2012)
  • Thalia Wells (NSERC summer student, 2012)
  • Long (Calvin) Poon (summer student, 2012)
  • Tyler Schon (4th year thesis student, BSc, 2012)
  • Katelin Spiler (undergraduate volunteer, winter 2012)
  • Dr. Wei Wu (Postdoctoral Fellow, 2011-2012)
  • Dr. Christa Homenick (Postdoctoral Fellow, 2010-2012)
  • Dr. Eric Chen (Postdoctoral Fellow, 2010-2012)
  • Greg Zilinskas (MESc 2011)
  • Ryan Amos (MESc 2011)
  • Victoria Mackey (4th year thesis, BSc 2011)
  • Carlos Torres (4th year thesis, BSc 2011)
  • Jesse Lam (4th year thesis, BEng 2011)
  • Dr. Colin Bonduelle (Postdoctoral Fellow, 2009-2010)
  • Katelyn Atkins (MSc 2010)
  • Jules Pereira Gomes (visiting student from France, summer 2010)
  • Shaniece Walker (undergraduate volunteer, summer 2010)
  • Rebecca Stuchbury (summer student and 4th year thesis, BSc 2010, jointly supervised with S Mittler and K. Mequanint)
  • Spencer Serin (4th year thesis, BSc 2010)
  • Dr. Romain Perrier-Cornet (Postdoctoral Fellow, 2008-2010)
  • Jessica Watson (MSc 2009)
  • Dr. David Thompson (Postdoctoral Fellow, joint with LANXESS and Surface Science Western, 2008-2009)
  • Eric Keske (summer student and 4th year thesis, BSc 2009)
  • Flavie Bondu (visiting student from France, 2009)
  • Annelise Beaton (summer student and 4th year thesis, BSc 2009)
  • Brian Malbrecht (NSERC summer student, 2009)
  • David Lopez (summer student, 4th year thesis, BEng 2009)
  • Dr. Greg Davidson (Postdoctoral Fellow, 2008)
  • Amanda Martin (MSc 2008)
  • Bo Li (MSc 2008)
  • Kevin Lin (summer student, 2008)
  • Zixi Wang (summer student, 2007)
  • Omar de Rita (summer student, 2007)
  • Janice Calzavara (4th year thesis, BSc 2007)
  • Arthi Shridhar (PhD student, jointly supervised with L. Flynn)
  • Bo Fan (PhD student)
  • Benjamin Hisey (PhD student, jointly supervised with P. Ragogna)
  • Tyler Cuthbert (PhD 2016, jointly supervised with P. Ragogna)
  • Andrew Wong (PhD student)
  • Chun Yan Chan (4th year thesis, BSc 2007)
  • Shuyu Liu (MESc student, jointly supervised with K. Mequanint)
  • Brooke Raycraft (MSc student)
  • Michael Gambles (MSc student)
  • Dr. Olivier Nguon
  • Dr. John Trant
  • Alexandra Griffith (4th year thesis student)
  • Joshua Jadischke (4th year thesis student, jointly supervised with P. Ragogna)
  • Olga Yunyaeva (4th year thesis student, jointly supervised with P. Ragogna)