Augustine research

Brian H. Augustine, Ph.D.

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Group Website

Education, Honors, Awards

  • Professor James Madison University (2010 - present)
  • Fulbright Scholar University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa (2009)
  • Associate Professor James Madison University (2002 – 2010)
  • Delta Delta Delta Outstanding Professor Award (1999)
  • Assistant Professor James Madison University (1997 – 2002)
  • Post Doc. Microelectronics Center of North Carolina (1995 – 97)
  • Ph.D. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1995)
  • U.S. Department of Education Fellowship (1991-1993)
  • Microelectronics Center of North Carolina Fellowship (1990-1991)
  • C.N. Reilly Fellowship (1990)
  • B.A. State University of New York at Geneseo (1990)

Research Interests

  • Real-time, in-situ atomic force microscopy of biodegradable polymers
  • Microfabrication of polymer microfluidics.
  • Surface modification and characterization of polymer nanocomposites for microfluidics.
  • Nanoscience Education. Development of laboratory and lecture modules to introduce undergraduate students to nanoscience.

Research Description

Drs. Chris Hughes and Brian Augustine conduct research on the surface modification of novel nanocomposite polymers and the fabrication of microfluidic devices made from these polymers. Students make various acrylic-based structures by hot-embossing acrylic into silicon masters fabricated by conventional photolithography and crystallographic etching of Si in the JMU clean room. Some are used for bioanalytical devices in collaboration with Dr. James Landers' laboratory at the University of Virginia. Since the ability to control the surface wettability and functionalization in these microchannels will be important in many possible future applications, students are using an oxygen plasma to modify the surface of polyhedral oligomeric silsequioxane (POSS) containing acrylics. A proposed model in which the polymer surface is converted to an inorganic, SiO2-like surface has been developed and is being tested. The initial results from this work were recently published in Langmuir. The results of this and related work from the Augustine-Hughes lab were also presented at the recent Gordon Research Conference on the Physics and Chemistry of Mircofluidics and will be presented by the undergraduate researchers at the upcoming Materials Research Society meeting in Boston.

Selected Recent Publications

  • B. H. Augustine, K. L. Caran, B. A. Reisner, “An Evolutionary Approach to Nanoscience in the Undergraduate Chemistry Curriculum at James Madison University”, Book chapter in ACS Symposium Series on Nanoscience Education, K. A. Pacheco, ed, American Chemical Society, Washington, D.C., 2010, 19-48
  • D. E. Dennis, V. Sein*, E. Martinez*, B. H. Augustine, “PhaP is Involved in the Formation of a Network on the Surface of PHA inclusions in Cupriavidus necator H16”, J. Bacteriology, 190 (2), 555-563 (2008)
  • B. H. Augustine, W. C. Hughes, K. J. Zimmermann*, A. J. Figueiredo*, X. Guo, C. C. Chusuei, J. S. Maidment*, “Plasma Surface Modification and Characterization of POSS-Based Nanocomposite Polymeric Thin Films”, Langmuir, 23, 4346 – 4350 (2007)
  • B.H. Augustine, B.A. Reisner, K.L. Caran, “The Nanoscience Undergraduate Education (NUE) program at James Madison University” Mat. Res. Soc. Symp. Proc. 2006, 931, 13-18.
  • L.D. Winkler*, J. F. Arceo*, W. C. Hughes, B. A. DeGraff, B. H. Augustine, “Quantum Dots: An Experiment for Physical or Materials Chemistry”, J. Chem. Educ. 82 (11), 1700 – 1702 (2005)
  • D.E. Dennis, C. Leibig*, T. Holley*, K.S. Thomas*, A. Khosla*, D. Wilson*, B.H. Augustine, “Preliminary Analysis of Polyhydroxyalkanoate Inclusion Using Atomic Force Microscopy”, FEMS Microbiology Letters, 226, 113 (2003)
  • A. M. Christenson*, G. S. Corder*, T. C. DeVore, and B. H. Augustine, “A Photolithography Experiment for General Chemistry Students”, J. Chem. Educ. , 80, 183 (2003)
  • C. J. Rossini*, J. F. Arceo*, E. R. McCarney*, B. H. Augustine D. E. Dennis, M. D. Flythe*, S. F. Baron  “Use of  In-situ Atomic Force Microscopy to Monitor the Biodegradation of Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs)”, Macromolec. Symp., In “Recent Advances in Scanning Probe Microscopy of Polymers”, ed. V. V. Tsukruk and N. D. Spencer, 141, 167, (2001)


  • “Hybrid Polymers for Functional Tuning of Microfluidic Device Surfaces”, Brian H. Augustine, Wm. Christopher Hughes, James P. Landers, Jerome P. Ferrance, Joy M. Polefrone, (United States Patent #7,381,471, Awarded 3/3/08)
  • “MEMS Electrostatically Actuated Optical Display Device and Associated Arrays”, Inventors:  Dr. Scott H Goodwin-Johansson, Dr. Brian H. Augustine, Lindsay Yadon, MCNC, Research Triangle Park, NC  (United States Patent #6,972,889 Awarded 12/9/2005)