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Joseph A. Gardella, Jr.

Gardella, JoeSUNY Distinguished Professor and John and Frances Larkin Professor of Chemistry
Office: 470 Natural Sciences Complex
Phone: (716) 645-1499
Fax: (716) 645-6963
Lab website:
Personal Research/Teaching and Service website:


B.A., Philosophy; B. S., Chemistry, Oakland University (1977)
Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh (1981)
Faculty Intern, University of Utah (1981-82)
Lawrence M. Gelb Foundation Fellow (1986-89)
Exxon Education Foundation Fellow (1989-91)


National Science Foundation Award for Special Creativity (1991-93)
SUNY Chancellor’s Medals for Excellence in Teaching (1996), Faculty Professional Service (2004) and Scholarly and Creative Activity (2005)
Distinguished Alumni Award, Oakland University (1999)
72nd Jacob M. Schoellkopf Medal, WNY American Chemical Society (2002)
Inventor of the Year Award, (27th), Niagara Frontier Intellectual Property and Law Association and Niagara Frontier Technical Societies Council (2002)
Ernest A. Lynton Award for Faculty Public Professional Service and Academic Outreach, New England Resource Center for Higher Education (NERCHE) (2003)
Elected Fellow of the AVS (2004)
Presidential Award for Excellence in Sciences, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM), The White House and National Science Foundation (2005)
Elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), February 2007


Polymer surface chemistry and analysis; Polymer biomaterials and tissue engineering; Surface chemistry of drug delivery and controlled release; Surface chemistry of inorganic semiconductor materials; ESCA; ion formation in Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS).

Research Summary:

The field of surface science encompasses many aspects of chemistry, physics, biology and materials science and engineering. Research projects performed in my group have as a primary goal the solution of molecular and macromolecular structure at surfaces and interfaces. The research programs undertaken by my students encompass interdisciplinary science and engineering aspects in tissue engineering, semiconductors for photonic and magnetic applications, environmental science and biomedical engineering, where interfacial organic, biological and polymeric films have importance. Most experiments performed in our laboratories revolve around surface characterization methods, especially spectroscopic techniques like X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS or ESCA), Low Energy Ion Scattering Spectrometry (ISS), Imaging Time of Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS), Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) and High Resolution Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy (HREELS). We have benefited from the establishment of other facilities (Scanning Auger Microscopy, Electron Microscopy, Clean Rooms, thin film preparation, etc.), along with a large group of colleagues in Physics, Biology and Engineering, the UB Medical School and Roswell Park Cancer Institute. This provides for a stimulating atmosphere for conducting surface science research. Students pursuing degrees in my group will have opportunities to interact with these scientists and really learn about what I think are the most exciting challenges in surface science.

Our research can be classified into three types of studies, the first being where we try to describe the details of interactions of ion, electron and photon beams with organic and polymeric model surfaces. One example of this type of work involves ongoing efforts using Langmuir Blodgett films as models for polymer surfaces, metal/organic interfaces and biological films. Using SIMS, we have developed a means for determining quantitative relationships between molecular ions and surface concentrations. We think this is a breakthrough, since it would allow the use of SIMS to solve questions about polymer surface reactivity, composition of biological films at surfaces and metal polymer adhesion with quantitative information. Drs. Joe Wandass, Paula Cornelio, Kevin Hook, Bob Johnson, Jian Xin Li, Cara Weitzsacker, Yuezhong Du, Rich Nowak, Dan Ammon Limin Sun and Alan Piwowar have earned Ph.D’s in this area.

A second area of interest is the description of microstructure at the surface of multicomponent polymer systems. We have been especially interested recently in the reaction chemistry that occurs at polymer surfaces. In particular, we are interested in the reaction of polymer surfaces with water; to understand the fundamentals of how polymers react with or respond to environmental or biological systems. We are interested in both the reactive hydrolysis of degradable (hydrolysable) polymers and the rearrangement of polymer surfaces under challenge by water. For these studies we combine the results from many surface sensitive techniques to solve the in depth profile of composition, structure and bonding of block copolymers, blends and highly crystalline polymers. We try to develop methods of analysis which address the precise details of interchain bonding and arrangement and develop models of the surface using ISS, angular dependent ESCA, FTIR and other methods. The broad use of multicomponent polymer materials in applications as diverse as biocompatible materials, composites and devices dictates a molecular level view of the surface composition, and a theoretical understanding of the forces which drive the surface to be different than the bulk. Professors Phil Kumler (SUNY Fredonia), Won Ki Lee (Pukyong National University, Korea), Maurizio Toselli (University of Bologna, Italy), Ilario Losito (University of Bari, Italy), and Drs. Robert Schmitt, James Schmidt, Hengzhong Zhuang, Xin Chen, Helen Lee, Mike Clark, Jiaxing Chen. Eric Mittlefehldt. Jin Zhao, Yuanxue Hou, Christine Mahoney, Adam Hawkridge, George Tulevski, Wen Yan Yan, Joo Woon Lee, Dan Hook and Lu Chen have all participated in this work.

Our final area of study involves the application of these methods of characterization to the study of biological surfaces, specifically materials used in tissue engineering, wound healing or drug delivery devices. We have developed new treatments, new materials and combined these into drug delivery and wound healing membranes and devices. We study protein interactions with surfaces, and drug delivery from surfaces. With these data, Drs. Terry Vargo, Evan Bekos, Fabienne Fally. Patrick Schamberger, Norma Gatica, Rafael Alicea-Maldonado, Denise Brylinski, and Dan Hook have described synthetic methods of tailoring surface composition, using polymer synthesis and surface and plasma chemistry which can provide new materials for application.

Selected Recent Publications:

  1. M. Piwowar and J. A. Gardella, Jr., “Time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometric analysis of polymer tertiary structure in Langmuir monolayer films of poly (dimethyl siloxane)”, Analytical Chemistry 2007, 79, 4126-4134.
  2. Joseph A. Gardella Jr., Heather M. Maciejewski and Mara B. Huber, “Service Learning in urban, high needs schools: Building from science education to the University at Buffalo/Buffalo Public Schools Partnership”, Chapter in Service Learning with Government Partners, David Redlawsk and Thomas Rice, Editors, Jossey Bass, in press, 2008.
  3. Joseph A. Gardella Jr., Tammy M. Milillo, Gaurav Sinha, Gunwha Oh, David C. Manns, and Eleanor Coffey, “Linking advanced public service learning and community participation with environmental analytical chemistry: lessons from case studies in Western New York”, Chapter in Service Learning with Government Partners, David Redlawsk and Thomas Rice, Editors, Jossey Bass, in press, 2008.
  4. Joseph A. Gardella, Jr., Tammy M. Milillo, Gaurav Sinha, Gunwha Oh, David C. Manns and Eleanor Coffey, “Linking Community Service-Learning, and Environmental Analytical Chemistry”, Analytical Chemistry, Feature Education Article, 2007, 79 (3), 811-18.
  5. M. Milillo and J. A. Gardella, Jr., “Spatial statistics and interpolation methods for TOF SIMS imaging”, Applied Surface Science, 2006, 252, 6883-6890.
  6. Daniel J. Hook, Paul L. Valint, Jr., Lu Chen and Joseph A. Gardella, Jr., “Quantitative and High Mass ToF-SIMS Studies of Siloxane Segregation in Hydrogel Polymers Using Cryogenic Sample Handling Techniques”, Applied Surface Science, 2006, 252, 6679-82.
  7. Christine M. Mahoney, Jinxiang Yu, Albert Fahey and Joseph A. Gardella Jr., “SIMS Depth Profiling of Polymer Blends with Protein Based Drugs”, Applied Surface Science, 2006, 252, 6609-14.
  8. Won Ki Lee, Sungil Moon, Jinn-Kook Lee, Chang-Sik Ha and Joseph A. Gardella, Jr., “Stereocomplex-induced Surface Structure of Fluorocarbon End-capped Polylactide Enantiomeric Polylactide Blends”, Macromolecular Research, 2006, 14(5), 487-90.
  9. M. Mahoney, J. Yu and J. A. Gardella, Jr., “Depth profiling of poly(l-lactic acid)/triblock copolymer blends with time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry”, Analytical Chemistry, 2005, 77, 3570-3578.
  10. Changsik Ha and Joseph A. Gardella, Jr., “The Surface Chemistry of Biodegradable Polymers for Drug Delivery Systems”, Chemical Reviews, 2005, 105, 4205-4232.
  11. Won Ki Lee, Tadahisa Iwata and Joseph A. Gardella, Jr. “Hydrolytic behavior of enantiomeric poly(lactide)-mixed monolayer films at the air/water interface: stereocomplexation effects”, Langmuir 2005, 21, 11180-11184.