Faculty Directory
Igal Szleifer

Christina Enroth-Cugell Professor of Biomedical Engineering

Professor of Chemistry

Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering

Professor of Medicine


2170 Campus Drive
Silverman Hall 4629
Evanston, IL 60208-2850

847-467-0674Email Igal Szleifer


Igal Szleifer Reseach Group


Biomedical Engineering


Theoretical and Applied Mechanics Graduate Program


Ph.D. summa cum laude, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

B.Sc. Chemistry, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Research Interests

The focus of our research is in the molecular modeling of biointerphases. Our work is aimed at the fundamental understanding of the properties of complex molecular systems that encompass problems at the interface between medicine, biology, chemistry, physics and materials science. Our group concentrates on the development and application of theoretical approaches that enable the study of the systems of interest at the molecular level. The results of these studies are then used in the design of optimal materials that interact with biological environments, Most of our projects are carried out in close collaboration with experimental collaborators. Our theoretical work has the dual purpose of: 1) the fundamental understanding of what are the molecular factors that determine the properties and behavior of the interactions between biological environments and synthetic systems, and 2) the ability to predict in a quantitative way experimental systems in order to use the theoretical approaches as a device tool for the engineer of new materials, such as biocompatible materials and drug carriers.

Specific systems of interest include: protein adsorption and biocompatible materials, lipid layers and model cell membranes, drug delivery systems, ligand-receptor binding and smart (reponsive) materials.

Selected Publications

  • Yue Li, Luay M. Almassalha, John E. Chandler, Xiang Zhou, Yolanda E. Stypula-Cyrus, Karl A. Hujsak, Eric W. Roth, Reiner Bleher, Hariharan Subramanian, Igal Szleifer, Vinayak P. Dravid, Vadim Backman, “The effects of chemical fixation on the cellular nanostructure”, Experimental Cell Research, (2017)
  • John E. Chandler, Yolanda Stypula-Cyrus, Luay Almassalha, Greta Bauer, Leah Bowen, Hariharan Subramanian, Igal Szleifer, Vadim Backman, “Colocalization of cellular nanostructure using confocal fluorescence and partial wave spectroscopy”, Journal of Biophotonics, (2017)
  • L. M. Almassalha, A. Tiwari, P. T. Ruhoff, Y. Stypula-Cyrus, L. Cherkezyan, H. Matsuda, M. A. Dela Cruz, J. E. Chandler, C. White, C. Maneval, H. Subramanian, I. Szleifer, H. K. Roy, V. Backman, “The global relationship between chromatin physical topology, fractal structure, and gene expression”, Scientific Reports, (2017)
  • Wenli Wu, Andrew J. Radosevich, Adam Eshein, The Quyen Nguyen, Ji Yi, Lusik Cherkezyan, Hemant K. Roy, Igal Szleifer, Vadim Backman, “Using electron microscopy to calculate optical properties of biological samples”, Biomedical Optics Express, (2016)
  • , “Chemically modified nanopores and nanochannels”, Elsevier, (2016)
  • M. Tagliazucchi and I. Szleifer, “Chemically modified nanopores and nanochannels”, Elsevier, (2016)
  • Estefania Gonzalez Solveyra, Mario Tagliazucchi, Igal Szleifer, “Anisotropic surface functionalization of Au nanorods driven by molecular architecture and curvature effects”, Faraday Discussions, (2016)
  • M. Tagliazucchi, I. Szleifer, “Dynamics of dissipative self-assembly of particles interacting through oscillatory forces”, Faraday Discussions, (2016)
  • B. M. Gunn, M. Shansab, J. R. Schneider, A. R. Bastian, K. M. Fahrbach, A. D. SmithIV, A. E. Mahan, M. M. Karim, A. F. Licht, I. Zvonar, J. Tedesco, M. R. Anderson, A. Chapel, T. J. Suscovich, D. C. Malaspina, H. Streeck, B. D. Walker, A. Kim, G. Lauer, M. Altfeld, S. Pillai, I. Szleifer, N. L. Kelleher, P. F. Kiser, T. J. Hope, G. Alter, “Enhanced binding of antibodies generated during chronic HIV infection to mucus component MUC16”, Mucosal Immunology, (2016)
  • Luay M. Almassalha, Greta M. Bauer, John E. Chandler, Scott Gladstein, Lusik Cherkezyan, Yolanda Stypula-Cyrus, Samuel Weinberg, Di Zhang, Peder Thusgaard Ruhoff, Hemant K. Roy, Hariharan Subramanian, Navdeep S. Chandel, Igal Szleifer, Vadim Backman, “Label-free imaging of the native, living cellular nanoarchitecture using partial-wave spectroscopic microscopy”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, (2016)
  • Gabriel S. Longo, Monica Olvera De La Cruz, Igal Szleifer, “Controlling swelling/deswelling of stimuli-responsive hydrogel nanofilms in electric fields”, Soft Matter, (2016)
  • Ekaterina Taneva, Kerry Crooker, Sung Hyun Park, Jonathan T. Su, Adina Ott, Natalia Cheshenko, Igal Szleifer, Patrick F. Kiser, Bruce Frank, Pedro M M Mesquita, Betsy C. Herold, “Differential mechanisms of tenofovir and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate cellular transport and implications for topical preexposure prophylaxis”, Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, (2016)
  • M. Tagliazucchi, I. Szleifer, “Dynamics of dissipative self-assembly of particles interacting through oscillatory forces”, Faraday Discussions of the Chemical Society, (2016)
  • John E. Chandler, Yolanda Stypula-Cyrus, Luay Almassalha, Greta Bauer, Leah Bowen, Hariharan Subramanian, Igal Szleifer, Vadim Backman, “Colocalization of cellular nanostructure using confocal fluorescence and partial wave spectroscopy”, Journal of Biophotonics, (2016)
  • Ryan S. Teller, David C. Malaspina, Rachna Rastogi, Justin T. Clark, Igal Szleifer, Patrick F. Kiser, “Controlling the hydration rate of a hydrophilic matrix in the core of an intravaginal ring determines antiretroviral release”, Journal of Controlled Release, (2016)
  • Facundo M. Gilles, Mario Tagliazucchi, Omar Azzaroni, Igal Szleifer, “Ionic Conductance of Polyelectrolyte-Modified Nanochannels”, Journal of Physical Chemistry C, (2016)
  • Julian Gelman Constantin, Marcelo A. Carignano, Horacio R. Corti, Igal Szleifer, “Molecular Dynamics Simulation of Ice Indentation by Model Atomic Force Microscopy Tips”, Journal of Physical Chemistry C, (2015)
  • Mario Tagliazucchi, Igal Szleifer, “Salt Pumping by Voltage-Gated Nanochannels”, Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, (2015)
  • Mario Tagliazucchi, Igal Szleifer, “How Does Confinement Change Ligand-Receptor Binding Equilibrium? Protein Binding in Nanopores and Nanochannels”, Journal of the American Chemical Society, (2015)
  • Chun Lai Ren, Robert Schlapak, Roland Hager, Igal Szleifer, Stefan Howorka, “Molecular and Thermodynamic Factors Explain the Passivation Properties of Poly(ethylene glycol)-Coated Substrate Surfaces against Fluorophore-Labeled DNA Oligonucleotides”, Langmuir, (2015)
  • Estefania Gonzalez Solveyra, Igal Szleifer, “What is the role of curvature on the properties of nanomaterials for biomedical applications?”, Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Nanomedicine and Nanobiotechnology, (2015)
  • Messersmith, Phillip B.; Szleifer, Igal; Lau, King Hang Aaron; Sileika, Tadas S.; Park, Sung Hyun, “Molecular Design of Antifouling Polymer Brushes Using Sequence-Specific Peptoids”, Advanced Materials Interfaces, (2015)
  • Szleifer, Igal; Andrieu-Brunsen, Annette; Micoureau, Sbastien; Tagliazucchi, Mario; Azzaroni, Omar, “Mesoporous hybrid thin film membranes with PMETAC@Silica architectures: Controlling ionic gating through the tuning of polyelectrolyte density”, Chemistry of Materials, (2015)
  • Szleifer, Igal; Bar-Hen, Avraham; Bounioux, Cline; Yerushalmi-Rozen, Rachel; Gonzalez Solveyra, Estefania, “The role of steric interactions in dispersion of carbon nanotubes by poly(3-alkyl thiophenes) in organic solvents”, Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, (2015)
  • Szleifer, Igal; Tagliazucchi, Mario, “Transport mechanisms in nanopores and nanochannels: Can we mimic nature?”, Materials Today, (2015)
  • Szleifer, Igal; et al.; Larsen, Jannik Bruun; Jensen, Martin Borch; Bhatia, Vikram K., “Membrane curvature enables N-Ras lipid anchor sorting to liquid-ordered membrane phases”, Nature Chemical Biology, (2015)
  • Longo, Gabriel S.; Szleifer, Igal; Narambuena, Claudio F., “Lysozyme adsorption in pH-responsive hydrogel thin-films: the non-trivial role of acid-base equilibrium”, Soft Matter, (2015)
  • Szleifer, Igal; Olvera De La Cruz, Monica; Tagliazucchi, Mario; Li, Xing, “Self-organized polyelectrolyte end-grafted layers under nanoconfinement”, ACS Nano, (2014)
  • Ameer, Guillermo A.; Baler, Kevin; Szleifer, Igal; Michael, Raman, “Albumin hydrogels formed by electrostatically triggered self-assembly and their drug delivery capability”, Biomacromolecules, (2014)
  • Nap, Rikkert J.; Szleifer, Igal; Bo_i?, An_e Lodorfer; Podgornik, Rudolf, “The role of solution conditions in the bacteriophage pp7 capsid charge regulation”, Biophysical Journal, (2014)
  • Nap, Rikkert J.; Szleifer, Igal; Park, Sung Hyun, “On the stability of nanoparticles coated with polyelectrolytes in high salinity solutions”, Journal of Polymer Science, Part B: Polymer Physics, (2014)
  • Longo, Gabriel S.; Szleifer, Igal; Olvera De La Cruz, Monica, “Equilibrium adsorption of hexahistidine on pH-responsive hydrogel nanofilms”, Langmuir, (2014)
  • Szleifer, Igal; Yerushalmi-Rozen, Rachel; Itzhak-Cohen, Racheli; Nativ-Roth, Einat; Levi-Kalisman, Yael, “Nematic ordering of SWNT in meso-structured thin liquid films of polystyrenesulfonate”, Langmuir, (2014)
  • Szleifer, Igal; Tagliazucchi, Mario; Putzel, Gregory Garbs, “Nonmonotonic diffusion of particles among larger attractive crowding spheres”, Physical Review Letters, (2014)
  • Backman, Vadim; Szleifer, Igal; Matsuda, Hiroaki; Putzel, Gregory Garb?s, “Macromolecular crowding as a regulator of gene transcription”, Biophysical Journal, (2014)
  • Szleifer, Igal; Kim, Jun Soo, “Crowding-induced formation and structural alteration of nuclear compartments: Insights from computer simulations”, International Review of Cell and Molecular Biology, (2014)
  • Szleifer, I.; Tagliazucchi, M.; Nap, R.J., “Born energy, acid-base equilibrium, structure and interactions of end-grafted weak polyelectrolyte layers”, Journal of Chemical Physics, (2014)
  • Szleifer, I.; Baler, K.; Martin, O.A.; Carignano, M.A.; Ameer, G.A., “Electrostatic unfolding and interactions of albumin driven by pH changes: A molecular dynamics study”, Journal of Physical Chemistry B, (2014)
  • Szleifer, Igal; Nap, Rikkert J.; Whitaker, Ragnhild D.; Mathiyazhagan, Vidhya; Song, Yi-Qiao, “Adsorption of superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles on silica and calcium carbonate sand”, Langmuir, (2014)
  • Szleifer, Igal; George, Christopher; Ratner, Mark, “Multiple-time-scale motion in molecularly linked nanoparticle arrays”, ACS Nano, (2013)
  • Szleifer, Igal; Olvera De La Cruz, Monica; Longo, Gabriel S., “PH-controlled nanoaggregation in amphiphilic polymer co-networks”, ACS Nano, (2013)
  • Szleifer, Igal; Malaspina, David C.; Di Lorenzo, Aleida J. Berm; Pereyra, Rodolfo G.; Carignano, Marcelo A., “The water supercooled regime as described by four common water models”, Journal of Chemical Physics, (2013)
  • Szleifer, Igal, “Macromolecular mixing: Entropic templating”, Nature Materials, (2013)
  • Grzybowski, Bartosz A.; Walker, David A.; Leitsch, Emily K.; Nap, Rikkert J.; Szleifer, Igal, “Geometric curvature controls the chemical patchiness and self-assembly of nanoparticles”, Nature Nanotechnology, (2013)
  • Szleifer, Igal; Krger, Martin; Tagliazucchi, Mario; Peleg, Orit; Rabin, Yitzhak, “Effect of charge, hydrophobicity, and sequence of nucleoporins on the translocation of model particles through the nuclear pore complex”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, (2013)
  • Weiss, Emily A.; Schatz, George C.; Szleifer, Igal; Tagliazucchi, Mario; Blaber, Martin G., “Optical properties of responsive hybrid Au@polymer nanoparticles”, ACS Nano, (2012)
  • Szleifer, Igal; Carignano, Marcelo A.; Wei, Tao, “Molecular dynamics simulation of lysozyme adsorption/desorption on hydrophobic surfaces”, Journal of Physical Chemistry B, (2012)
  • Messersmith, Phillip B.; Szleifer, Igal; Lau, King Hang Aaron; Ren, Chunlai; Sileika, Tadas S., “Surface-grafted polysarcosine as a peptoid antifouling polymer brush”, Langmuir, (2012)
  • M. J. Uline, M. Schick and I. Szleifer, “Phase Behavior of Lipid Bilayers under Tension”, Biophysical Journal, (2012)
  • Szleifer, I.; Uline, M., “Mode specific elastic constants for the gel, liquid-ordered, and liquid-disordered phases of DPPC/DOPC/cholesterol model lipid bilayers”, Faraday Discussions, (2012)
  • K. I. Popov, R. J. Nap, I. Szleifer and M. O. de la Cruz, “Interacting nanoparticles with functional surface groups”, Journal of Polymer Science Part B-Polymer Physics, (2012)
  • K. H. A. Lau, C. Ren, S. H. Park, I. Szleifer and P. B. Messersmith, “An Experimental-Theoretical Analysis of Protein Adsorption on Peptidomimetic Polymer Brushes”, Langmuir, (2012)
  • Y. Park, R. D. Whitaker, R. J. Nap, J. L. Paulsen, V. Mathiyazhagan, L. H. Doerrer, Y.-Q. Song, M. D. Huerlimann, I. Szleifer and J. Y. Wong, “Stability of Superparamagnetic Iron Oxide Nanoparticles at Different pH Values: Experimental and Theoretical Analysis”, Langmuir, (2012)
  • J. Genzer, S. Arifuzzaman, R. R. Bhat, K. Efimenko, C.-l. Ren and I. Szleifer, “Time Dependence of Lysozyme Adsorption on End-Grafted Polymer Layers of Variable Grafting Density and Length”, Langmuir, (2012)
  • R. J. Nap, Y.-Y. Won and I. Szleifer, “Confinement induced lateral segregation of polymer coated nanospheres”, Soft Matter, (2012)
  • G. S. Longo, M. O. de la Cruz and I. Szleifer, “Molecular theory of weak polyelectrolyte thin films”, Soft Matter, (2012)
  • M. Tagliazucchi and I. Szleifer, “Stimuli-responsive polymers grafted to nanopores and other nano-curved surfaces: structure, chemical equilibrium and transport”, Soft Matter, (2012)
  • Szleifer, I.; Carignano, M. A.; Wei, T., “Molecular Dynamics Simulation of Lysozyme Adsorption/Desorption on Hydrophobic Surfaces”, The Journal of Physical Chemistry B, (2012)
  • C. H. Weiss, F. Moazed, C. A. McEvoy, B. D. Singer, I. Szleifer, L. A. N. Amaral, M. Kwasny, C. M. Watts, S. D. Persell, D. W. Baker, J. I. Sznajder and R. G. Wunderink, “Prompting Physicians to Address a Daily Checklist and Process of Care and Clinical Outcomes A Single-Site Study”, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, (2011)
  • S. H. Park and I. Szleifer, “Structural and Dynamical Characteristics of Peptoid Oligomers with Achiral Aliphatic Side Chains Studied by Molecular Dynamics Simulation”, Journal of Physical Chemistry B, (2011)
  • M. Tagliazucchi, Y. Rabin and I. Szleifer, “Ion Transport and Molecular Organization Are Coupled in Polyelectrolyte-Modified Nanopores”, Journal of the American Chemical Society, (2011)
  • T. Wei, M. A. Carignano and I. Szleifer, “Lysozyme Adsorption on Polyethylene Surfaces: Why Are Long Simulations Needed?”, Langmuir, (2011)
  • Orit Peleg;Mario Tagliazucchi;Martin Kroeger;Yitzhak Rabin;Igal Szleifer, “Morphology Control of Hairy Nanopores”, Acs Nano, (2011)
  • GG Putzel;MJ Uline;I Szleifer;M Schick, “Inter leaflet Coupling and Domain Registry in Phase-Separated Lipid Bilayers”, Biophysical Journal, (2011)
  • Tyrone J. Yacoub;Allam S. Reddy;Igal Szleifer, “Structural Effects and Translocation of Doxorubicin in a DPPC/Chol Bilayer: The Role of Cholesterol”, Biophysical Journal, (2011)
  • Rodolfo G. Pereyra;Igal Szleifer;Marcelo A. Carignano, “Temperature dependence of ice critical nucleus size”, Journal of Chemical Physics, (2011)
  • DW Wang;RJ Nap;I Lagzi;B Kowalczyk;SB Han;BA Grzybowski;I Szleifer, “How and Why Nanoparticle's Curvature Regulates the Apparent pK(a) of the Coating Ligands”, Journal of the American Chemical Society, (2011)
  • MJ Uline;Y Rabin;I Szleifer, “Effects of the Salt Concentration on Charge Regulation in Tethered Polyacid Monolayers”, Langmuir, (2011)
  • GS Longo;MO de la Cruz;I Szleifer, “Molecular Theory of Weak Polyelectrolyte Gels: The Role of pH and Salt Concentration”, Macromolecules, (2011)
  • JS Kim;P Pradhan;V Backman;I Szleifer, “The influence of chromosome density variations on the increase in nuclear disorder strength in carcinogenesis”, Physical Biology, (2011)
  • JS Kim;V Backman;I Szleifer, “Crowding-Induced Structural Alterations of Random-Loop Chromosome Model”, Physical Review Letters, (2011)
  • D Grillo;MO de la Cruz;I Szleifer, “Theoretical studies of the phase behavior of DPPC bilayers in the presence of macroions”, Soft Matter, (2011)
  • JS Kim;I Szleifer, “Depletion Effect on Polymers Induced by Small Depleting Spheres”, Journal of Physical Chemistry C, (2010)
  • MJ Uline;SH Meng;I Szleifer, “Surfactant driven surface anchoring transitions in liquid crystal thin films”, Soft Matter, (2010)
  • M Tagliazucchi;EJ Calvo;I Szleifer, “Molecular Modeling of Responsive Polymer Films”, Aiche Journal, (2010)
  • MJ ULINE;GS LONGO;M SCHICK;I SZLEIFER, “Calculating Partition Coefficients of Chain Anchors in Liquid-Ordered and Liquid-Disordered Phases”, Biophysical Journal, (2010)
  • HE TREJO;E LECUONA;D GRILLO;I SZLEIFER;OE NEKRASOVA;VI GELFAND;JI SZNAJDER, “Role of kinesin light chain-2 of kinesin-1 in the traffic of Na,K-ATPase-containing vesicles in alveolar epithelial cells”, Faseb Journal, (2010)
  • CB GEORGE;MA RATNER;I SZLEIFER, “Langmuir monolayers with internal dipoles: Understanding phase behavior using Monte Carlo simulations”, Journal of Chemical Physics, (2010)
  • M Tagliazucchi;O Azzaroni;I Szleifer, “Responsive Polymers End-Tethered in Solid-State Nanochannels: When Nanoconfinement Really Matters”, Journal of the American Chemical Society, (2010)
  • MAC STUART;WTS HUCK;J GENZER;M MULLER;C OBER;M STAMM;GB SUKHORUKOV;I SZLEIFER;VV TSUKRUK;M URBAN;F WINNIK;S ZAUSCHER;I LUZINOV;S MINKO, “Emerging applications of stimuli-responsive polymer materials”, Nature Materials, (2010)
  • M TAGLIAZUCCHI;MO DE LA CRUZ;I SZLEIFER, “Self-organization of grafted polyelectrolyte layers via the coupling of chemical equilibrium and physical interactions”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, (2010)
  • SH PARK;MA CARIGNANO;RJ NAP;I SZLEIFER, “Hydrophobic-induced surface reorganization: molecular dynamics simulations of water nanodroplets on perfluorocarbon self-assembled monolayers”, Soft Matter, (2010)
  • DP BROWNHOLLAND;GS LONGO;AV STRUTS;MJ JUSTICE;I SZLEIFER;HI PETRACHE;MF BROWN;DH THOMPSON, “Phase Separation in Binary Mixtures of Bipolar and Monopolar Lipid Dispersions Revealed by H-2 NMR Spectroscopy, Small Angle X-Ray Scattering, and Molecular Theory”, Biophysical Journal, (2009)
  • E LECUONA;A MININ;HE TREJO;JW CHEN;AP COMELLAS;HY SUN;D GRILLO;OE NEKRASOVA;LC WELCH;I SZLEIFER;VI GELFAND;JI SZNAJDER, “Myosin-Va restrains the trafficking of Na+/K+-ATPase-containing vesicles in alveolar epithelial cells”, Journal of Cell Science, (2009)
  • R SHVARTZMAN-COHEN;CL REN;I SZLEIFER;R YERUSHALMI-ROZEN, “An isotopic effect in self-assembly of amphiphilic block copolymers: the role of hydrogen bonds”, Soft Matter, (2009)
  • AR STATZ, JH KUANG, CL REN, AE BARRON, I SZLEIFER, PB MESSERSMITH, “Experimental and theoretical investigation of chain length and surface coverage on fouling of surface grafted polypeptoids”, BIOINTERPHASES, (2009)
  • GS LONGO, M SCHICK, I SZLEIFER, “Stability and Liquid-Liquid Phase Separation in Mixed Saturated Lipid Bilayers”, BIOPHYSICAL JOURNAL, (2009)
  • RJ NAP, I SZLEIFER, “Structure and Interactions of Aggrecans: Statistical Thermodynamic Approach”, BIOPHYSICAL JOURNAL, (2008)
  • M Tagliazucchi, EJ Calvo, I Szleifer, “A molecular theory of chemically modified electrodes with self-assembled redox ...”, Electrochimica Acta, (2008)
  • CL REN, RJ NAP, I SZLEIFER, “The Role of Hydrogen Bonding in Tethered Polymer Layers”, JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY B, (2008)
  • R SHVARTZMAN-COHEN, M FLORENT, D GOLDFARB, et al., “Aggregation and self-assembly of amphiphilic block copolymers in aqueous dispersions of carbon nanotubes”, LANGMUIR, (2008)
  • GS LONGO, DH THOMPSON, I SZLEIFER, “Ligand-receptor interactions between surfaces: The role of binary polymer spacers”, LANGMUIR, (2008)
  • M TAGLIAZUCCHI, EJ CALVO, I SZLEIFER, “Redox and acid base coupling in, ultrathin polyelectrolyte films”, LANGMUIR, (2008)