Patrick Stayton, Institute Director

Patrick Stayton currently serves as the Washington Research Foundation Professor in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Washington. He received his B.S. in Biology (summa cum laude) from Illinois State University, his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Illinois, and was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, also at the University of Illinois. Stayton has been elected as a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and has been the recipient of the Clemson Award from the Society For Biomaterials and the CRS-Cygnus Recognition Award from the Controlled Release Society. He served as Co-Chair of the Gordon Conference on Drug Carriers in Medicine and Biology in 2010. He has also been awarded the 2009 UW College of Engineering Faculty Research Innovation Award, and a Distinguished Teacher and Mentor Award from the Department of Bioengineering.

Stayton’s eclectic research group works at the interface of molecular science and applied molecular bioengineering in the drug delivery, diagnostics, and regenerative medicine fields. Stayton has a strong interest in translational research; he has been awarded several patents and is a co-founder of the startup companies PhaseRx Inc., based on his group’s drug delivery work, and Nexgenia, based on the lab’s diagnostic work.

Stayton was named director of the Molecular Engineering and Sciences Institute in October 2011.

René Overney, Associate Director for Education

Rene Overney

Professor of Chemical Engineering René Overney has been instrumental in integrating molecular engineering into the educational landscape of the University of Washington. As Director of the NSF NUE program, he initiated the cross-disciplinary Nanoscience and Molecular Engineering (NME) Option for undergraduates as well as a modular hands-on nanotechnology laboratory workshop now offered nationally. He has developed a number of molecular engineering courses and curricula and authored one of the first textbooks in nanoscience.

Overney’s research interests lie in cognitive molecular engineering based on nanoscale fundamentals with focus on enhanced electronic, photonic, ionic, energy, momentum and mass transport properties, based on molecular relaxations and entropic cooperative properties in complex organic thin films. His group is known for its pioneering efforts in developing novel scanning probe methods towards mapping inter- and intra-molecular energetics and transitions in thin film and self-assembled systems.

Overney received his M.S. in Theoretical Physics and Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Basel in Switzerland and completed postdoctoral fellowships at both the Tokyo Institute of Technology and in Nanotechnology/Polymers at Exxon R&D. He joined the faculty of the University of Washington in 1996.