Our research is focused on polymer synthesis, high barrier materials, and active/smart coatings.


June 2020:

Congratulations to Dhwani Kansal, Syeda Shamila Hamdani, Ping Ruoqi and Dr. Rabnawaz

Dhwani Kansal paper on Starch and Zein Biopolymers as a Sustainable Replacement for PFAS, Silicone Oil, and Plastic-Coated Paper has been published online in ACS Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research (I&EC). This work provides a unique approach towards eliminating PFAS and silicone oil completely from paper coating. The dual-layer paper coating approach has been utilized to coat paper using cheap, bio-based, and renewable materials such as starch and zein. The final coated papers showed excellent water and oil resistance with “Cobb 60” values of 4.81 g/m2 and kit rating 12/12. The coated paper was completely recyclable, thermally, mechanically stable, and thus will help in minimizing the environmental footprints of packaging materials.



June 2020:

Congrats to Ajmir, Kun and our other collaborators. Click on the image below to read the open access paper

Ajmir Khan paper on the Self-healing and self-cleaning clear coating published online in Journal of Colloid and Interface Science. This work provides a new strategy to demonstrate highly transparent coating with both omniphobic as well as with self-healing properties. The obtained coatings exhibited complete healing within 10 min at 40 to 60 C with multiple time recovery.




April 2020:

Ajmir Khan paper on the High modulus, fluorine-free self-healing anti-smudge coatings published online in Progress in Organic Coating. Reported herein is a simple strategy for the fabrication of phenolic PU coatings with self-healing and self-cleaning properties as well as good mechanical strength and optical clarity.

Congrats to Ajmir, Kun and Sarwar. Click on the image below to read the open access paper.





Dhwani Kansal paper on Food-Safe Chitosan-Zein Dual-Layer Coating for Water- and Oil- Repellent Paper Substrates published online in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering. This work provides new insights on developing water and oil repellent coatings for paper substrates derived from 100% biobased and biodegradable materials such as chitosan and zein. The final coated paper showed excellent water repellency (Cobb 60 value of 4.88 g/m2) and oil repellency (Kit rating value of 12/12). The recyclability data of the coated papers shows that there is no waste left behind after repulping of the coated paper that ends up in landfills and hence this could serve as a great alternative to the low density polyethylene (LDPE) coated papers in the coming future.

Congrats to Dhwani and co-authors




Our team received MTRAC AgBIo award (25,000 USD)

 March 2020:

Zhao Li successfully defended her Ph.D. dissertation Fabrication of Water- and Oil/Grease-Resistant Paper Coating for Packaging Application.

Our latest articles




Response Surface Methodology Design for Biobased and Sustainable Coatings for Water- and Oil-Resistant Paper

February 2020: 

Our team develops coatings with self-healing and self-cleaning abilities

The article published in Paint & Coating Industry (PCI) Magazine.

January 2020:

December 2019:

Zhao Li completed 6-month co-op (Jun.-Dec. 2019) as a packaging engineer in Biogen Inc., Cambridge, MA.

November 2019: 

  • Sustainable Materials (SusMat) Group has been awarded a grant of $24,847 from US Environmental Protection Agency to develop A planet-friendly and scalable approach towards 100% recyclable water- and oil-resistant paper.
  • Sustainable Materials (SusMat) Group has been awarded a grant of $38,000 by advanced Grant Proof of Concept Fund/MSU for developing Food safe water- and oil-repellent paper substrates for food packaging.
  • Dr Rabnawaz has been nominated again for the prestigious Moore Inventor Fellowship by MSU.

April 2019:

  • A demo of our latest coating technology: 

March 2019:

  • Dr. Rabnawaz has been nominated for the prestigious Moore Inventor Fellowship by Michigan State University
  • Dr. Rabnawaz Research Team has been awarded a TSGTD grant of $100,000.
  • Dr. Rabnawaz and Dr. Aliakbarian have been awarded a TSGTD grant of $51,800.

August 2018:

  • Congratulations to Vijay Pandian for completing his Master's Thesis Defense!

July 2018: 

June 2018: 


May 2018: 

  • Congratulation Dr. Rabnawaz (Packaging) and Dr. Blanchard (Chemistry) for receiving a TSGTD grant of $100,000!

  • Congratulations to Dr. Rabnawaz's group on receiving $68,000 in M-TRAC funding!

April 2018:

Innovation Celebration 2018


  • Spherification demo was presented to students from King's High School who visited MSU on 4/17/18
  • Our group welcomes a new PhD student Zhao Li!

March 2018:

  • Dr. Rabnawaz's article, "Encapsulation of catalyst in block copolymer micelles for the polymerization of ethylene in aqueous medium," has been published in Nature Communication. Follow this link for the article: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-03253-5
  • Krystal and Nazim present a demo on spherification at Girls' Math and Science Day, hosted by the MSU chapter of Graduate Women in Science (GWIS) 

edible water bottle description


February 2018:

  • There is an open position for a Research Associate in Rabnawaz's Research Group. 

Position Summary

The research position will be focused on the synthesis of monomers and polymers especially from renewable feedstock.  Strong candidates will have an excellent track record of productivity in areas relevant to polymer and organic synthesis as well as proven expertise in the analytical  techniques such as  NMR, MALDI, GPC, etc. 

Application and more info can be found here: http://careers.msu.edu/cw/en-us/job/498684/research-associatefixed-term

January 2018:

  • Dr. Rabnawaz group has been awarded MTRAC Tier II award for the development of high barrier plastics. 

  • A warm welcome to our newest research group members - Doctoral student Burhan and Postdoctoral student Nazim

 December 2017:

November 2017:

  • A postdoctoral research associate position is available in the School of Packaging at Michigan State University in the research group of Professor Muhammad Rabnawaz. The research position will be focused on the development of functional polymer coatings with emphasis on epoxy and polyurethane coatings. This position will also involve the development of spray, cast and dip coating methodologies for the epoxy and polyurethane coatings. Also, the candidate is expected to conduct properties (mechanical, adhesion, abrasion, and surface tensions) assessments for these coatings. The position will begin January 1, 2018

    http://www.careers.msu.edu/cw/ en-us/job/498174/research- associatefixed-term

  • Our latest article in Journal of Molecular Structures


  • Student visit from ​Reeths-Puffer school. We did polyurethane based experiments to show the school kids how important and significant science is and how packaging plays a major role in our environment 
  • A new Master's student has joined our research group. Welcome aboard Krystal.

October 2017:

  • ​​Dr. Rabnawaz’s interview with FOODLINE RADIO related to “The current and future in plastic packaging" Please click the link to listen to the radio interview http://www.coopradio.org/content/foodline (10/16/2017)
  •  We have filed our 6th invention disclosure in 2017. 

September 2017:

  • Our article in Green Chemistry

green pack1