WIN Team

Michael K. C. Tam

Professor, Chemical Engineering; University Research Chair

My research focuses on the development of well-defined block copolymers and responsive functional microgels for the development of better delivery vehicles and separation media for drug/gene delivery and protein purification. The group focuses on the microscopic and macroscopic properties of self-assembly systems such as surfactants, block copolymers, colloids and fullerenes.

It contains three key parts, (a) controlled polymer synthesis, (b) physical characterization of well-defined polymeric systems and microgels, (c) applications in delivery systems and purification processes.

The scope of his research includes polymer synthesis using Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization (ATRP), physical characterization using light scattering (static and dynamic), rheometry, and calorimetry (Isothermal Titration Calorimetry (ITC) and Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC). The objective is to correlate the polymer architecture to the microscopic and macroscopic properties of novel self assembly systems. The potential applications of his research are in enhanced drug release, gene therapy, bio and chemical separations, and environmentally friendly coating systems.

Dr Tam studied Chemical Engineering at Monash University, Australia, and graduated with a PhD in 1991. He then spent 18 months on a postdoctoral fellowship with Professor Bob Pelton at the Department of Chemical Engineering, McMaster University, Canada. In 1992, he took up an academic position at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and was promoted to full professor in 2004. He moved to the University of Waterloo in July 2007.


  • PhD, Chemical Engineering, Monash University, Australia, 1991
  • BEng, Monash University, Australia
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