Geoffrey D. Bothun

Geoffrey Bothun

  • Professor and Chair of Chemical Engineering; Principal Investigator/Director, Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR; Director, Rhode Island Consortium for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (RIN2); Vice Chair, AIChE Nanoscale Science & Engineering Forum (NSEF)
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Office:  224 Pastore Hall
  • Phone: 401.874.9518
  • Fax: 401.874.4689
  • Email:
  • Mailing Address:
    129 Pastore Hall
    51 Lower College Road
    Kingston, RI 02881
  • Research Links
    Research Gate
    Google Scholar
  • Lab: Bionanotechnology Laboratories


Dr. Bothun joined URI in July 2006 after a Discovery Corps Postdoctoral Fellowship sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). In this role, Bothun partnered with the NSF Science & Technology Center for Environmentally Responsible Solvents & Processes (CERSP) where he conducted research in the areas of non-aqueous membrane separations and enzyme catalysis, and established an undergraduate research and development program at North Carolina A&T State University, a historically black university. The goal of this program is to advance education and diversity in science and engineering. As a graduate student, Bothun’s research was multidisciplinary in nature, merging the fields of high-pressure bioprocessing, interfacial and colloidal phenomena, and thermodynamics. Before attending graduate school he was a Process Engineer with Geobiotics Inc., a mining technology company specializing in biooxidation.


  • Nanotoxicology
  • Nanomedicine
  • Inorganic Membranes
  • Engineered Surfaces

Our research lies at the interface between biology, chemistry, and chemical engineering, utilizing engineering principles and bioinspired strategies to understand nanomaterial-cell interactions, to create novel multifunctional self-assembled therapeutics, and to engineer nanostructured and antifouling surfaces. Our research approach is experimental in nature, and utilizes advanced techniques in spectroscopy, microscopy, and calorimetry. We collaborate extensively with faculty and students from the College of Pharmacy.

Our group also examines thermodynamic and transport phenomena in non-aqueous, liquid-phase membrane separations using native and surface engineered nanoporous inorganic materials. These are critical components to future separation designs using inorganic membranes, which are chemically inert. We envision that this work could lead to new separation strategies in pharmaceutical formulation, flavors and fragrances, semiconductor cleaning, and food processing.

To facilitate this research, Professor Bothun oversees the Department of Chemical Engineering Bionanotechnology Laboratories.


  • Ph.D. University of Kentucky, 2004
  • M.S. University of Kentucky, 2001
  • B.S. Chemical Engineering, University of Nevada, Reno, 1998
  • B.S. Chemistry, University of Nevada, Reno, 1998



  • Chen, Y., Chen, Y., Xiao, D., Bose, A., Deng, R., Bothun, G.D. Low-Dose Chemotherapy of Hepatocellular Carcinoma In Vitro through Triggered-Release from Bilayer-Decorated Magnetoliposomes, Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, 116 (2014) 452-458.
  • Xi, A., Bothun, G.D. Centrifugation-based assay for examining nanoparticle-lipid membrane binding and disruption, Analyst, 139 (2014) 973-981.
  • Chen, K-L., Bothun, G.D. Nanoparticles Meet Cell Membranes: Probing Nonspecific Interactions using Model Membranes, Environmental Science & Technology, 48 (2014) 873-880.
  • Venkataramanan, K.P., Kurniawan, Y., Boatman, J.J., Haynes, C.H., Taconi, K.A., Bothun, G.D., Scholz, C. Homeoviscous Response of Clostridium pasteurianum to Butanol Toxicity During Glycerol Fermentation, Journal of Biotechnology, 179C (2014) 8-14.


  • Nasrolahi Shirazi, A., Oh, D., Tiwari, R., Sillivan, B., Gupta, A., Bothun, G., Parang, K. Peptide-Amphiphile Containing Arginine and Fatty Acyl Chains as Molecular Transporters, Molecular Pharmaceutics, 10 (2013) 4717-4727.
  • Kurniawan, Y., Scholz, C., Bothun, G.D. n-Butanol Partitioning into Phase-Separated Heterogeneous Lipid Monolayer, Langmuir, 29 (2013) 10817-10823.
  • Kurniawan, Y., Piernavienja, M., Venkataramanan, K.P., Scholz, C., Bothun, G.D. Role of Ionic Strength in Modulating n-Butanol Partitioning into Anionic Phosphatidylcholine/Phosphatidylglycerol Vesicles, The Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 117 (2013) 8484-8489.
  • Preiss, M.R., Gupta, A., Bothun, G.D. Liposome-nanoparticle assemblies, Bionanotechnology: Biological self-assembly and its applications, Caister Academic Press, Norfolk, UK, 2013.


  • Von White II, G., Chen, Y., Roder-Hanna, J., Bothun, G.D., Kitchens, C.L. Lipid Vesicles Encapsulating Hydrophobic Gold Nanoparticles: Analogies with Integral Proteins, ACS Nano, 6 (2012) 4678-4685.
  • Kurniawan, Y., Venkataramanan, K.P., Scholz, C., Bothun, G.D. n-Butanol Partitioning and Phase Behavior in DPPC/DOPC Membranes, The Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 116 (2012) 5919-5924.
  • Ahmed, S., Sushma, S., Bothun, G.D., Wunder, S.L. Formation of lipid sheaths around nanoparticle supported lipid bilayers, Small, 11 (2012) 1740-1751.
  • Venkataramanan, K.P., Boatman, J.J., Kurniawan, Y., Taconi, K.A., Bothun, G.D., Scholz, C. Impact of impurities in biodiesel-derived crude glycerol on the fermentation by Clostridium pasteurianum ATCC 6013, Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 93 (2012) 1325-1335.


  • Bothun, G.D., Lelis, A., Chen, Y., Scully, K., Anderson, L.E., Stoner, M.A. Multicomponent folate-targeted magnetoliposomes: Design, characterization, and cellular uptake, Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine, 7 (2011) 797-805.
  • Chen, Y., Bothun, G.D. Cationic gel-phase liposomes with ‘decorated’ anionic SPIO nanoparticles: Morphology, colloidal and bilayer properties, Langmuir, 27 (2011) 8654-8652.
  • Preiss, M., Bothun, G.D. Stimuli-responsive liposome-nanoparticle assemblies, Expert Opinion on Drug Delivery, 8 (2011) 1025-1040.
  • Gupta, A., Mandal, D., Ahmadibeni, Y., Parang, K., Bothun, G.D. Hydrophobicity Drives the Non-specific Cellular Uptake of Short Cationic Peptide Ligands, European Biophysics Journal, 40,6 (2011) 727-736.
  • Bothun, G.D., Priess, M., Bilayer heating in magnetite nanoparticle-liposome dispersions via fluorescence anisotropy, Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 357 (2011) 70-74.
  • Ahmed, S., Madathingal, R.R., Chen, Y., Bothun, G.D., Wunder, S.L. Hydration Repulsion Effects on the Formation of Supported Lipid Bilayers, Soft Matter, 7 (2011) 1936-1947.
  • Uganokar, S. Needham, T.E, Bothun, G.D. Solubility and partitioning of carbamazepine in a two-phase supercritical carbon dioxide/polyvinylpyrrolidone system, International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 403 (2011) 96-100.


  • Chen, Y., Bose, A., Bothun, G.D. Controlled Release from Bilayer-Decorated Magnetoliposomes via Electromagnetic Heating, ACS Nano 4 (2010) 3215-3221.
  • Xie, W., Bothun, G.D., Lehmler, H.-J. Perfluorooctane alters the phase behavior of phosphatidylcholine model membranes, Chemistry and Physics of Lipids, 163 (2010) 300-308.
  • Ye, G., Gupta, A., Deluca, R., Parang, K., Bothun, G.D. Bilayer disruption and liposome restructuring by a homologous series of small arginine-rich linear peptides, Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, 76 (2010) 76-81.


  • Bothun, G.D., Rabideau, A.E., Stoner, M.A. Hepatoma cell uptake of multi-fluorescent and cationic quantum dot liposomes, The Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 209 (2009) 7725-7728.
  • Chen, Y., Bothun, G.D. Lipid-assisted formation and dispersion of aqueous and bilayer-embedded nano-C60, Langmuir, 25 (2009) 4875-4879.
  • Bothun, G.D. Hydrophobic silver nanoparticles trapped in lipid bilayers: Size distribution, bilayer phase behavior, and optical properties, Journal of Nanobiotechnology, 6:13 (2008).
  • Bothun, G.D., Qian, N., Ilias, S. Solvent-dependent permeability in asymmetric ceramic membranes with tortuous or non-tortuous mesopores, Journal of Membrane Science, 325 (2008) 982-988.
  • Bothun, G.D., Peay, K., Ilias, S. Role of tail chemistry on liquid and gas transport through organosilane modified mesoporous ceramic membranes, Journal of Membrane Science, 301 (2007) 162-170.


  • Liu, T., Garner, P., DeSimone, J., Roberts, G.W., Bothun, G.D. Particle Formation in Precipitation Polymerization: Continuous Precipitation Polymerization of Acrylic Acid in Supercritical Carbon Dioxide, Macromolecules, 39 (2006) 6489-6494.
  • Lehmler, H.-J., Xie, W., Bothun, G.D., Bummer, P.M., Knutson, B.L. Mixing of perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) potassium salt with dipalmitoyl phosphatidylcholine (DPPC), Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, 51 (2006) 25-29.
  • Peay, K., Bothun, G.D., Anim-Mensah, A., Ilias, S. Ultrafiltration of W/CO2 microemulsions in ceramic membranes, Separation Science and Technology, 41 (2006) 2603-2612.
  • Bothun, G.D., Nelson, K., Ilias, S. Sorption and hydration effects on liquid CO2 transport through mesoporous γ-alumina and titania membranes, Journal of Membrane Science, 281 (2006) 149-155.
  • Bothun, G.D, Knutson, B.L., Strobel, H.J., Nokes, S.E. Liposome fluidization and melting point depression by compressed gas and liquid n-alkanes, Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical Aspects, 279 (2006) 50-57.
  • Bothun, G.D, Kho, Y.W., Berberich, J.A., Shofner, J., Robertson, T., Tatum, K.J., Knutson, B.L. Surface activity of lysozyme and dipalmitoyl phosphatidylcholine vesicles at compressed and supercritical fluid interfaces, The Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 109 (2005) 24495-24501.
  • Bothun, G.D, Knutson, B.L., Strobel, H.J., Nokes, S.E. Liposome fluidization and melting point depression by pressurized CO2 determined by fluorescence anisotropy, Langmuir, 21 (2005) 530-536.
  • Bothun, G.D, Knutson, B.L., Strobel, H.J., Nokes, S.E. Molecular and phase toxicity by compressed and supercritical fluids in biphasic continuous cultures of Clostridium thermocellum, Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 89 (2004) 32-41.
  • Bothun, G.D, Berberich, J.A., Knutson, B.L., Strobel, H.J., Nokes, S.E. Metabolic selectivity and growth of Clostridium thermocellum in continuous culture under elevated hydrostatic pressure, Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 65 (2004) 149-157.
  • Bothun, G.D, Knutson, B.L., Strobel, H.J., Nokes, S.E. Mass transfer in hollow fiber contactor extraction using compressed solvents, Journal of Membrane Science, 227 (2003) 183-196.
  • Bothun, G.D, Knutson, B.L., Strobel, H.J., Nokes, S.E., Brignole, E.A., Diaz, S. Compressed solvents for the extraction of fermentation products within a hollow fiber membrane contactor, Journal of Supercritical Fluids, 25 (2002) 119-134.
  • Bothun, G.D., White, K.L., Knutson, B.L. Gas antisolvent fractionation of poly (lactic acid) using compressed CO2, Polymer Journal, 43 (2002) 4445-4452.

honors & awards

NSF CAREER Award, 2011
URI College of Engineering Research Excellence Award, 2010
NSF Faculty Development Award, 2007
Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, 1995