Malika Jeffries-EL, Chemistry

This research is really about fundamental science…We’re studying the relationships between structure and material properties. Once we have a polymer with a certain set of properties, what can we do?


Malika Jeffries-EL is an Associate Professor of Chemistry at Iowa State University. She received BA degrees in Chemistry and Africana Studies at Wellesley College in 1996 and Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in chemistry from The George Washington University in 1999 and 2002 respectively. After spending one year at Smith College as a Mendenhall Fellow she worked as a post-doctoral fellowship under the direction of Professor Richard D. McCullough at Carnegie Mellon University. In 2005, she joined the faculty in the Chemistry Department at Iowa State University and was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2012.

Dr. Jeffries-EL's research focuses on the development of organic semiconductors–materials that combine the processing properties of polymers with the electronic properties of semiconductors. She has authored over 30 publications, received over 1200 citations and given over 75 lectures domestically and abroad. She has won numerous awards including the 3M untenured faculty award (2008), the Emerald Honors for most promising minority scientist (2008), the Lloyd Ferguson Award from the National Organization of Black Chemist and Chemical Engineers (2009), NSF CAREER award (2009), the ISU-College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Diversity Award (2011), the ACS-Women Chemist Committee Rising Star award (2012) and the Iota Sigma Pi Agnes Fay Morgan Award (2013). She also held the ISU Gregory L. and Kathleen C. Geoffrey Faculty Fellowship (2005-2008).

She is also a dedicated volunteer and has served in several activities within the American Chemical Society including the editorial advisory board for Chemical and Engineering News, the Society Committee on Education (SocEd), the advisory board for the Women Chemist of Color Initiative, Member-at-large for the Organic Division, Program co-Chair for the Polymer division and as a councilor for her local section. She also serves the community through her work with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated (AKA), whose Lambda Upsilon Chapter happens to be MIT's first and oldest sorority. Dr. Jeffries-EL is a native of Brooklyn, New York.

National Science Foundation: 21st Century Scientists

This list contains links to the appropriate documents on the websites of the publishers. You must have an online subscription to these journals to view the document.


  1. Balaji, G.; Esfahani, M.S.; Joshi, P.; Bhattacharaya, J.; Jeffries-EL, M.; and Dalal, V. Synthesis and photovoltaic properties of a furan-diketopyrrolopyrrole-fluorene terpolymer. Eur. Polym. J. 2013, 49 (12), 3921–3928. DOI: 10.1016/j.eurpolymj.2013.08.021
  2. Hellerich, E.S., Intemann, J.J., Cai, M. Liu, R., Ewan, M.D. Tlach, B.C., Jeffries-EL, M. Shinar, R.* and Shinar, J. Fluorescent polymer guest: small molecule host solution-processed OLEDsJ.Mater Chem. C. 2013, 1, 5191-5199. DOI:10.1039/C3TC31019A
  3. Kobilka, B.M., Hale, B.J., Ewan, M.D., Dubrovskiy, A.V., Nelson, T.L., Duzhko, V. and Jeffries-EL, M.* Influence of heteroatoms on photovoltaic performance of donor-acceptor copolymers based on 2,6-di(thiophen-2-yl)benzo[1,2-b:4,5-b’]difurans and diketopyrrolopyrrole. Polym. Chem 2013, 4, 5329-5336.  DOI:10.1039/C3PY00138E.
  4. Tlach, B.C., Tomlinson, A.L., Ryno, A., Knoble, D. and Jeffries-EL, M* Influence of Conjugation Axis on the Optical and Electronic Properties of Aryl-Substituted BenzobisoxazolesJ. Org. Chem2013, 78 (13), 6570–6581. DOI: 10.1021/jo4007927
  5. Hinkens, D.M., Chen, Q, Siddiki, M.K., Gosztola, D., Tapsak, M., Qiao, Q., Jeffries-EL, M., Darling, S.B.* Model Compounds based on Poly(p-phenylenevinyleneborane) and Terthiophene:Investigating the p-n Junction in Diblock CopolymersPolymer2013, 54, 3510-3520. DOI:10.1016/j.polymer.2013.05.008.
  6. Intemann, J. J.; Mike, J. F.; Cai, M.; Xiao, T.; Shinar, R.; Shinar J.S; Jeffries-EL, M.* Synthesis, Characterization and Electroluminescence Properties of Poly(fluorenevinylene benzobisthiazoles). J. Poly. Sci. A., 2013, 51, 916-923. DOI: 10.1002/pola.26449.
  7. Intemann, J.J.; Hellerich, E.S.; Tlach, B.C.; Ewan, M.D.Barnes, C.A.; Bhuwalka, A.; Cai, M.; Shinar, J.; Shinar, R. and Jeffries-EL, M.*Altering the Conjugation Pathway for Improved Performance of Benzobisoxazole-Based Polymer Guest Emitters in PLEDs. Macromolecules, 201245, 6888-6897. DOI: 10.1021/ma300821m.
  8. Kobilka, B. M.; Dubrovskiy, A. V.; Ewan, M. D.; Tomlinson, A. L.; Larock, R. C.; Chaudhary, S.; Jeffries-El, M.*: Synthesis of 3,7-diiodo-2,6-di(thiophen-2-yl)benzo[1,2-b:4,5-b’]difurans: functional building blocks for the design of new conjugated polymers.Chem. Commun. 201248, 8919-8921. DOI:10.1039/C2CC34070D-Invited Paper: Special Issue on Aromaticity
  9. Klimavicz, J.S.; Mike, J.F.; Bhuwalka, A; Tomlinson, A.L.; Jeffries-EL, M*. Synthesis of Benzobisoxazole Based D−π-A−π-D Organic Chromophores with Variable Optical and Electronic Properties. Pure Appl. Chem., 2012, 84, (4), 991-1004. DOI:10.1351/PAC-CON-11-10-23-Invited Paper: Special Issue on the International Symposium on Novel Aromatic Systems
  10. Bhuwalka, A.; Mike, J. F.; He, M. Intemann, J.J.; Nelson, T.; Ewan, M.D.; Roggers, R.A.; Lin, Z.; Jeffries-EL, M*. Quaterthiophene-Benzobisazole Copolymers for Photovoltaic Cells: Effect of Heteroatom Placement and Substitution on the Optical and Electronic PropertiesMacromolecules, 2011, 44, 9611-9617. DOI:10.1021/ma202133e.
  11. Tlach, B.C.; Tomlinson, A.L.; Bhuwalka, A.; Jeffries-EL, M*. Tuning the Optical and Electronic Properties of 4,8-Disubstituted Benzobisoxazoles via Alkynyl SubstitutionJ. Org. Chem. 2011, 76 (21), 8670–8681DOI: 10.1021/jo201078w
  12. Mike, J. F.; Intemann, J.J.; Cai, M.; Xiao, T.; Shinar, R.; Shinar, J.; Jeffries-EL, M.* Efficient Synthesis of Benzobisazole Terpolymers Containing Thiophene and Fluorene. Polym. Chem. 201122299-2305DOI: 10.1039/C1PY00218J.
  13. Zhao, L.; Pang, X.; Adhikary, R.; Petrich, J.; Jeffries-EL, M. and Lin, Z.* Organic-Inorganic Nanocomposites by Placing Conjugated Polymers in Intimate Contact with Quantum RodsAdv. Mater., 2011, 23, 2844-2849.DOI: 10.1002/adma.201190097
  14. Mike, J F.; Nalwa, K.; Makowski, A. J.; Putnam, D.; Tomlinson A.; Chaudhary, S. and Jeffries-EL, M.* Synthesis, Characterization and Photovoltaic Properties of Poly(thiophenevinylene) Benzobisoxazoles. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 2011, 13, 1338-1344.DOI:10.1039/C0CP00353.
  15. Intemann, J. J., Mike, J. F., Cai, M., Bose, S., Xiao, T., Mauldin T. Shinar, J., Shinar, R.and Malika Jeffries-EL*. Synthesis and Characterization of Poly (9,9-dialkylfluorenevinylene benzobisoxazoles): New Solution Processable Electron-Accepting Conjugated Polymers. Macromolecules, 2011, 44 (2) 248-255. DOI:10.1021/ma102010s
  16. Mike, J.F.; Makowski, A.; Jeffries-EL, M.* Synthesis and Characterization of Dialkoxy Substituted Poly(phenylenevinylene) Benzobisoxazoles. J. Poly. Sci. A, 2010, 48 (6), 1456-1460.DOI: 10.1002/pola.23869.
  17. Mike, J.F.; Makowski, A.; Ellern, A.; Jeffries-EL, M.* Facile Synthesis of 2,6-Disubstituted Benzobisthiazoles: Functional Monomers for the Design of Organic SemiconductorsJ.Org. Chem. 2010, 75(2), 495-497DOI: 10.1021/jo9023864
  18. Byun, M.; Laskowski, Robyn K.; He, M.; Qiu,F.; Jeffries-EL, M. and Lin, Z. Controlled evaporative self-assembly of hierarchically structured regioregular conjugated polymers Soft. Mat., 2009, 5 (8), 1585-1586. DOI: 10.1039/b822998h
  19. Mike, J.F.; Makowski, A.; Jeffries-EL, M.* An Efficient Synthesis of 2,6-Disubstituted Benzobisoxazoles: New Building Blocks for Organic Semiconductors. Org. Lett2008, 10(21), 4915. DOI: 10.1021/ol802011y
  20. Xu, J., Wang, J., Mitchell, M., Mukherjee, P., Jeffries-EL, M., Petrich, J., Lin, Z, Organic-Inorganic Nanocomposites via Directly Grafting Conjugated Polymers onto Quantum Dots.  JACS2007, 129(42), 12828. DOI: 10.1021/ja074133x

    From CMU

  21. Bhatt, M.P.; Magurudeniya, H.D.; Sista, P.; Sheina, E.E.; Jeffries-EL, M.; Janesko,*  McCullough, R.D; and Stefan, M.C. Role of the transition metal in Grignard metathesis polymerization (GRIM) of 3-hexylthiophene. J. Mater. Chem. A, 2013, 1, 12841-12849.DOI: 10.1039/C3TA13258G


  22. Iovu, M.C.; Jeffries-EL, M; Sheina, E.E.; McCullough, R.D. Conducting Regioregular Polythiophene Block Copolymer Nanofibrils Synthesized by Reversible Addition Fragmentation Chain Transfer Polymerization (RAFT) and Nitroxide Mediated Polymerization (NMP).  Macromolecules2007, 40 (14) 4733-4735. DOI: 10.1021/ma070406x.
  23. Li, B.; Santhanam, S.; Schultz, L.; Jeffries-EL, M.; Iovu, M.C.; Sauvé, G.; Cooper, J.; Zhang, R.; Revelli, J.C.; Kusne, A.G.; Snyder, J.L; Kowalewski, T.; Weiss, L.E.; McCullough, R.D.; Fedder, G.K.; Lambeth, D.N.* Inkjet Printed Chemical Sensor Array Based on Polythiophene Conductive Polymers.Sensors and Actuators B. Chemical, 2007, 123(2), 651-660. Doi:10.1016/j.snb.2006.09.064.
  24. Widge, A.S.; Jeffries-EL, M.; Cui, X.; Lagenaur, C.F.; Matsuoka, Y.*Self-Assembled Monolayers of Polythiophene Conductive Polymers Improve Both Biocompatibility and Electrical Impedance of Neural Electrodes.  Biosens. and Bioelectronics2007, 22, 1723-1732.  DOI:10.1016/j.bios.2006.08.011.
  25. Iovu, M.C.; Jeffries-EL, M.; Zhang, R.; Kowalewski, T.; McCullough, R.D. Conducting Block Copolymer Nanowires Containing Regioregular Poly(3-Hexylthiophene) and Polystyrene.  J. Macromol. Sci., Part A, 2006,41, 1991-2000. DOI: 10.1080/10601320600997906.
  26. Li, B.; Iovu, M.C.; Jeffries-EL, M.;G Sauvé, G.; Zhang, R.; Cooper, J.; Santhanam, S.; Schultz, L.; Revelli, J.C.; Kusne, A.G.; Kowalewski, T.; Snyder, J.L.; Weiss, L.E.; Fedder, G.K; McCullough, R.D.; Lambeth, D.N.* Volatile Organic Compound Detection using Nanostructured Copolymers.  Nano Lett., 2006, 6(8), 1598-1602. DOI: 10.1021/nl060498o.
  27. Zhang, R.; Li, B.; Iovu, M.C.; Jeffries-EL, M.; Sauvé, G.; Cooper, J.; Jia, S.-J.; Tristam-Nagle, S.; Smilgies, D.M.; Lambeth, D.N.; McCullough, R.D.; Kowalewski, T. Nanostructure Dependence of Field-Effect Mobility in Regioregular Poly(3-hexylthiophene) Thin Film Field Effect Transistors.  J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2006, 128(11) 3480-3481. DOI: 10.1021/ja055192i.
  28. Jeffries-EL, M.; Sauvé, G.; McCullough, R.D. Facile synthesis of end-functionalized regioregular poly(3-alkylthiophene)s via modified Grignard metathesis reaction.  Macromolecules, 2005, 38, 10346-10352. DOI: 10.1021/ma051096q.
  29. Iovu, M.C.; Jeffries-EL, M.; Sheina, E.E.; Cooper, J.R.; McCullough, R.D.  Regioregular Poly(3-alkylthiophene) Conducting Block Copolymers.  Polymer, 2005, 46 (19), 8582-8586. DOI:10.1016/j.polymer.2005.05.035.
  30. Jeffries-EL, M.; Sauvé, G.; McCullough, R.D. In-situ End Group Functionalization of Regioregular Poly (3-alkylthiophene) using the Grignard Metathesis Polymerization MethodAdv. Mater.2004, 16, 1017. DOI: 10.1002/adma.20040013.


Visiting Associate Professor 2014-2015
Hosted by Professor Timothy Swager, Department of Chemistry

Malika Jeffries-EL is an Associate Professor of Chemistry at Iowa State University. Her research focuses on the development of organic semiconductors–materials that combine the processing properties of polymers with the electronic properties of semiconductors.

2014-2015 Scholar