Faculty Directory

Briber, Robert M.

Briber, Robert M.

Special Assistant to the President for Strategic Initiatives
Associate Dean for Research
Fellow, APS
Fellow, Neutron Scattering Society of America
Materials Science and Engineering
Maryland Energy Innovation Institute
3110B Kim Eng. Bldg. / 1109 Chemical and Nuclear Eng. Bldg.


  • Ph.D., Polymer Science and Engineering, University of Massachusetts
  • B.S., Materials Science and Engineering, Cornell University


  • Neutron Scattering Society of America, Award for Exceptional Service Award, 2006, 2018
  • Neutron Scattering Society of America, Fellow (elected 2014)
  • American Physical Society, Fellow (elected 1995)
  • Department of Commerce Bronze Medal, December 1990
  • Electron Microscope Society of America Presidential Student Scholarship, 1982
  • Editor, Journal of Polymer Science—Polymer Physics Edition (01/1999-01/2007)


Professional Elected Offices
  • Elected to the ASEE Engineering Research Council Board of Directors 2017-2021, 2023-2024 
  • Neutron Scattering Society of America, President 2002-2005
  • Neutron Scattering Society of America, vice president 1999-2002
  • Member-at-Large to the Executive Committee of the Division of Polymer Physics, American Physical Society, 1999-2002
Professional Memberships
  • American Soceity for Engineering Education
  • American Physical Society (Fellow)
  • Neutron Scattering Society of America (Fellow)
  • Materials Research Society
  • American Chemical Society
  • Biophysical Society
Professional Committee Memberships
  • Member of the ASEE Engineering Research Council Board of Directors 2017-2021, 2023-2024
  • NIST Center for Neutron Research Program Advisory Committee, member 1999 to 2004
  • University of Chicago Review Committee for the Intense Pulsed Neutron Source at Argonne National Laboratory 1997, 1999, 2001
  • Large Length Scales Working Group, Spallation Neutron Source, Oak Ridge National Lab, Dept. of Energy, November 1998
  • Basic Energy Science Advisory Committee Review of the High Flux Isotope Reactor at Oak Ridge National Lab, October 1998
  • Scheduling Committee, American Physical Society, Division of High Polymer Physics March Meeting, 1994-1998
  • Los Alamos—Argonne National Laboratory Pulsed Neutron Source Program Advisory Committee 1993-1997 (Chair 1996-97)
  • Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) Research Award Committee, 1994-1997
  • American Physical Society Division of High Polymer Physics Nominations Committee
  • NASA Microgravity Research Review Panel for Polymers, 1995, 1997

Polymer science, polymer physics, biopolymers, X-ray and neutron scattering, polymer thermodynamics, structure and morphology of polymers.

Cellulose and Cellulose Derivatives

Cellulose is the most abundant biopolymer on the planet and can form the basis for sustainable advanced materials.  We are exploring all-cellulose nanocomposites, sythesis of cellulose oligomers through acid hydrolysis and the solubility and properties of cellulose/ionic liquid solutions.

Synthesis and Characterization of Nanocomposites with Improved Flammability

Polymer nanocomposites formed from layered silicates have been shown to have improved mechanical properties silicate is distributed in an exfoliated or intercalated morphology. We are working with collaborators in both the Fire Protection Engineering Department at the University of Maryland and the Fire Research Division at NIST to synthesis and characterize polymer nanocomposites with improved flammability.

Folding of RNA

RNAs perform many biological functions by folding into specific three-dimensional structures. Understanding how RNAs fold is crucial for understanding the assembly of RNA-protein complexes such as the ribosome, the regulation of gene expression by RNA, and the engineering of RNA sensors and "riboswitches". In the presence of counterions, RNAs collapse into compact intermediates, which subsequently fold into the native tertiary structure. We are addressing these questions using X-ray and neutron scattering to address the structure, kinetics and dynamics of the RNA folding process.

Professor Briber teaches a range of classes at both the undergraduate and graduate level.

At the undergraduate level he has taught:

  • ENES 100: Introduction to Engineering Design
  • ENMA 150: Materials of Civilization

    This is an I-Series Course and a University of Maryland Marquee Science and Technology Course designed for non-science majors. 
  • ENMA 300: Introduction to Materials and Their Applications
  • ENMA 423: Manufacturing with Polymers

At the graduate level, Dr. Briber has taught:

  • ENMA 620: Polymer Physics (MSE Graduate Program core course)
  • ENMA 661: Kinetics of Reactions in Materials (MSE Graduate Program core course)

‘Flash Heating’ Technology Preserves Food at No Nutritional Cost

An interdisciplinary study among engineers and food scientists revealed a new food preservation technology that could improve quality and nutrition value.

Celebrating the Life of Manfred Wuttig: Long-Time Educator, Mentor and Friend of the Department

The inaugural chair and professor of the department passed away in December 2023, leaving a mark in a community touched by his kindness, wisdom and passion.

Reflecting on 20 Years of Excellence and Innovation

Materials Science and Engineering celebrated its anniversary on November 7, 2023.

Selected Publications from NanoCenter's AIM Lab and FabLab

Highlighting recent research performed at the NanoCenter AIM Lab and FabLab.

Natalie Schwab Wins Outstanding Student Poster Presentation Award

Schwab, a MSE Graduate Student, was honored at the 2022 American Conference on Neutron Scattering.

Robert Briber Appointed Special Assistant to the President for Strategic Initiatives

Dr. Briber will assist with presidential initiatives while continuing to serve as the associate dean for research in Engineering at Maryland.

Expanded Wood Fiber for High-Performance Solid-State Paper Batteries

UMD research group invented the first high-performance solid-state paper batteries by a new molecular scale engineering method.

Convocation to Shine Spotlight on Faculty, Staff Accomplishments

Six Clark School faculty and staff will be honored at UMD's 38th annual Convocation on Sept. 15, 2021.

Maryland Engineering ranked #12 public undergraduate program in the country

For the third consecutive year, the Clark School's rises in U.S. News & World Report ranking.

Georgia Tech Professor, Researcher Named Dean of Clark School

Mechanical engineering leader Samuel Graham, Jr. to take helm October 1.

Clark School Innovators Honored with Invention of the Year Award Nominations

Among the nine 2021 Invention of the Year nominees, four are led by or include Clark School researchers.

Maryland Graduate Engineering Ranked #10 Public in the Nation

From extreme batteries to windows made from wood, Clark School’s trendsetting work ranks it among the country’s Top 10 public engineering schools for the 3rd consecutive year.

A Little Persistence, A Lot of Determination

MSE Alumni Tony Ying ('94) discusses his evolution as an engineer.

Dean Briber Honors Faculty with Research, Teaching Awards

Each year, the dean of the University of Maryland’s A. James Clark School of Engineering honors exemplary faculty members for their dedication to excellence in research and teaching.

Clark School Undergraduate Programs Move Up in U.S. News & World Report Rankings

The Clark School moved up three spots, to No. 22 from 25 nationally, among undergraduate engineering programs in U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 Best Colleges report released today. The Clark School ranks as No. 12 among public institutions.

MSE Professor Manfred Wuttig Retires, Transitions to Emeritus Professor

Wuttig contributed greatly to the Department for over 40 years.

Legacy through Impact: Dr. Darryll J. Pines

UMD President-Designate Darryll Pines inspires a culture of excellence at the Clark School, where everyone plays a part.

Hafezi, Hu Named Blavatnik Finalists for Second Straight Year

For the second year in a row, two Clark School faculty members have been named Finalists of the Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists.

Robert Briber Named Interim Dean of Clark School

Professor Robert Briber has been named Interim Dean of the University of Maryland’s A. James Clark School of Engineering, effective April 1, 2020.

MSE Chair JC Zhao Receives Prestigious William Hume-Rothery Award

Dr. Zhao will be honored at the 2021 annual TMS meeting in Orlando, Fl.

MSE Hosts University Materials Council Spring 2019 Meeting

Chairs from across the country gathered to review MSE activities at UMD.

Wood-based Technology Creates Electricity from Heat

MSE research team develops novel heat-conversion membrane.

Transportation@Maryland Workshop Promotes Multi-Disciplinary Collaboration on Future Mobility Systems

Participants included researchers from 10 colleges and 15 research centers.

MSE Research Team Wins Seed Grant Funding for Novel Sensor Technology

Drs. Oded Rabin, Robert Briber and Xin Zhang will utilize funding to develop fiber-optic sensor.

Prof. Ray Phaneuf Appointed Acting Chair of Materials Science and Engineering

Professor Robert M. Briber named Clark School Associate Dean for Research.

New Software Will Enhance Materials Science and Engineering’s Undergraduate Program

UMD wins one of six computational design toolkits from ASM International.

MSE Announces 2015 Thesis and Dissertation Awards

Gu, Kozen will represent MSE in Dean’s Clark School-level competition.

MSE Alumnus Receives Inaugural Clark School Early Career Award

Nagarajan Valanoor (Ph.D. '01) honored at recent ceremony.

Hu, Leite Named Outstanding Engineer and Scientist of the Year (VIDEO)

Materials Science professors receive awards from the Md. Academy of Sciences and Md. Science Center.

ASPIRE Award Supports Undergrad’s Solar Cell Research

Allen Chang is developing alloyed nanoparticles designed to boost performance, reduce costs.

Clark School Announces MRI Program Award Winners

MRI proposals support strategic, interdisciplinary research areas

2013-2014 MSE Undergraduate Awards

Exceptional students recognized at annual ceremony.

Nanopaper Featured in Nature Photonics News & Views

Article highlights Hu Group’s recent paper in Nano Letters.

Briber Elected Fellow of the Neutron Scattering Society of America

Professor recognized for research and service.

Over Half of Tenured MSE Professors Are UMD "Research Leaders"

Division of Research honors faculty for funded research.

Koeth Named Acting Director of Radiation Facilities

Research professor will manage training reactor, irradiator and linear accelerators.

Agilent Gift Funds Exploration of Enhanced Sensor Technology

Novel, patterned-gold SERS substrates could lead to new products.

2012-2013 MSE Undergraduate Awards

Exceptional students recognized at annual ceremony.

MSE Announces Graduate Research Awards

Cornett, Varongchayakul will advance to compete at Clark School-level.

Kukla Contributes Expertise in Fuel Cell Modeling to New Book

Chapter demonstrates cyclical approach incorporating experimental results.

Air Force Supports Study on Nanopaper for Electronics, Aircraft

Hu wins prestigious Air Force Young Investigator Award.

"Materials of Civilization" Course Featured in Chronicle of Higher Education

Story highlights UMD's innovative general education curriculum.

Rubloff Co-Authors Major DoE Report on Emerging Energy Technologies

Publication focuses on opportunities in mesoscale science.

Cornett, Karki Selected for Sustainable Energy Workshop in Ethiopia

Grad students to attend Joint U.S.-Africa Materials Initiative Materials Research School.

How Technology Choices Affect Us All: I-Course Examines Contexts and Consequences

ENMA 289A designed to fulfill core physical science requirement for students in non-science majors.

Foecke Receives Science Teaching Award

MAST honors MSE adjunct professor for work in educating undergraduates.

MSE Faculty Are UMD "Research Leaders"

Half of department's full-time faculty honored by Division of Research.

Jones, Syed Win NIST-ARRA Fellowships

Undergraduates conducting research at NIST's Material Measurement Lab.

Maryland Hosts Mid-Atlantic Soft Matter Workshop

Interdisciplinary scientists find a "soft and squishy" common ground.

Cumings Promoted

Faculty member becomes Associate Professor, receives tenure, effective July 1.

Daunheimer Wins MSE Graduate Research Award

Student will represent department in college-level competition.

2011-2012 MSE Undergraduate Awards

Exceptional students recognized by the Department, Clark School, and professional societies.

Hogg Wins Postdoc Poster Symposium

NIST-ARRA fellow recognized for work on using noise to learn more about true signals.

Kozen Selected for Future Faculty Program

Graduate student joins highly selective cohort.

Briber Named 2012-2013 Distinguished Scholar-Teacher

Professor recognized for efforts to promote science and engineering education at all levels.

MSE@UMD Grads: The Next Generation of Faculty, Part 3

Shenqiang Ren (Ph.D. '09): The Department of Chemistry at the University of Kansas

MSE@UMD Grads: The Next Generation of Faculty, Part 1

Parag Banernjee (Ph.D. '11): Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science at Washington University in St. Louis.

Cumings Wins Clark School's Junior Faculty Outstanding Research Award

Professor recognized for nanoscale and electron microscopy research.

Jones Wins TMS Scholarship

Materials society invites undergraduate to national meeting to receive award.

UMD, NIST Expand Alliance

Partnership supports students, faculty and postdoc research in nanobiotechnology, cybersecurity, computing, and sensors.

2010-2011 MSE Undergraduate Awards

Students recognized at annual Clark School event.

Briber Marquee Lecture: "Materials of Civilization"

Talks promote public awareness of science's role in society.

Shih Wins NIST-ARRA Fellowship

Grad student studies polymer/nanoparticle system for potential use in biomedical applications.

Takeuchi Elected APS Fellow

Cited for pioneering work in combinatorial materials science.

UMD Hosts Ionizing Radiation and Polymers Symposium

Event chaired by MSE Professor Mohamad Al-Sheikhly.

$15M Neutron Scattering Collaboration with NIST Renewed

Briber leads effort to develop new instrumentation, measurement techniques.

Metting and Hsieh Take 2nd, 3rd in ACNS Poster Competition

Graduate students' work recognized at 2010 American Conference on Neutron Scattering.

First Measurement Science Fellowship Positions Announced

New program funded by $15.5 million award from NIST.

NIST Awards UM $15.5 Million in Fellowships

Program to benefit Clark School undergraduate and graduate students, research programs.

2009-2010 MSE Undergraduate Awards

Students recognized at annual Clark School event.

Biofuel Technologies Featured on CBS News

Segment highlights poplar research, Zymetis' cellulose-digesting bacterium.

Briber, Watson Receive MIPS Funding for Work with Zymetis

Program awards over $100K to further development of solvent used in biofuel production.

Briber, Oehrlein Courses Selected for I-Series

Faculty bring innovative science education to non-majors.

Oehrlein, Arsenault Highly Cited Worldwide

Professors featured on Thomson Reuters' ISIHighlyCited.com.

Non-Majors Delve Into Materials Science

Marquee Course demonstrates how materials science has shaped civilization.

5 Professors Named 2009 Research Leaders

Faculty honored by university for bringing substantial sponsored research funds to campus.

MSE Affiliate, Collaborator Named Director of ISR

Ghodssi to take office October 1.

2008-2009 MSE Undergraduate Awards

Students recognized at annual Clark School event.

Ren Wins Dean's Doctoral Research Award

Grad student takes 1st place and $1500 prize.

Ren Wins Inaugural MSE Doctoral Thesis Award

Student recognized for research in multiferroic nanocomposite materials.

Materials and Interface Nanotechnology Laboratory Opens

Research will include work on nanoparticles, nanowires.

6 Professors Named 2008 Research Leaders

Briber, Phaneuf, Rabin, Rubloff, Takeuchi and Wuttig honored at luncheon.

Shin Selected for National School on Neutron, X-ray Scattering

Grad student will attend 2-week program at Argonne, Oak Ridge.

Briber Re-Appointed MSE Chair

2nd term begins July 1.

Briber Presents at ACNS Plenary Session

Covers past, present and future of soft matter and neutron scattering.

Bruce to Attend NSF Program in Australia

Program fosters collaborations, provides project leadership training.

Open House Attracts Prospective Students, MSE Majors

Guests introduced to MSE faculty, program, facilities and students.

Undergraduate Honors and Awards Recipients, 2007-2008

MSE recognizes Tapp, Senagore and Heikes.

Collaboration on Copolymers Between NIST and U-Md. in the News

Advances in block copolymer research may lead to new microelectronics.

Graduate Society Receives MRS Charter

Group recognized at Fall Meeting.

NSF Boosts Nanotech Curriculum

MSE, ME faculty and staff develop new lessons, teaching lab.

MSE Faculty Continues to Produce "Research Leaders"

Professors honored for their efforts to bring sponsored research funds to campus.

New Hydrogen Storage Materials to Fuel Next-Generation Vehicles

Clark School/NIST Collaboration works to make hydrogen fuel a practical reality.

Briber Teaches New "Marquee Course"

Course examines how new materials have shaped history.

MSE Undergraduates Honored

Clark School Honors and Awards Ceremony 2006-2007

5 MSE Professors Recognized for Sponsored Research

Briber, Oehrlein, Phaneuf, Rubloff, and Wuttig honored at luncheon.

Briber Participates In Project Supported By $14M NSF Grant

MSE Professor and Chair will subcontract for CalTech.

NanoCenter Funding Means Major Advances for MSE Department

New equipment and expanded capabilities to come.

New Chair for Materials Science and Engineering

Professor Robert M. Briber will assume the position of chair of the materials science and engineering department, effective July 1, 2003.

  • Neutron Scattering Society of America

  • APS