University Research Chair & Professor

Contact InformationMichael K.C. Tam

Phone: 519-888-4567 x38339
Location: QNC 5617


Biography Summary

Michael K.C. Tam is a Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and a University Research Chair at the University of Waterloo.

His research focuses on the microscopic and macroscopic properties of nanomaterials, self-assembly systems such as surfactants, block copolymers, and associative polymers. The scope of his work includes polymer synthesis using atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP), physical characterization using light scattering (static and dynamic), rheometry, and calorimetry (ITC and DSC). Professor Tam aims to correlate the polymer architecture to the microscopic and macroscopic properties of novel self-assembly systems. The potential applications of his research are in water purification, oil and gas, bio and chemical separations, personal and home care products and environmentally friendly coating systems.

Professor Tam is also conducting research on the field of sustainable nano materials from renewable resources. In collaboration with Celluforce Inc., a company that operates the first cellulose nanocrystals pilot plant production facility, he aims to functionalize cellulose nanocrystals for water treatment, cosmetics, personal care, coatings and food, among other purposes.

In recognition of his research work, Professor Tam was presented with the Harold Jan Shoemaker Award for the best paper published in the Journal of Hydraulic Research between 1990 and 1992. Additionally in 2005, Professor Tam was the recipient of the Tan Chin Tuan Fellowship from the Physical Chemistry Division at Lund University in Sweden.

Research Interests

  • Biochemical & Biomedical
  • enhanced drug delivery systems
  • Polymer Science
  • Nanotechnology
  • Water-soluble fullerene systems
  • Responsive self-assembly systems
  • Magnetic nanoparticles for separation processes
  • Atom transfer radical polymerization
  • Stimuli responsive polymeric systems
  • Interfacial Phenomena
  • Colloids & Porous Media
  • Sustainable Nanomaterials
  • Associative polymers for environmentally friendly coatings
  • Magnetic nanoparticles for novel separation processes
  • Cellulose nanocrystals
  • Polymer-surfactant interactions
  • Additive Manufacturing
  • Water
  • Separation Processes


  • 1991, Doctorate, Chemical Engineering, Monash University
  • 1982, Bachelor's, Chemical Engineering, Monash University

Selected/Recent Publications

  • Islam, Shahid and Chen, Li and Sisler, Jared and Tam, Kam C, Cellulose Nanocrystal (CNC)--Inorganic Hybrid Systems: Synthesis, Properties and Applications, Journal of Materials Chemistry B, 6, 2018, 864 - 883
  • Zhang, Zhen and Sèbe, Gilles and Wang, Xiaosong and Tam, Kam C, Gold nanoparticles stabilized by poly (4-vinylpyridine) grafted cellulose nanocrystals as efficient and recyclable catalysts, Carbohydrate polymers, 182, 2018, 61 - 68
  • Wu, Yun and Lin, Zhi Yuan William and Wenger, Andrew C and Tam, Kam C and Tang, Xiaowu Shirley, 3D bioprinting of liver-mimetic construct with alginate/cellulose nanocrystal hybrid bioink, Bioprinting, 9, 2018, 1 - 6
  • Mohammed N., Grishkewich, N., Tam, K.C., Cellulose Nanomaterials: Promising Sustainable Nanomaterials for Water Treatment Applications, Environmental Science: Nano (Accepted in 2018)
  • Zhang, Z., Tam, K.C., Wang, X.S., Sèbe, G., Inverse Pickering Emulsions Stabilized by Cinnamate Modified Cellulose Nanocrystals as Templates to Prepare Silica Colloidosomes, ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering (Accepted in 2018)
  • Peng,P.L., Tang, R., Luo, J.H., Wang, P.M., Ding, P., Tam, K.C., Applications of Nanotechnology in Oil and Gas Industry: Progress and Perspective, Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering, 96, 2018, 91 - 100
  • Zhang, Z., Sèbe, G., Wang, X.S., Tam, K.C.,, Enhanced Thermal Stability and UV Resistance of Poly(vinyl chloride) Reinforced by UV-absorbing Cellulose Nanocrystals, ACS Applied Nano Materials, 6(2), 2018, 2583 - 2590
  • Tian, Y and Grishkewich, N and Bromberg, L and Hatton, T Alan and Tam, Kam C, Cross-linked Pluronic-g-Polyacrylic acid microgel system for the controlled release of doxorubicin in pharmaceutical formulations, European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics, 114, 2017, 230 - 238
  • Zhao, Feiping and Repo, Eveliina and Song, Yang and Yin, Dulin and Hammouda, Samia Ben and Chen, Li and Kalliola, Simo and Tang, Juntao and Tam, Kam C and Sillanpää, Mika, Polyethylenimine-cross-linked cellulose nanocrystals for highly efficient recovery of rare earth elements from water and a mechanism study, Green Chemistry, 19(20), 2017, 4816 - 4828

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