Joseph A. Gardella, Jr.


Joe Gardella.

Joseph A. Gardella, Jr.


Joseph A. Gardella, Jr.


Research Interests

Surface and analytical chemistry; Environmental chemistry and public policy; K-12 science/technology education; Surface chemistry of polymer controlled release technologies; Polymer reaction kinetics; Chemical imaging of surfaces; Environmental chemistry using geographic information analysis of spatial chemical data


  • Exxon Education Foundation Fellow, 1989-1991
  • Lawrence M. Gelb Foundation Fellow, 1986-1989
  • Faculty Intern, University of Utah, 1981-1982
  • PhD, University of Pittsburgh, 1981
  • BA, Philosophy; B. S., Chemistry, Oakland University, 1977

Professional Activities

  • Member, US Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board, 9/16-9/22

Awards and Honors

  • National Science Foundation Award for Special Creativity (1991-93)
  • SUNY Chancellor’s Medals for Excellence in Teaching (1996), Faculty Professional Service (2004) and Scholarly and Creative
  • Activity (2005)
  • Distinguished Alumni Award, Oakland University (1999)
  • 72nd Jacob M. Schoellkopf Medal, WNY American Chemical Society (2002)
  • Inventor of the Year Award, (27th), Niagara Frontier Intellectual Property and Law Association and Niagara Frontier Technical
  • Societies Council (2002)
  • Ernest A. Lynton Award for Faculty Public Professional Service and Academic Outreach, New England Resource Center for
  • Higher Education (NERCHE) (2003)
  • Elected Fellow of the AVS (2004)
  • Presidential Award for Excellence in Sciences, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM), The White House and
  • National Science Foundation (2005)
  • Elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), February 2007
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 2016 Environmental Champion Award, Region 2 EPA, New York, NY, May 2016


Polymer surface chemistry and analysis; Polymer biomaterials and tissue engineering; Surface chemistry of drug delivery and controlled release; Surface chemistry of inorganic semiconductor materials; ESCA; ion formation in Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS).

Research Summary

The field of surface science encompasses many aspects of chemistry, physics, biology and materials science and engineering. Research projects performed in my group have as a primary goal the solution of molecular and macromolecular structure at surfaces and interfaces. The research programs undertaken by my students encompass interdisciplinary science and engineering aspects in tissue engineering, semiconductors for photonic and magnetic applications, environmental science and biomedical engineering, where interfacial organic, biological and polymeric films have importance. Most experiments performed in our laboratories revolve around surface characterization methods, especially spectroscopic techniques like X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS or ESCA), Low Energy Ion Scattering Spectrometry (ISS), Imaging Time of Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS), Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) and High Resolution Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy (HREELS). We have benefited from the establishment of other facilities (Scanning Auger Microscopy, Electron Microscopy, Clean Rooms, thin film preparation, etc.), along with a large group of colleagues in Physics, Biology and Engineering, the UB Medical School and Roswell Park Cancer Institute. This provides for a stimulating atmosphere for conducting surface science research. Students pursuing degrees in my group will have opportunities to interact with these scientists and really learn about what I think are the most exciting challenges in surface science.

Our research can be classified into three types of studies, the first being where we try to describe the details of interactions of ion, electron and photon beams with organic and polymeric model surfaces. One example of this type of work involves ongoing efforts using Langmuir Blodgett films as models for polymer surfaces, metal/organic interfaces and biological films. Using SIMS, we have developed a means for determining quantitative relationships between molecular ions and surface concentrations. We think this is a breakthrough, since it would allow the use of SIMS to solve questions about polymer surface reactivity, composition of biological films at surfaces and metal polymer adhesion with quantitative information. Drs. Joe Wandass, Paula Cornelio, Kevin Hook, Bob Johnson, Jian Xin Li, Cara Weitzsacker, Yuezhong Du, Rich Nowak, Dan Ammon Limin Sun and Alan Piwowar have earned Ph.D’s in this area.

A second area of interest is the description of microstructure at the surface of multicomponent polymer systems. We have been especially interested recently in the reaction chemistry that occurs at polymer surfaces. In particular, we are interested in the reaction of polymer surfaces with water; to understand the fundamentals of how polymers react with or respond to environmental or biological systems. We are interested in both the reactive hydrolysis of degradable (hydrolysable) polymers and the rearrangement of polymer surfaces under challenge by water. For these studies we combine the results from many surface sensitive techniques to solve the in depth profile of composition, structure and bonding of block copolymers, blends and highly crystalline polymers. We try to develop methods of analysis which address the precise details of interchain bonding and arrangement and develop models of the surface using ISS, angular dependent ESCA, FTIR and other methods. The broad use of multicomponent polymer materials in applications as diverse as biocompatible materials, composites and devices dictates a molecular level view of the surface composition, and a theoretical understanding of the forces which drive the surface to be different than the bulk. Professors Phil Kumler (SUNY Fredonia), Won Ki Lee (Pukyong National University, Korea), Maurizio Toselli (University of Bologna, Italy), Ilario Losito (University of Bari, Italy), and Drs. Robert Schmitt, James Schmidt, Hengzhong Zhuang, Xin Chen, Helen Lee, Mike Clark, Jiaxing Chen. Eric Mittlefehldt. Jin Zhao, Yuanxue Hou, Christine Mahoney, Adam Hawkridge, George Tulevski, Wen Yan Yan, Joo Woon Lee, Dan Hook and Lu Chen have all participated in this work.

Our final area of study involves the application of these methods of characterization to the study of biological surfaces, specifically materials used in tissue engineering, wound healing or drug delivery devices. We have developed new treatments, new materials and combined these into drug delivery and wound healing membranes and devices. We study protein interactions with surfaces, and drug delivery from surfaces. With these data, Drs. Terry Vargo, Evan Bekos, Fabienne Fally. Patrick Schamberger, Norma Gatica, Rafael Alicea-Maldonado, Denise Brylinski, and Dan Hook have described synthetic methods of tailoring surface composition, using polymer synthesis and surface and plasma chemistry which can provide new materials for application.

Recent Publications (last five years)

  • Shohini Sen-Britain, Derek Britain, Wesley Hicks, and Joseph A. Gardella Jr., "ToF-SIMS and TIRF microscopy investigation on the effects of HEMA copolymer surface chemistry on spatial localization, surface intensity, and release of fluorescently labeled keratinocyte growth factor” Biointerphases, 2019, 14 (5) doi: 10.1116/1.5119871.
  • Yang Yang, Xiufeng Liu, Joseph A. Gardella, Jr., ‘Effects of a Professional Development Program on Science Teacher Knowledge and Practice, and Student Understanding of Interdisciplinary Science Concepts” Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 2020, 1-30 DOI: 10.1002/tea.21620
  • Pennante Bruce-Vanderpuije, David Megson, Gareth Rhys Jones, Karl Jobst, Eric Reiner, Edith Clarke, Sam Adu-Kumi and Joseph A. Gardella Jr., Infant dietary exposure to dioxin-like PCBs, PBDD/Fs & PXDD/Fs from human milk of Ghanian lactating mothers, Chemosphere,  Accepted, in press.
  • Bruce-Vanderpuije, P., Megson, D., Jobst, K., Jones, G.R., Reiner, E., Sandau, C.D., Clarke, E., Adu-Kumi, S., Gardella, J.A., 2019. Background levels of dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (dlPCBs), polychlorinated, polybrominated and mixed halogenated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs, PBDD/Fs & PXDD/Fs) in sera of pregnant women in Accra, Ghana. Science of the Total Environment 673, 631-642 (2019).
  • Pennante Bruce-Vanderpuije, David Megson, Eric J. Reiner, Lee Bradley, Sam Adu-Kumi, Joseph A. Gardella Jr., "The state of POPs in Ghana- A review on persistent organic pollutants: Environmental and human exposure" Environmental Pollution 245 (2019) 331-342.
  • Shohini Sen-Britain, Wesley L. Hicks, Robert Hard, and Joseph A. Gardella. “Differential 0orientation and conformation of surface-bound keratinocyte growth factor on (hydroxyethyl)methacrylate, (hydroxyethyl)methacrylate/methyl methacrylate, and (hydroxyethyl)methacrylate/methacrylic acid hydrogel copolymers”, Biointerphases 13 (6) 2019
  • Angelina Montes, Mary A. Bisson, Joseph A. Gardella, Jr., Diana S. Aga. "Uptake and transformations of engineered nanomaterials: Critical responses observed in terrestrial plants and the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana (Review)", Science of the Total Environment, 607–608 2017 1497–1516
  • Ke Zeng, Joshua S. Wallace, Christopher Heimburger, Kohei Sasaki, Akito Kuramata, Takekazu Masui, Joseph A. Gardella Jr. and Uttam Singisetti, "Ga2O3 MOSFETs using Spin-on-Glass Source/Drain Doping Technology" IEEE Electron Device Letters 2017, 38(4), 513-16, DOI: 10.1109/LED.2017.2675544.
  • Yang Yang, Xiufeng Liu and Joseph A. Gardella Jr., "Effects of Professional Development on Teacher Pedagogical Content Knowledge, Inquiry Teaching Practices, and Student Understanding of Interdisciplinary Science", Journal of Science Teacher Education 2018, 29(4), 263-282. DOI:
  • Tammy M. Milillo, Gaurav Sinha, Christopher M. Case, Joseph A. Gardella Jr., Determining site-specific background level with geostatistics for remediation of heavy metals in neighborhood soils", AIMS Environmental Science, 2017, 4(2): 323-347. doi: 10.3934/environsci.2017.2.323
  • Joshua S. Wallace, Austin Quinn, Joseph A. Gardella, Jr.,, Da Huang, Jing Hu, Eric Siu-Wai Kong, Han-Ik Joh, “Beyond Defect Formation: Spectroscopic Characterization of Plasma-induced Structural and Electronic Transformations in Graphene” J. Vac. Sci. Technol.,A., 2016, 34, 061502 ; doi: 10.1116/1.4962287.
  • Shaohui Chi, Xiufeng Liu and Joseph A. Gardella, "Measuring University Students’ Perceived Self-efficacy In Science Communication in Middle and High Schools", Universal Journal of Educational Research, 2016, 4(5): 1089-1102,  DOI: 10.13189/ujer.2016.040519.
  • Joshua S. Wallace, Austin Quinn, Joseph A. Gardella Jr., Jing Hu, Eric Siu-Wai Kong and Han-Ik Joh, “Time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry as a tool for evaluating the plasma induced hydrogenation of graphene”, J. Vac. Sci. Technol., B 2016, 34, 03H113; doi: 10.1116/1.4942086.
  • Tammy M. Milillo, Mary E. Miller, Remo Fischione, Angelina Montes and Joseph A. Gardella Jr., “Segment fusion of ToF-SIMS images”, Biointerphases 2016, 11, 02A308; doi: 10.1116/1.4939680.
  • Ye Jia, Joshua S. Walllace, Yueling Qin, Joseph A. Gardella, Jr., Amir M. Dabiran and Uttam Singisetti, “Band Offset Characterization of the Atomic Layer Deposited Aluminum Oxide on m-Plane Indium Nitride” Journal of Electronic Materials, 2015, DOI: 10.1007/s11664-015-4175-9.
  • Ye Jia, Ke Zeng, Joshua S. Wallace, Joseph A Gardella, and Uttam Singisetti, “Spectroscopic and electrical calculation of band alignment between atomic layer deposited SiO2 and ß-Ga2O3 (2 ¯ 01)", Applied Physics Letters 2015, 106, 102107; doi: 10.1063/1.4915262.
  • Michelle D. Marchany, Joseph A. Gardella Jr. and Timothy J. Kuchera., "Time of flight secondary ion mass spectrometry surface and in-depth study of degradation of nanosheet poly(l-lactic acid) films", Biointerphases, 2015, 10, 019010; DOI: 10.1116/1.4908206.
  • Tammy Milillo, Robert Hard, Brett Yatzor, Mary Ellen Miller and Joseph Gardella, "Image fusion combining SEM and ToF-SIMS images" Surf. Interface Anal. 2015, 47, 371–376, DOI 10.1002/sia.5719.
  • Brooke L. Grant, Xiufeng Liu & Joseph A. Gardella, "Supporting the Development of Science Communication Skills in STEM University Students: Understanding their learning experiences as they work in middle and high school classrooms" International Journal of Science Education, Part B: Communication and Public Engagement, 2015, 5(2), 139-160, published online 1/2/2014, DOI: 10.1080/21548455.2013.872313.