Charles Diesendruck

2018 Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists in Israel

Charles Diesendruck

Current Position: Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Institution: Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, Schulich Faculty of Chemistry

Discipline: Polymer Chemistry

Recognized for: Advancing the field of mechanochemistry through the development of new chemical transformations to produce novel polymeric materials. These “smart” materials possess novel properties, such as the ability to self-heal.

Areas of Research Interest and Expertise: Mechanochemistry, materials science, polymer chemistry, synthetic methodology, chemical analysis of materials, new membranes for alkaline fuel cells

Charles Diesendruck


BSc, Analytical & Environmental Chemistry, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
MSc/PhD in Organometallic Chemistry, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (Advisor: Prof. N. G. Lemcoff)
Postdoc, Beckman Institute for Advanced Science & Technology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Advisor: Prof. Jeffrey S. Moore)

Dr. Diesendruck’s research is focused on the resurgent field of “mechanochemistry,” which can be defined as the use of mechanical stress to induce chemical transformations. Mechanochemistry relies on multiple disciplines of chemistry, such as theoretical modeling to predict mechanochemical transformations, synthetic chemistry to tune the molecular structure according to an intended design, analytical chemistry to measure the transformations at the single molecule level, physical-organic chemistry to understand the reaction mechanism, and materials and polymer science to examine the macroscopic properties of novel materials.

Because many materials that we encounter in our daily lives are polymeric in nature and subject to mechanical stress, a common theme in mechanochemistry is the desire to produce materials that respond when damaged by outside forces, either by reporting the damage, self-reinforcing or even regenerating. Such systems may one day find widespread application in smart materials, where the loss of properties due to aging or mechanical damage is reversed or even eliminated, subsequently extending the lifetime of materials, increasing safety of materials in transportation, decreasing the amount of waste, and making recycling much simpler.

Dr. Diesendruck has also established a program focused on the development of innovative chemical transformations that might help expedite the production of new polymer materials with tunable properties. The development of novel reaction pathways can be transformative not only to polymer chemists, but to the entire synthetic chemistry community.

“Chemistry is known as the central science; as such, it should strive to erase its borders and impact neighboring fields. We seek to understand the connection between chemistry and mechanics, looking at how stress affects molecules, and how small changes in molecules transform the mechanical response of materials. I am honored to be chosen as the inaugural Chemistry Laureate for the Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists in Israel, and it is my hope that this award inspires future scientists to search for questions that cross the imaginary boundaries of the different sciences, and hopefully find the clues to their answers at the molecular level.”

Key Publications:

  1. Levy, A.; Wang, F.; Lang, A.; Galant, O.; Diesendruck, C.E. “Intramolecular Cross-Linking: Addressing Mechanochemistry with a Bioinspired Approach”, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2017, 56, 6431–6434
  2. Dekel, D.; Amar, M.; Willdorf, S.; Kosa, M.; Dhara, S.; Diesendruck, C.E. “The effect of water on the stability of quaternary ammonium groups for anion exchange membrane fuel cell applications”, Chem. Mater., 2017, 29, 4425–4431.
  3. Diesendruck, C.E.; Sottos, N.R.; Moore, J.S.; White, S.R. “Biomimetic Self-Healing”, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2015, 54, 10428-10447.
  4. Diesendruck, C.E.; Peterson, G.I.; Kulik, H.J.; Kaitz, J.A.; Mar, B.D.; May, P.A.; White, S.R.; Martínez, T.J.; Boydston, A.J.; Moore, J.S. “Mechanically-Triggered Heterolytic Unzipping of a Low Ceiling Temperature Polymer”, Nature Chem., 2014, 6, 623-628.

Other Honors:

2016Schulich Prize for Excellence in Enhancing the Understanding of Chemistry
2014Women’s Division Advancement Chair, American Technion Association
2010The Ruth and Milton Orchin Prize
2010The Hyman and Irene Kreitman Prize
2008Minerva Award


In the Media:

Mechanical stress yields HCl, Synfacts 2012
En Route To Polymer That Heals Upon Squeezing, C&EN News, July 30, 2012
Repeated self-healing now possible in composite materials, EurekAlert! AAAS, April 15, 2014


Diesendruck Lab