Benjamin Schuster

Benjamin Schuster

Assistant Professor

Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

Office:Engineering Building C163

Dr. Benjamin Schuster began his career at Rutgers in January 2019 after completing his postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania in the lab of Daniel A. Hammer, Ennis Professor of Bioengineering and Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering. Dr. Schuster’s research focuses on developing novel protein-based materials for applications in biocatalysis and in understanding human disease. His technologies are engineered from intrinsically disordered proteins that self-assemble, utilizing approaches from bio-inspired soft materials, synthetic biology, and biophysics. Dr. Schuster received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University and bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota. His Ph.D. research in bionanotechnology was supervised by Prof. Justin Hanes, and his undergraduate advisor was Prof. David Odde. Dr. Schuster is the recipient of a National Research Service Award postdoctoral fellowship from the National Institutes of Health.


Postdoctoral Fellowship (NIH NRSA awardee), University of Pennsylvania, 2014-2018
Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, 2014
B.S., Biomedical Engineering, University of Minnesota, with high distinction, 2008


National Institutes of Health NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship 2016 – 2018
Johns Hopkins Center for Nanomedicine Award for Research Excellence 2014
University of Minnesota Presidential Scholarship 2004 – 2008
University of Minnesota Bentson Family Scholarship 2004 – 2008

Research Interests

Bio-inspired materials, protein engineering, cellular and molecular bioengineering, synthetic biology, soft matter, intrinsically disordered proteins, membrane-less organelles.

Selected Publications

  1. Schuster BS, Reed EH, Parthasarathy R, Janke CN, Caldwell RM, Bermudez JG, Ramage H, Good MC, Hammer DA. Controllable protein phase separation and modular recruitment to form responsive, membraneless organelles. Nature Communications 2018; 9(1):2985.
  2. Glantz ST, Berlew EE, Jaber Z, Schuster BS, Gardner KH, Chow BY. Directly light-activated binding of RGS-LOV photoreceptors to anionic membrane phospholipids. PNAS 115(33):E7720-E7727.
  3. Caldwell RM, Bermudez JG, Thai D, Aonbangkhen C, Schuster BS, Courtney T, Deiters A, Hammer DA, Chenoweth DM, Good MC. Optochemical control of protein localization and activity within cell-like compartments. Biochemistry 2018; 57:2590-2596.
  4. Schuster BS, Allan DB, Kays JC, Hanes J, Leheny R. Photoactivatable fluorescent probes reveal heterogeneous nanoparticle permeation through biological gels at multiple scales. Journal of Controlled Release 2017; 260:124-133.
  5. Schneider CS, Xu Q, Boylan NJ, Chisholm J, Tang B, Schuster BS, Henning A, Ensign LM, Lee E, Adstamongkonkul P, Simons BW, Wang SS, Gong X, Yu T, Boyle MP, Suk JS, and Hanes J. Nanoparticles that do not adhere to mucus provide uniform and long-lasting drug delivery to airways following inhalation. Science Advances 2017; 3(4):e1601556.
  6. Chu KK, Mojahed D, Fernandez CM, Li Y, Liu L, Wilsterman EJ, Diephuis B, Birket SE, Bowers H, Martin Solomon G, Schuster BS, Hanes J, Rowe SM, Tearney GJ. Particle-tracking microrheology using micro-optical coherence tomography. Biophysical Journal 2016; 111:1053-63.
  7. Schuster BS, Ensign LM, Allan DB, Suk JS, Hanes J. Particle tracking in drug and gene delivery research: state-of-the-art applications and methods. Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews 2015; 91:70-91.
  8. Yu T, Chan KW, Anonuevo A, Song X, Schuster BS, Chattopadhyay S, Xu Q, Oskolkov N, Patel H, Ensign LM, van Zjil PC, McMahon MT, Hanes J. Liposome-based mucus-penetrating particles (MPP) for mucosal theranostics: demonstration of diamagnetic chemical exchange saturation transfer (diaCEST) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Nanomedicine 2015; 11:401-5.
  9. Nance E, Zhang C, Shih TY, Xu Q, Schuster BS, Hanes J. Brain-penetrating nanoparticles improve paclitaxel efficacy in malignant glioma following local administration. ACS Nano 2014; 8:10655-64.
  10. Birket SE, Chu KK, Liu L, Houser GH, Diephuis BJ, Wilsterman EJ, Dierksen G, Mazur M, Shastry S, Li Y, Watson JD, Smith AT, Schuster BS, Hanes J, Grizzle WE, Sorscher EJ, Tearney GJ, Rowe SM. A functional anatomic defect of the cystic fibrosis airway. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2014; 190:421-32.
  11. Schuster BS, Kim AJ, Kays JC, Kanzawa MM, Guggino WB, Boyle MP, Rowe SM, Muzyczka N, Suk JS, Hanes J. Overcoming the cystic fibrosis sputum barrier to leading adeno-associated virus gene therapy vectors. Molecular Therapy 2014; 22:14841493.
  12. Kim AJ, Boylan NJ, Suk JS, Hwangbo M, Yu T, Schuster BS, Cebotaru L, Lesniak WG, Oh JS, Adstamongkonkul P, Choi AY, Kannan RM, Hanes J. Use of single-site-functionalized PEG dendrons to prepare gene vectors that penetrate human mucus barriers. Angew Chem Int Ed 2013; 52:3985-8.
  13. Schuster BS, Suk JS, Woodworth GF, Hanes J. Nanoparticle diffusion in respiratory mucus from humans without lung disease. Biomaterials 2013; 34:3439-46.
  14. Langham AA, Khandelia H, Schuster B, Waring AJ, Lehrer RI, Kaznessis YN. Correlation between simulated physicochemical properties and hemolycity of protegrin-like antimicrobial peptides: predicting experimental toxicity. Peptides 2008; 29:1085-93.