Valeria Tohver Milam joined the School of Materials Science and Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology as an assistant professor in July 2004. She received her B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering with Honors from the University of Florida in 1993. After completing her M.S. degree (1997) in MSE at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, she interned at Sandia National Laboratories. She then completed her doctoral work at UIUC studying the phase behavior, structure and properties of nanoparticle-microsphere suspensions. Experimental results suggested a novel colloidal stabilization mechanism known as nanoparticle “haloing” in which otherwise negligibly charged microspheres become effectively charge-stabilized by their surrounding shell of highly charged nanoparticles.

After finishing her Ph.D. in 2001, her postdoctoral studies at the University of Pennsylvania focused on DNA-mediated colloidal assembly. The degree of specific attraction between DNA-grafted microspheres was found to vary with sequence length, sequence concentration and ionic strength. A variety of structures such as colloidal chains, rings and micelles were formed by varying the particle size ratio and suspension composition.


B.S. Materials Science & Engineering, University of Florida (1993)
M.S. Materials Science & Engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (1997)
Ph.D. Materials Science & Engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (2001)


Recent Awards

  • NSF CAREER (2009)
  • CETL-BP Junior Faculty Teaching Award (2008)
  • Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Cancer Scholar (2005)
  • Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company Dean's Award for Teaching Excellence (2005)

Research Keywords:
Colloidal particles,Oligonucleotides,Colloidal assemble,Aptamers
  • bio-inspired colloidal assembly for multifunctional drug delivery vehicles and
    colloidal-based sensing

Dr. Milam’s current research interests focus on designing and characterizing colloids functionalized with biologically-relevant macromolecules such as oligonucleotides and cellular adhesion molecules. The specific recognition between matching macromolecules such as complementary DNA strand pairs allows for programmable adhesion between either complementary particle surfaces or between complementary particle and matrix interfaces. Using a variety of biocompatible and biodegradable materials as the colloidal substrate, these biocolloids will serve as building blocks to fabricate novel material constructs ranging from stimuli-responsive hybrid materials to therapeutic delivery vehicles.

Selected Publications

  1. S.T. Parpart, C.K. Tison, V.T. Milam, “Effects of mismatches on DNA as an isothermal assembly and disassembly tool,” Soft Matter 2010 6 3832-3840
  2. C.K. Tison, V.T. Milam, “Reversing DNA-mediated adhesion at a fixed temperature,” Langmuir 2007 23 (19) 9728-9736
  3. V.T. Milam, A.L. Hiddessen, J.C. Crocker, D.J. Graves, D.A. Hammer, “DNA-driven assembly of bidisperse, micron-sized colloids” Langmuir 2003 19 (24) 10317-10323
  4. V. Tohver, J.E. Smay, A. Braem, P.V. Braun, J.A. Lewis, “Nanoparticle halos: A new colloidal stabilization mechanism,” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 2001 98 (16) 8950-8954