• Samantha Wilner headshot

Samantha Wilner

Dr. Samantha Wilner grew up in the suburbs of central Massachusetts and later moved to New York City, receiving a B.S. in chemical engineering from Columbia University. After a brief return to Massachusetts to work as a lab technician, she moved back to New York to earn a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences (biochemistry) from Albert Einstein College of Medicine under the mentorship of Dr. Matthew Levy. Dr. Wilner then moved to Philadelphia to pursue her postdoctoral research in the laboratory of Dr. Tobias Baumgart in the Chemistry Department at the University of Pennsylvania where she was funded by the NIH IRACDA program.

Dr. Wilner joined the Ursinus faculty in 2018. Her research focuses on the development of DNA-based tools to study membrane-mediated interactions and to control vesicle assembly and membrane phase transitions. This work will provide insight to guide the design of membrane interacting molecules, including targeted drug delivery vehicles, and will elucidate essential cellular processes involving membrane shape deformations.




B.S., Columbia University
Ph.D., Albert Einstein College of Medicine


Fundamentals of Biochemistry

Biophysical Chemistry

Research Interests

  • Programmable assembly
  • Nucleic acid chemistry
  • Membrane-mediated interactions

Recent Work

Wilner, S. E.; Xiao, Q.; Graber, Z.T.; Sherman, S.E.; Percec, V.; Baumgart, T.; “Dendrimersomes exhibit lamellar-to-sponge phase transitions” Langmuir 2018, 34 (19), 5527–5534.

Xiao, Q.; Sherman, S. E.; Wilner, S. E.; Zhou, X.; Dazen, C.; Baumgart, T.; Reed, E. H.; Hammer, D. A.; Shinoda, W.; Klein, M. L.; Percec, V. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2017, 114, E7045–E7053.

Wilner, S. E.; Sparks, S. E.; Cowburn, D.; Girvin, M. E.; Levy, M. “Controlling lipid micelle stability using oligonucleotide headgroups” Journal of the American Chemical Society 2015, 137 (6), 2171–2174.