Button to scroll to the top of the page.



TXA Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Jonathan Chen

For over 12 years, Dr. Jonathan Chen has been a Professor in the Division of Textiles and Apparel in the School of Human Ecology - and has worked in the field of textile science and engineering for the past 30 years. He is quite involved in research and teaching, where students can see and experience the science behind textiles. 


Currently teaches: TXA 365 Advanced Textiles (previously TXA 260L) 

Focus on textile science and textile material development for new fiber, fabric, and composite products

New Courses that are coming in Fall 2022 that he could be involved in:

  • TXA 318T Medical Textiles
  • TXA 317T Textile Fabrication
  • TXA 361T Biopolymers and Biomaterials
  • TXA 362T Smart Textiles and Apparel Systems
  • TXA 363T Nanotechnologies in Textiles
  • Cord-Yarn Structured Supercapacitor (US Patent # 10,727,003 B2)
  • Fabric Supercapacitor (US Patent # 10,199,180 B2)


  • Fabric mechanics
  • Development of biobased and recycled cellulose fiber for functional medical textiles and sustainable fabrics/apparels
  • Production and evaluation of nonwovens and nonwoven composites for automotive interior manufacture
  • Fabrication and characterization of activated carbon fiber materials for PPE products, water/air filtration, bio- and chemical-contaminant cleanup, noise absorption and insulation, and energy storage devices.


  • National Science Foundation (NSF) I-Corps Project: Fabric supercapacitor for solar energy storage. 2021
  • Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA) Project: Fiber-sensor-enabled nonwoven composite. 2019
  • World Disney Project: Mechanical property measurements of apparel fabrics. 2019
  • UT GreenFund Project: Establishment of cotton recycling systems for solid waste reduction and fashion sustainability enhancement. 2018

What is your background and what attracted you to this field?

My scholarly background is in textile science and engineering, with expertise in structure, process, and applications of renewable and polymeric fiber materials; production and evaluation of biobased and functional fabrics and fabric composites; and nonwoven and knitting technologies. I was an apprentice in a hosiery manufacturing company after high school. The complicated automatic hosiery machine, able to knit shaped and stylish socks and stockings, amazed me so much. That led me to entering a college for studies in this field. 

What other UT departments are you associated with and how does this relate to your TXA work?

I'm an affiliated professor and Graduate Studies Committee member in the Texas Materials Institute, supervising graduate students in the advanced fiber and fabric material research. I'm also collaborating with professors in the Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, Dept. of Biomedical Engineering, and Dept. of Neurology at Dell Medical School in various research efforts towards technology innovations. Textile science and engineering is a critical component in those cutting-edge research initiatives from sustainable polymers to functional nanomaterials to medical devices to healthcare PPE. I truly believe that the TXA work matters not only for fashion industry, but also for economic sustainability and improvement of qualities people are living.

When you're not working, what do you do?

When I'm not working, yard work or small home improvement projects are usually something I'm engaged.

What do you enjoy most about your work? What draws you to your work?

Talking to students in and out classes and hear their good news about moving on to their next chapter. I also enjoy traveling for various conference presentations and professional networking. Research problems coming out from the lab or industries and technology challenges solicited from federal agencies or organizations often draw my attention to assessing current work and finding opportunities for new R&D advancement.

What is a hidden gem from one of your courses?

I consider that the first-hand experience in textile testing and study of industrial standards for textile materials is a hidden gem from Advanced Textiles Laboratory. This course is unique and only available at UT. When TXA students apply for some highly competitive job positions, they'd find that they're lucky to have this gem.

Who had the greatest influence on your education and/or career path?

Professor David Lloyd, my supervisor for PhD study at The University of Leeds in England. He is characterized as a textile physicist or mathematician, and is a distinguished scholar in mechanics of fabric complex deformation. He has been my life-long role model in research style, the way to illustrate complicated problems, and quality of technical writing.

What advice would you like to share with incoming or current students?

Proud of you becoming Longhorn family members. I look forward to meeting you in Gearing Hall soon. What I'd like to share with you is: first, believe that "as you sow, you shall mow;" second, trust that you can do it. 

If interested in Dr. Chen's research or subject area, he welcomes anyone to reach out with questions. Full faculty profile and email: jychen2@austin.utexas.edu

His research lab is open to TXA and non-TXA students who want to gain research experience through involvement in projects focusing on biobased and functional fiber and fabric materials.


The image above and video below is from Dr. Chen's research on: "Sensing performance of knitted strain sensor on two-dimensional and three-dimensional surfaces."