Dr. Kathleen Shafer

3M Research Specialist
Corporate Research Materials Laboratory
Dr. Shafer helps convert corn and other plants into … plastics! Her molecular research in polymers helps turn interesting science into cool products that improve lives.

Meet Dr. Shafer. A research specialist in the Corporate Research Materials Laboratory at 3M, Dr. Kathleen Shafer conducts research focused on developing long, spaghetti-shaped, chain-like molecules called polymers -- better known as plastics. Kathleen specializes in renewable resource polymers (plastics made from plants) and photopolymers (plastics made using light), which have real-world applications in dentistry and other fields.

Kathleen enjoys working with teams of scientists, engineers and other experts from many divisions across 3M to leverage new polymer technologies that make all sorts of cool and useful products.

Kathleen is also committed to sharing her enthusiasm for science and engineering with younger generations. She has developed and presented workshops on polymer chemistry for the National Youth Science Camp for high school students and Cool Chemistry, a science encouragement program for middle school girls sponsored by the University of Minnesota. At 3M, she is a member of 3M TECH, a program encouraging middle school students to learn the importance of higher education and science careers.

Dr. Shafer earned a Ph.D. in renewable, degradable polymer chemistry from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Before joining 3M, she worked as a National Institutes of Health Post-Doctoral Fellow in Chemical & Biological Engineering at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where she collaborated with dentists and industrial scientists to develop improved dental filling materials.