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  • Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1986
  • S.M., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1982
  • S.B., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1981


Joined Georgia Tech in November 1985 as an Assistant Professor


  • Manufacturing, CAE & Design and Micro and Nano Engineering; Humanitarian Design and Engineering (HumDE); Manufacturing, Production, and Design; Polymer and polymer composites; Biomedical and Medical Devices; Technologies for developing countries and other resource-limited environment; Product development and industrial design.

Dr. Colton's research interests are in the areas of design and manufacturing, focusing on polymers and polymer composites. Processing techniques, such as micro-molding, injection molding, filament winding, resin transfer molding and the like, are studied and used to fabricate these devices and products, such as smart composite structures.

The design of processing techniques and equipment for metamaterials also are being studied with applications being dielectric materials for electromagnetic applications. Due to the small-scale physics associated with their engineering, nano-scale metamaterials exhibit superior properties and enhanced performance.

Dr. Colton has a strong passion for the application of engineering for the common good – "humanitarian design and engineering" and "design that matters," - such as in developing countries and other resource limited environments. To be successful, multidisciplinary teams must work together to produce products that function as well as delight, that exceed customer's expectations, regardless of where the product is used. Along these lines, product design and role that the interactions between engineering and Industrial Design forms another research interest.

  • Jefferson Science Fellow, 2013-2014
  • World Health Organization, Technology and Logistics Advisory Committee, 2008-2011
  • The Global Soap Project, board of directors, 2011-present
  • Amigos for Christ, Community Service Award, 2011
  • Woodruff School Jack M. Zeigler Outstanding Educator Award, 2007
  • National Aeronautical and Space Administration, Space Act Award, 2005
  • Sigma Xi (Georgia Tech Chapter)

      Best Ph.D. Thesis Award (Advisor to Andrew McFarland), 2005
      Best M.S. Thesis Award (Advisor to Anne Palmer), 2000

  • Society of Plastics Engineers
      Board of Directors (Medical Physics Division), 2006-2010
      Fellow, 2004
      Board of Directors (Composites Division), 2001-2009
  • Emerald Literai Club Award, Highly Commended Paper, 2002 volume of Rapid Prototyping Journal, 2003
  • MCB University Press Award, Most Outstanding Paper, 1999 volume of Rapid Prototyping Journal, 2000
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers Fellow, 1999
  • Woodruff School Faculty Fellow, 1992-1997
  • Society of Automotive Engineers Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award, 1992
  • National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award, 1989-1994
  • Society of Manufacturing Engineers Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer, 1988
  • American Society for Engineering Education New Engineering Educator, 1986
  • National Bureau of Standards Certificate of Recognition for Sustained Superior Performance, 1979
  • Registered Professional Engineer in Georgia


  • Microcellular Foams of Semi-Crystalline Polymeric Materials, U. S. Patent  5,160,674, with N. P. Suh,  Nov. 3, 1992
  • Flexible Multiply Towpreg, Products Therefrom, and Methods of Production Therefor,  European Patent EP0589925, Canadian Patent CA2103037, Japanese Patent JP6510954T, and Taiwanese Patent 63364, with J. D. Muzzy and B. Varughese, November 26, 1992
  • Non-woven Flexible Multiply Towpreg Fabric, U. S. Patent 5,198,281, with J. D. Muzzy, March 30, 1993
  • Flexible Multiply Towpreg Tape from Powder Fusion Coated Towpreg and Method for Production Thereof, U. S. Patent  5,296,064, with J. D. Muzzy, March 22, 1994
  • Flexible Multiply Towpreg Tape from Powder Fusion Coated Towpreg, U. S. Patent  5,409,757, with J. D. Muzzy, April 25, 1995
  • Collapsible Footstool, U. S. Patent  6,036,269,  March 14, 2000

Representative Publications

  • E. Busillo and J. Colton. 2009. Characterization of Plastic Hypodermic Needles.Journal of Medical Devices-Transactions of the ASME, 3, 041004.
  • T. Fortner, H. Wynn, H. Heffner and J. Colton. 2009. Oven Melting Encapsulization of Hypodermic Needles by Syringes. Journal of Medical Engineering and Technology, 33:8, 616-621
  • K. M. Goeders, L. A. Bottomley and J. Colton. 2008. Microcantilevers: Sensing Chemical Interactions via Mechanical Motion.Chemical Reviews, 108:2, 522-542.
  • Y. Park and J. Colton. 2006. Fatigue of Rapid Prototyped, Sheet Metal Forming Dies.International Journal of Fatigue, 28:1, 43-5.
  • A. W. McFarland, M. A. Poggi, L. A. Bottomley and J. Colton. 2005. Injection-moulded Scanning Force Microscopy Probes.Nanotechnology, 16:8, 1249-1252