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MSE Alumnus Ghanshyam Pilania awarded Humboldt Research Foundation Fellowship

IMS Welcomes Dr. Tomoyasu Mani of UConn Chemistry

By Amanda Campanaro

Assistant Professor Mani

Assistant Professor Tomoyasu Mani

The Institute of Materials Science extends a warm welcome to the new member, Dr. Tomoyasu Mani, Assistant Professor in UConn’s Chemistry Department.

Dr. Mani joins IMS as associated faculty with a wealth of experience and achievements. He earned his B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Texas at Dallas in 2009, where he worked in the laboratory of Professor A. Dean Sherry, after working as a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow at the University of Texas at Dallas Southwestern Medical Center in 2008. Dr. Mani went on to obtain a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics from the University of Pennsylvania under the guidance of Professor Sergei A. Vinogradov in 2013. His graduate study focused on magnetic field effects on molecular emissivity.

As a Goldhaber Fellow in the Chemistry Department at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) from 2014-2016, he worked in the Electron- and Photo-Induced Processes for Molecular Energy Conversion Group directed by Dr. John R. Miller. His current research explores the application of organic and physical chemistry methods to understand the basic mechanisms of charge and energy transfer in molecular systems for applications in renewable energy and biomedical imaging technologies.

Among his recent awards are: the Blavatnik Regional Award for Young Scientists (Winner in Chemistry), 2016, which recognizes his work at Brookhaven Lab to understand the physical processes occurring in organic materials used to harness solar energy; the Gerturude and Maurice Goldhaber Distinguished Fellowship, BNL, 2014-2016; and a Speaker Award (first place) by the Society of Nuclear Medicine, “Probe Development in Molecular Imaging and Therapy” symposium at 238th American Chemical Society National Meeting, 2009, among others.

Dr. Mani enters the department with over 10 publications in various scientific journals, including the Journal of the American Chemical Society and the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters. . He is also a member of the American Chemical Society (ACS) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

IMS Welcomes Rebecca Quardokus

The Institute of Materials Science proudly welcomes a new member to its faculty of accomplished and brilliant researchers.

Rebecca QuardokusDr. Rebecca Quardokus, Ph.D., joins IMS as an assistant professor in Chemistry with significant experience to build upon. After earning her Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of Notre Dame in 2013 and completing a year-long postdoctoral term at the same department, she worked as a postdoctoral research associate at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for two years. While at NIST, Dr. Quardokus worked as a member of the Nanoscale Reliability Group in the Applied Chemicals and Materials Division, using LT-UHV four-probe scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) to study low-dimensional materials.

Currently, her research interests lie at the intersection of materials science, chemistry, and physics, where she investigates a range of issues including the reliability of self-assembled monolayers, engineering, characterization, and reliability of two-dimensional materials, and coupling and manipulating molecular rotors. The Quardokus Research Group uses STM as the primary tool to investigate surface-confined molecular interactions and two-dimensional materials. Currently, one project characterizes the reliability of self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) after exposure to external perturbations, while another project focuses on surface-confined synthesis of two-dimensional materials.

Among Dr. Quardokus’ achievements are the Rohm and Haas Outstanding Graduate Student Award earned during her Ph.D. research, a publication titled “Green’s function modeling of response of two-dimensional materials to point probes for scanning probe microscopy,” in Physics Letters A this year and “Solving the counter ion and clocking problems in molecular QCA: Synthesis of a neutral mixed valence diferrocenyl carborane,” in Angewandte Chemie last year. Dr. Quardokus is a member of AVS: Science and Technology of Materials, Interfaces, and Processing, the American Chemical Society, and the Materials Research Society.

IMS Welcomes Dr. Martin Han

By Amanda Campanaro

Martin Han, Ph.D.The Institute of Materials Science is honored to welcome a new member to its faculty of accomplished, forward-thinking, and determined minds.

Associate Professor Martin Han earned his Ph.D. in biomedical engineering and M.S. in electrical engineering at the University of Southern California, Viterbi School of Engineering, Los Angeles, in 2003 and 2000, respectively, after completing his B.S. in electrical engineering at the University of Hawaii, Honolulu, in 1996. His Ph.D. thesis focused on the development of planar microelectrode arrays for recording and stimulation in hippocampal tissue slices for cognitive prosthesis.

Prior to joining the Biomedical Engineering Department at UConn, Dr. Han has been a staff scientist and principal investigator in the Neural Engineering Program at Huntington Medical Research Institutes (HMRI), Pasadena, CA, for thirteen years. While at HMRI, Dr. Han’s research focused on implantable microelectrode devices.

His current research interests include the development of silicon- and biodegradable-polymer-based implantable microelectrode arrays using biomicroelectromechanical systems (bio-MEMS) and hybrid microfabrication technologies for better understanding of the brain-device interface and for treating neurological disorders such as profound hearing loss, Parkinson’s disease, and spinal cord injury.

Dr. Han is a member of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, Biomedical Engineering Society, and Society for Neuroscience, serves in NIH study sections, and has been awarded several NIH and DoD-DARPA grants.

High School Students Received an Introductory Course to Polymers and Materials Science

By Amanda Campanaro

Gregory Treich, center, presents an overview of basic polymer structures, linear, branched, crosslinked, and networked,  to the students (at desks). To his right stand Zachary Thatcher and Hetal Patel, undergraduate IMS students (photo taken by Kenna Ritter.)

Gregory Treich, center, presents an overview of basic polymer structures, linear, branched, crosslinked, and networked,  to the students (at desks). To his right stand Zachary Thatcher and Hetal Patel, undergraduate IMS students (UConn photo/Kenna Ritter.)

High school students are probably not thinking about how polymers and materials science are an integral part of everyday life, but it is important for young minds to be aware of the opportunities available in these ever-expanding fields. That’s why four students within the Institute of Materials Science (IMS) traveled to South Windsor High School (SWHS) December 10 to help prepare students from nearby schools for the CT Science Olympiad by introducing them to polymers and materials science concepts.

Gregory Treich, a Ph.D. student in the IMS Polymers Science program, past President/Treasurer of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) and board member for the CT chapter; Zachary Thatcher, an MSE senior and member of Materials Advantage (MA); Kenna Ritter, MSE sophomore and secretary for MA, and Hetal Patel, an MSE undergraduate and member of MA presented a 90-minute introduction to SWHS students on polymers and materials science in preparation for the Science Olympiad.

The Science Olympiad is a nationwide organization dedicated to promoting science education through conducting competitive science tournaments, according to their website, and about 15,000 schools participate. Students compete in pairs or teams to accomplish various tests and tasks in areas of science. SWHS placed first in Division C during last Spring’s competition, and it looks like they hope to perform even better this coming year.

“The presentation was intended as an introduction to polymers and material science,” explains Gregory. “We highlighted specific topics that we thought had a good chance of being on their Science Olympiad exams. During and after the presentation we prompted them for questions and tried to insure they understood what we were showing them.”

Specifically, they discussed how structure, properties, processing, and performance of materials are all interwoven, and introduced general classes of metals, ceramics, polymers, and composites as well as the different types of polymers such as thermoplastic, thermoset, and elastomer.

“We covered concepts such as the major classifications of materials and their properties, atomic packing factor, fatigue and creep failure, stress strain curves, types of deformation, and microscopes,” says Kenna, in addition to Young’s modulus, Possion’s ratio, and common crystal structures, among others.

“This presentation gave them an introduction to the topics to give the students a starting point for further study as they prepare for the event,” says Gregory.

The troupe aimed to address concepts that students had trouble wrapping their young minds around in previous events, such as atomic packing factor or the way the types of bonding affect the properties of different materials. “We helped the students understand the complexity of materials science,” Kenna says.

Often, polymers and materials science are not taught in great detail in high school, which can prevent students from fully understanding the majors in college, or relevant concepts in the real world. Gregory and Kenna both believe it is important to show aspiring scientists these concepts so that majors involving them are on their radar as they apply to colleges, and to have a better understanding of the world around them.

“It’s also good to see practical applications of chemistry and physics, topics that are not often connected to “the ‘real world; in high school science classes,” adds Kenna. “Materials science is such an integral part of our lives but very few people know it exists as a separate field.”

Gregory, also a former President of SPE and currently a secondary advisor to the group, will continue to be active in SPE both regionally and with UConn however he can. Kenna plans on being involved with Materials Advantage in the future as well. “I love participating in outreach events and organizing professional events for my peers,” she says.

Bend, flow, build: the broad world of nanotech and 3D printing


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