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Dr. Challa V. Kumar Honored by Chemical Research Society of India

Dr. Challa V. KumarThe Council of the Chemical Research Society of India (CRSI) has selected Dr. Challa V. Kumar (IMS/CHEM) for its Honorary Fellowship/CRSI Medal 2018. The medal is conferred on Chemists of Indian origin working outside India who have contributed extensively to the promotion of Chemical Research. The Chemical Research Society of India was established in 1999 with a mission to “recognize, promote and foster talent in chemistry and chemical sciences and to improve the quality of chemical education at all levels.” The organization

Dr. Kumar’s research focuses on creating a new field of chemistry, Biological Materials, using standard chemical reactions to modify proteins to create novel and exciting materials. He joins an international list of exceptional researchers from institutions that include the University of Cambridge, Louis Pasteur University, Harvard University, Stanford University, and MIT.

Through his research, Dr. Kumar has brought significant attention to UConn and the Chemistry Department, having been awarded an American Association of University Professors (AAUP) Research Excellence Award in 2015 and a Fulbright Scholarship in 2014. His research is widely and consistently published and he has been granted numerous research funding grants.

As part of the honor, Dr. Kumar has been invited to present his research at the 22nd National Symposium in Chemistry (CRSI-NSC-22) and 12th CRSI-RSC Symposium at the Pt. Ravishankar Shukla University in Raipur, India in February 2018.

Ames Laboratory, UConn Discover Superconductor with Bounce

A single crystal of CaFe2As2 (scale bar 1 mm). Right: a micropillar of CaFe2As2, used to test its elasticity (scale bar 1 μm)

A single crystal of CaFe2As2 (scale bar 1 mm). Right: a micropillar of CaFe2As2, used to test its elasticity (scale bar 1 μm)

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory has discovered extreme “bounce,” or super-elastic shape-memory properties in a material that could be applied for use as an actuator in the harshest of conditions, such as outer space, and might be the first in a whole new class of shape memory materials.

Shape-memory materials “remember” their original shape and return to it after they are deformed. They are commonly metallic alloys that make possible “unbreakable” eyeglass frames and quieter jet engines.

But the material in this research, CaFe2As2, is not a metallic alloy but an intermetallic more well-known for its novel superconducting properties. It has been so extensively studied that the team of researchers, from Ames Laboratory and the University of Connecticut, also made note of its high degree of pressure and strain sensitivity, and wondered about its possibilities as a structural material.

The researchers created micropillars of the material through single crystal growth followed by focused ion beam milling, and then subjected them to mechanical compression testing. They found a recoverable strain that can exceed 13 percent.

Read the full story from Ames Laboratory

UConn MSE Seniors Attend World Maker Faire For NASA Capstone Project

MSE Students at Maker Faire 2017

Francis Almonte, Zane Grady, Andrew Nguyen, Adam Wentworth, and Jason Santivanez (senior MSEs) attended maker faire to showcase last year’s NASA sponsored capstone project and introduce the extension of the project to the public.

UConn MSE students presented their projects related to additive manufacturing at the World Maker Faire in NY Hall of Science Queens, NY for the third consecutive year. The projects were part of a showcase called In Space 3D Printing and Recycling.

All MSE seniors took part in this exciting event, which involved students displaying a capstone project sponsored by NASA. This year’s showcase involved students displaying a capstone project previously sponsored by NASA. The project focuses on the recyclability of specific thermoplastics and will continue this academic year under new sponsorship from Tethers Unlimited Inc. (TUI). TUI is fabricating a new 3D printer and recycler that will eventually find its home on the International Space Station to begin testing in 2018.

UConn was among seven of the university teams chosen by NASA to “design systems, concepts, and technologies that will help improve NASA’s exploration capabilities”. This is all part of NASA’s sixth eXploration Systems Habituation Academic Innovation Challenge, which includes ideas to progress 3D printing abilities, develop plant growth systems, better spacecraft environmental recycling programs and create conceptual habitat designs.

Read the full MSE story

2017 IMS Distinguished Lecture

Dr. Matthew Tirrell

Dr. Matthew Tirrell, University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory

“Polyelectrolytes in Multivalent Ionic Media: New Physics and New Materials”

Multi-valent interactions in systems of polyelectrolytes can exhibit dramatic, non-monotonic effects, for example, switching forces from repulsive to attractive, and back to repulsive again, in some cases. We have been studying these patterns of behavior with the surface forces apparatus (SFA) and with electrochemical methods, such as cyclic voltametry, which enables the quantitative determination of the number of multi-valent ions residing in thin layers of charged polymers. At fixed ionic strength, all cause strong shrinkage and condensation of poly(styrene sulfonate) brushes over a narrow range of ratio multi-valent to mono-valent ions. When the multi-valent ion is an oppositely charged polymer, new fluid phases can form. Charged blocks in copolymers leads to materials with new types of ordered phases. Effects of these multi-valent interactions on supermolecular and biomolecular assembly will be discussed. There are many possibilities for the creation of new materials based on electrostatic assembly involving multi-valent interactions.

About our Guest Lecturer
Matthew Tirrell is the founding Pritzker Director of the Institute for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago, and Deputy Laboratory Director for Science and Chief Research Officer at the Argonne National Laboratory. Immediately prior to joining the University of Chicago in 2011, he was the Arnold and Barbara Silverman Professor and Chair of Bioengineering at the University of California, Berkeley, with additional appointments in chemical engineering and materials science & engineering, and as a Faculty Scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Tirrell received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering at Northwestern University in 1973 and a Ph.D. in 1977 in Polymer Science from the University of Massachusetts. From 1977 to 1999, he was on the faculty of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Minnesota, where he served as department head from 1995 to 1999. Professor Tirrell completed ten years as Dean of Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara on June 30, 2009. He has co-authored about 350 papers and one book and has supervised about 80 Ph.D. students. Professor Tirrell is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the Indian National Academy of Engineering, and is a Fellow of: the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers, the AAAS, and the APS. Professor Tirrell has extensive consulting and scientific advisory board experience in both the materials science and biotech/biomedical sectors.

Please join us on Monday, November 6, 2017, 4:00 p.m., IMS Room 20

UConn Launches Chapter of National Academy of Inventors

Founding Members of UConn Chapter of National Academy of Inventors

Founding Members of UConn Chapter of National Academy of Inventors

The University of Connecticut hosted the inaugural gathering for Connecticut’s first chapter of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) at the Lyceum in Hartford on Sept. 29.

The UConn NAI chapter was established as a result of the efforts and prodigious invention history of three distinguished researchers at UConn who are NAI Fellows. To receive this distinction from NAI, a researcher must be named inventor on patent(s) issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and must be affiliated with a university, non-profit research institute, or other academic entity.

Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, president of the UConn Chapter of the National Academy of Inventors became the first UConn NAI Fellow in 2013. Laurencin is well known for his pioneering work in the field of regenerative engineering and is an elected member of both the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Medicine, and recipient of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation and the Connecticut Medal of Technology. In 2015, Dr. Pramod K. Srivastava, who is recognized globally for his groundbreaking discoveries in cancer immunotherapy, was named an NAI Fellow. Dr. Lakshmi Nair was inducted in 2016. Her work in regenerative biomaterials to enhance tissue repair and regeneration has resulted in many novel and valuable discoveries. Read the full story from Innovation Partnership

Nine IMS Members Inducted in Local Chapter of National Academy of Inventors

IMS Members Inducted into National Academy of Inventors

Top row: Dr. Cato Laurencin; Dr. Radenka Maric, Dr. Steven Suib; 2nd row: Dr. Douglas Adamson; Dr. Ki Chon; Dr. Puxian Gao; 3rd row: Dr. Faquir Jain; Dr. Fotios Papadimitrakopoulos; Dr. Gregory Sotzing

Among the founding members inducted into the UConn Chapter of the National Academy of Inventors on September 29 are nine members of the Institute of Materials Science (IMS).

Dr. Cato Laurencin was named president of the newly founded UConn Chapter of the NAI. He became a NAI Fellow in 2013.  Other IMS member inductees include Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor and Director of the Institute of Materials Science, Dr. Steven L. Suib; UConn Vice President for Research, Dr. Radenka Maric; Dr. Douglas H. Adamson (IMS/CHEM); Dr. Ki Chon, Krenicki Professor of Biomedical Engineering & Head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering; Dr. Pu-Xian Gao (IMS/MSE); Dr. Faquir Jain (IMS/ECE); Dr. Fotios Papadimitrakopolous (IMS/CHEM); and Dr. Gregory A. Sotzing (IMS/CHEM).

The National Academy of Inventors was established in 2010 by Dr. Paul R. Sanberg, senior vice president for research, innovation & economic development at the University of South Florida (USF).

Dr. Maric anticipates that the new UConn chapter will be a vehicle for the University to recognize and honor researchers who translate their findings into inventions that may benefit patients, industry, and society.

UConn MSE Alumna Janet Callahan Facilitates a Conversation About Student Success

Prof. Janet Callahan with MSE Graduate Students

Prof. Janet Callahan with MSE Graduate Students

MSE seminar speaker guest and alumna Janet Callahan, Ph.D., returned to UConn to give a seminar and also lead a discussion panel for senior MSE students in Associate Professor Rainer Hebert’s senior design class. Professor Janet Callahan is the Chair of the Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering at Boise State University.

The panel consisted of MSE graduate students Tulsi Patel, Bahar Deljoo, Alexis Ernst, Pamela Dyer, Hannah Leonard, and Alexandra Longacre. In the panel, each of these graduate students spoke about their experience and what led them to pursue engineering.  Read the full story from the Materials Science and Engineering Department

Kimberly Post Retires After 30 Years at UConn

Ms. Kimberly Post

Ms. Kimberly Post

She has supported four directors of the Institute of Materials Science and seen countless students, faculty and staff members come and go. After 30 years of service to IMS and 35 years with the State of Connecticut, Kimberly Post, Assistant to the Director of IMS, retires today.

“It’s bittersweet,” Kim says of her time at UConn coming to an end. “I like my job.” But with the most recent union-negotiated contract she would stand to lose more by staying than leaving. “State employment used to be a feather in your cap but it’s not so much that any more,” she says.

Reflecting on the changes she has witnessed over her tenure at UConn, Kim notes that interpersonal relationships have become more formal over the years. But she relishes in the memories of the assistance she has been able to provide to students and faculty members especially, and to the IMS as a whole, noting that, “When you have people working 25, 35 years or more in IMS, it says that’s a good place to work.”

Looking ahead, Kim says that she is excited about starting a new chapter in her life. In the years that she has worked for UConn and the State of Connecticut she has had three children who have given her four grandchildren. While she looks forward to having more time for family, Kim sees an opportunity to bring the skills she has gained through her work in IMS to a new challenge.  “I’m looking forward to a new chapter in my life,” she says.

Asked what she would miss most about her time in at UConn and in IMS she responded, “The people, definitely the people.”

Everyone at IMS wishes Kimberly the best as she starts her new chapter.

UConn’s School of Engineering Announces UConn-ZEISS Partnership and Introduces New Microscopy Center

The UConn School of Engineering announced the launch of a new UConn-ZEISS Partnership with the opening of a new, state of the art laboratory, the Reverse Engineering, Fabrication, Inspection and Nondestructive Evaluation (REFINE) Lab. The event was attended by many members of the ZEISS leadership team, including President of ZEISS North America, James Sharp.

According to Sharp, working with a top research institution like UConn is part of the ZEISS tradition.

“It is deep in our roots at ZEISS to collaborate with scientists to improve our products. Over 150 years ago, Carl Zeiss and physicist Ernst Abbe partnered to achieve global success,” explained Sharp. “Since then, more than 20 Nobel Prize winners have relied on ZEISS microscopes to conduct their research. We know that this tradition will continue thanks to the UConn-ZEISS partnership and the REFINE Lab.” Read the full story from Technology Innovation Partnership


Dr. Rainer Hebert is New Associate Director of IMS

Dr. Rainer Hebert

Dr. Rainer Hebert

Dr. Rainer Hebert has been appointed Associate Director of the Institute of Materials Science. Dr. Steven Suib made the announcement on August 16 highlighting Hebert’s “dedication to IMS, his excellent scholarship, and outstanding research program.”

Dr. Hebert earned his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2003 and held postdoctoral fellowships at Research Center Karlsruhe, Germany and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, both from 2003 to 2005. He joined the faculty of UConn in 2006 and has since built an outstanding set of credentials which include serving as the director of the Additive Manufacturing Innovation Center, Director for Undergraduate Studies for the Materials Science and Engineering Department, and in 2016 he was honored by the School of Engineering with a Castleman Professorship in Engineering Innovation.

Dr. Hebert’s research specialties include alloy development through additive manufacturing, additive manufacturing process capabilities, improvements in elevated temperature strength for high strength low alloy steel, and devitrification reactions in metallic glasses.