Author: Rhonda Ward

Thermo Fisher Scientific Fellowships Announced

Recipients of the first Thermo Fisher Scientific Fellowship have been selected. The recipients are all advisees of IMS faculty members. The award is sponsored by ThermoFisher Scientific in relation to the UCONN Thermo Fisher Scientific Center for Advanced Microscopy and Materials Analysis (CAMMA).

Five fellowships in the amount of $10,000 were awarded this year. Each recipient was required to show research competence in the area of electron microscopy. Ph.D. students are eligible for the award once during their Ph.D. program at UCONN.

‘Smart’ Machine Components Alert Users to Damage and Wear

Sameh Dardona, center, principal research engineer and associate director, United Technologies Research Center, with Anson Ma, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, right, and Alan Shen, a Ph.D. student, look at a prototype wear sensor at the UTC Research Center in East Hartford. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)arc

Scientists at the United Technologies Research Center and UConn are using advanced additive manufacturing technology to create ‘smart’ machine components that alert users when they are damaged or worn.

The researchers also applied a variation of the technology to create polymer-bonded magnets with intricate geometries and arbitrary shapes, opening up new possibilities for manufacturing and product design.

The key to both innovations is the use of an advanced form of 3D printing called direct write technology. Unlike conventional additive manufacturing, which uses lasers to fuse layers of fine metal powder into a solid object, direct write technology uses semisolid metal ‘ink’ that is extruded from a nozzle. The viscosity of the metal ink looks like toothpaste being squeezed from a tube. Read the full UConn Today story.

PITCH Promising Project Award for Cancer Stem Cell Research

Very high magnification micrograph of B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small cell lymphoma. (Nephron/Wikimedia Commons)

Xiuling Lu, an associate professor in UConn’s Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences has been awarded a PITCH (Program in Innovative Therapeutics for Connecticut’s Health) Promising Project award to begin work on a project investigating a new and potentially safer cancer treatment.

Cancers often relapse or are resistant to chemotherapy treatments due to the presence of a relatively rare subset of stem cells, which are undifferentiated cells that can give rise to many other kinds of bodily cells.

Lu has been collaborating with Rajeswari (Raji) Kasi, a professor at the UConn Institute of Materials Science to develop polymeric nanoparticles. These polymeric nanoparticles contain doxorubicin – a common chemotherapy drug – that can prevent leukemia stem cells from self-renewing through the inhibition of one of the essential pathways involved in stem cell survival and differentiation. Read the full UConn Today story.

‘Combination’ Therapy for Improved Bone Repair

Yusuf Khan, associate professor of orthopedic surgery at UConn Health. (UConn Health Photo)

Yusuf Khan, an associate professor of orthopedic surgery at UConn Health has received more than $1.7 million from the National Institutes of Health to study a novel combination of bone repair therapies.

New cell treatments for bone repair are becoming an increasingly popular alternative to more invasive procedures, especially for patients who only have small-scale defects.

One of these techniques involve hydrogels – networks of crosslinked polymer chains with very high water content – that can be used to transport and maintain cells within a bone defect. The high-water content of the hydrogel could allow the cell-hydrogel assembly to be injected into the bony defect using minimally invasive techniques.  Read the full UConn Today story.

Targeting the Flu with a Novel Antiviral Drug

James Cole, professor of molecular and cell biology, with a ultracentrifuge at the Biology/Physics Building on July 27, 2017. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

Jim Cole’s journey to academia is surprising – as a former scientist at Merck, Cole has a unique perspective on the drug discovery process. Jim Cole is professor at the University of Connecticut in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology and the Department of Chemistry. He is reentering the world of industry, thanks to support from UConn’s tech transfer experts and the Program in Innovative Therapeutics for Connecticut’s Health, also known as PITCH.

“When I went from Big Pharma to an academic position, I realized that in many ways I was on my own. Faculty members are much more independent than scientists working in a Big Pharma environment. As academics we are like small businesses with our own research projects and the responsibility for generating our own funding. While universities provide many important resources, the support facilities for translational research are often lacking. That is why PITCH is so essential for the work that we are doing.”  Read the full story from UConn Today

UConn Chemist Wins Patent for Tunable Metal Oxide Synthesis Method

University of Connecticut chemistry professor, and Director of the Institute of Materials Science, Steven Suib has been granted a US patent (9,908,103) for a new method developed with his former student Altug S. Poyraz, now an inorganic chemistry professor at Kennesaw State University. The technology is capable of synthesizing and customizing a type of compound that has unique catalytic and electronic properties.

Dr. Steven Suib with Dr. Altug Poyraz
Altug Poyraz, left, with Steven Suib, distinguished professor of chemistry. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

Suib and Poyraz have patented their process for synthesizing thermally stable mesoporous transitional metal oxides. Their process also allows them to control the size of the mesopores and nano-sized crystalline walls.

Mesoporous materials have many advantages when it comes to developing materials for practical applications. They have narrow pores with a high surface area, biocompatibility, and low toxicity for use in human medical practices. They can be used for drug delivery systems, as catalysts for chemical reactions, electrodes in electrochemical energy storage for batteries, and supercapacitors, diagnostics, absorbing pollutants from water or storing gases and chromatography.  Read the full story from UConn Today

UConn Celebrates Opening of Innovative New Engineering & Science Building

The University of Connecticut recently celebrated the opening of its new Engineering & Science Building, a state-of-the-art facility whose carefully planned design and modern labs will help the University and its researchers drive new innovations in a range of scientific disciplines. The building was completed this spring and now houses programs in engineering and life sciences, including the Institute for Systems Genomics.

Engineering & Science Building
The new Engineering and Science Building. (Sean Flynn/UConn Photo)

It represents yet another milestone in the Next Generation Connecticut initiative, which funded the $95 million project cost as part of the state’s larger plan to expand STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) at UConn as a pathway to economic growth in the state.

“This building is the culmination of significant investment by the state of Connecticut in the field of STEM, and in the future of engineering,” said Kazem Kazerounian, dean of the UConn School of Engineering. “Nearly 40 percent of our state’s economy is generated by engineering-related industries, and with our 70 percent increase in engineering enrollment, and significant investment in resources, UConn is providing research, talent, and technology that will pay dividends for decades to come.” Read the full story from UConn Today

Dr. Harold Brody Honored by Advanced Casting Research Center

Dr. Harold Brody receives Merton C. Flemings Award
Merton C. Flemings Award presented to Professor Harold D. Brody (left) by Professor Merton C. Flemings of MIT (center), with Professor Diran Apelian of Worcester Polytechnic Institute and founding Director of ACRC (right)
The Advanced Casting Research Center of Worcester Polytechnic Institute has bestowed its Merton C. Flemings Award upon Dr. Harold Brody (IMS/MSE). The award is given biennially to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to the understanding of solidification processing fundamentals, which have been applied commercially in the foundry industry.Dr. Brody, a Distinguished Professor of Materials Science and Engineering has focused his research on understanding casting and solidifications processes, on applying computer-aided analysis and design to materials processing with emphasis on casting, and on innovating in engineering education. At MIT, as a student, as a member of the research staff, and as a visiting professor, Dr. Brody collaborated with Professor Merton Flemings and his colleagues and students to provide models for solute redistribution during dendritic solidification of casting and welds, for application of directional solidification to high temperature superconductors, and for undercooled alloys.

The ACRC is an academic-industry partnership headquartered on the campus of Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, MA. The center focuses on assisting industry partners with technical issues, specifically in the areas of light metals, non-ferrous alloys, and semi-solid processing.

IMS Members Receive NSF GOALI Grant

Drs. CBCarter_ADongare_ADobley, Yardney Division of EaglePicher
(left to right) Drs. C. Barry Carter (UConn), Avinash Dongare (UConn), and Arthur Dobley (Yardney Division of EaglePicher)

Drs. C Barry Carter (PI) and Avinash Dongare (co-PI) have been awarded an NSF GOALI grant for their collaboration with the Yardney Division of EaglePicher and co-PI Dr. Arthur Dobley. The project, Mechanisms of Lithiation and Delithiation Reactions in Layered Materials Combining Transmission Electron Microscopy and Atomic Scale Modeling, focuses on understanding how batteries work at the atomic level.

The NSF GOALI grant seeks to stimulate collaboration between academic research institutions and industry. Special interest is focused on affording opportunities for interdisciplinary university-industry teams to conduct collaborative research projects, in which the industry research participant provides critical research expertise, without which the likelihood for success of the project would be diminished; faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and students to conduct research and gain experience in an industrial setting; and industrial scientists and engineers to bring industry’s perspective and integrative skills to academe.

“By working with engineers and chemists at the Yardney Division of EaglePicher, undergraduate and graduate students gain a broad practical understanding of batteries, while also developing the expertise and skills necessary to improve these batteries. In doing so, students need a combined understanding of ceramics, materials science, physics, chemistry and electrochemistry.” the researchers explain.

The project combines in situ experimentation in the transmission electron microscope with atomic scale modeling methods to improve our understanding of how lithium and sodium move into and out from layered materials (i.e. intercalation).

The grant of $440,402 will cover the period July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2021. For more information on the GOALI grant follow this link.

Professors, Professionals and Students Mingle and Celebrate at MSE Banquet

Students, alumni and faculty of the University of Connecticut Department of Materials Science and Engineering celebrated their, and their peers’ accomplishments at the annual MSE banquet, held at the Alumni Center at the end of the Spring semester.

The event featured speeches, awards and connections between students and their instructors, as well as graduated professionals working within the field of materials sciences. Over two dozen graduate students also joined in, bringing the attendance total to 100. Read the full story from MSE

MSE Banquet 2018