Xueju “Sophie” Wang Receives 2024 ONR Young Investigator Award

Xueju "Sophie" Wang
Xueju “Sophie” Wang

Xueju “Sophie” Wang has been awarded an Office of Naval Research (ONR) 2024 Young Investigator Award in the category Ocean Battlespace Sensing.  The Ocean Battlespace Sensing Department of ONR explores science and technology in the areas of oceanographic and meteorological observations, modeling, and prediction in the battlespace environment; submarine detection and classification (anti-submarine warfare); and mine warfare applications for detecting and neutralizing mines in both the ocean and littoral environment.

One of 24 recipients in various categories, Dr. Wang’s research, entitled A Soft Intelligent Robot for Self-digging, Multi-modal Sensing, and In Situ Marine Sediment Analysis, was recognized by the Littoral Geosciences and subcategory.  The Littoral Geosciences and Optics program supports basic and applied research for expeditionary warfare, naval special warfare, mine warfare and antisubmarine warfare in shelf, near-shore, estuarine, riverine, and riparian environments, with a particular emphasis on robust 4D prediction of environmental characteristics in denied, distant or remote environments.

Dr. Wang earned a Ph.D. from Georgia Institute of Technology in 2016.  She joined the faculty of the Materials Science and Engineering Department (MSE) in 2020 with an appointment in the Institute of Materials Science (IMS).  Since then, she has earned extensive recognition for her research including the National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award in 2022; the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Trailblazer Award, also in 2022; and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Orr Early Career Award in 2021 among others.

Wang’s research focuses on soft, stimuli-responsive materials and multifunctional structures; multistability of reconfigurable, magnetically responsive structures, flexible/pressure-tolerant/bio-integrated electronics, soft robotics and intelligent systems; and in-situ/environmental operando experimental techniques.  Her research has been published extensively.

Montgomery Shaw Honored with SPE Symposium

Dr. Montgomery "Monty" Shaw addresses attendees at the Montgomery Shaw Symposium.
Dr. Montgomery “Monty” Shaw addresses attendees at the Montgomery Shaw Symposium.

Polymer rheology expert, Montgomery (Monty) Shaw, was celebrated at the Society of Plastic Engineers (SPE) Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition (ANTEC) in Denver Colorado this past March. Over the past 30+ years, Dr. Shaw made vital contributions to polymer science and engineering that were shared in over 200 seminars and courses taught at the University of Connecticut. His books: Introduction to Polymer Rheology; Electrorheology; Water Treeing in Solid Dielectrics; and Introduction to Polymer Viscoelasticity have received citing by thousands of scientists and have been used in curriculums throughout the world. These books have been valued for both content and the method of communicating the ideas. His lifelong contributions to polymer science and engineering were celebrated at the daylong event. The symposium, organized by UConn’s Prof. Luyi Sun and Prof. Emertus Robert Weiss, included 13 speakers from both industry and academia.

Dr. Shaw’s began his career at Union Carbide Corp. before joining the University of Connecticut’s Polymer Program as a Professor of Chemical Engineering in 1978. He also gained experience with two year-long sabbaticals at DuPont and Sandia National Laboratories. Dr. Shaw states that, “if you change your environment, you learn new things”. This variety of experience helped him see various aspects of the field and recognize the importance of practical applications in academic research. His peers boast about the deep level of investigation Dr. Shaw made in all the details of rheology. This level of understanding sheds light on every step of the process, leaving nothing unseen.

Shaw Symposium presenters gathered for a photo with Dr. Shaw.
Shaw Symposium presenters gathered for a photo with Dr. Shaw.

During his more than 30 years as a UConn faculty member, Dr. Shaw was the major advisor of 44 students, helping develop the next generation of polymer scientists. Although he retired in 2009, Dr. Shaw continues to train and assist the students and faculty of the UConn IMS Polymer Program. He also served in leadership roles for the Society of Rheology. His positive attitude and love for science has made Dr. Shaw an integral leader of the Polymer community at the University of Connecticut and throughout the world.

Details of the symposium can be found at this LINK.

Xiangyi Xi Wins Stephanie H. Shaw Scholarship

Xiangyi Xi Wins Stephanie H. Shaw Award
IMS Polymer Program Director, Kelly Burke, presents the Stephanie H. Shaw Scholarship award to Xiangyi Xi.

Polymer Ph.D. student, Xiangyi Xi was the 2023 recipient of the Stephanie H. Shaw Scholarship. She made some major contributions in developing biosensors for the Papadimitrakopoulos research lab. She helped implement a multi-potential step pulsing test technique which lead to increased sensitivity and reduced power consumption of implantable glucose sensors. This lead to a patent currently in application.   More recently, she has helped develop of an enzymatic cascade sensor. In addition to her research, Xiangyi has continued to mentor the next wave of scientists, including 10 undergraduates over the past 5 years. Xiangyi is pictured with Polymer Director, Dr. Kelly Burke.

Hanyi Duan Wins Samuel J. Huang Award

Hanyi Duan Receives Samuel Huang Research Award
Polymer Program Director Kelly Burke and Dr. Jie He Present the Samuel Huang Research Award to Hanyi Duan.

Polymer Program Ph.D. student, Hanyi Duan, was the 2023 recipient of the Samuel J. Huang Graduate Student Research Award. Hanyi was recognized for his success in research, journal articles, and strong collaborative nature in the research laboratory. As a researcher, Hanyi has taken a leading role in developing new synthetic methodology to asymmetric polymer grafted metal nanoparticles. This research was the foundation of 6 publications as lead author. Hanyi is pictured with Polymer Program Director, Dr. Kelly Burke, and his major advisor, Dr. Jie He.

Anson Ma Named UTC Professor in Engineering Innovation

Anson Ma
Dr. Anson Ma

Anson Ma from Polymer Program at IMS, with joint appointment in the Department of Chemical and Bimolecular Engineering, has been named the United Technologies Corporation (UTC) Professor in Engineering Innovation, effective 23 August 2022. This professorship has been established to recognize the exceptional achievements of young faculty who exemplify excellence in the areas of research productivity and impact, teaching contributions, and service contributions and are at the very top of their area of research.

Ma’s research group focuses on rheology and 3D printing. He currently serves as the UConn Site Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) SHAP3D Center for Additive Manufacturing. He has received a number of awards, including Distinguished Young Rheologist Award from TA Instruments, NSF CAREER award, Arthur B. Metzner Early Career award from the Society of Rheology, 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award, Early Career Award from the American Association of University Professors (AAUP)-UConn Chapter, UConn Polymer Program Director’s Award for Faculty Excellence, and U.S. Air Force Summer Faculty Fellowship.

Polymer Program Announces 2021-2022 Awards

The IMS Polymer Program Awards committee has selected two awardees for the 2021 – 2022 academic year.

Chung Hao Polymer Program Award
Chung Hao Liu (center), winner of the Samuel J. Huang Graduate Student Research Award, with Polymer Program Director Kelly Burke (left) and advisor, Dr. Mu-Ping Nieh.

Chung-Hao Liu received the Samuel J. Huang Graduate Student Research Award.  This award recognizes a graduate student for outstanding research in the field of polymer science and engineering.  Chung-Hao completed is fourth year as a polymer PhD candidate under the guidance of Prof. Mu-Ping Nieh. He has been diligent in conducting advanced nanoscience research including materials characterization and designing polymer nanostructures. His efforts have resulted in two published journal articles, one currently in review, and contributions to many more. Chung-Hao has also made many collaborating efforts with other research groups and mentored undergraduate engineering students. Outside the lab, Chung-Hao has been an Society of Polymer Engineers, Storrs Chapter, committee member for 3 years, serving as both Vice President and President. His positive attitude and strong work ethics have made contributions to Prof. Nieh’s lab and the IMS research community.

Probodha Abeykoon Receives 2022 Polymer Program Award
Probodha Abeykoon (center), winner of the Stephanie H. Shaw Fellowship Scholar Award, with Polymer Program Director Kelly Burke and advisor, Dr. Douglas Adamson.

Probodha Abeykoon has been recognized as this year’s Stephanie H. Shaw Fellowship Scholar. This award is designated for a female student showing academic achievement and contributions outside of research.  Probodha has served as the leader of the Adamson Research Lab and has taken it upon herself to be the resident expert in several analytical techniques, such as four-point probe and thermal conductivity. She has two published papers and a third manuscript recently submitted. She has also presented her work at several ACS National Meetings. During the past 4 years Probodha has grown in into an excellent scientist and group leader.

The polymer program congratulates this year’s awardees with their tremendous efforts in both research and leadership in the IMS community.

IMS Faculty Members Named 2022 American Chemical Society PMSE Young Investigators

Kelly Burke-Sophie Wang
Drs. Kelly Burke (l) and Xueju “Sophie” Wang

Each year, the American Chemical Society’s Division of Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering (PMSE) honors young investigators through its PMSE Young Investigator Symposium which provides an opportunity to highlight the accomplishments of its honorees.  Honorees are chosen from early-career emerging leaders who have made significant contributions in their respective fields within polymer materials science and engineering. The invited honorees speak at a two-day “PMSE Young Investigator” symposium, held during the Fall National Meeting of the American Chemical Society.

IMS faculty members Kelly Burke and Xueju “Sophie” Wang have been named PMSE Young Investigator Honorees for 2022 and will speak at the two-day “PMSE Young Investigator” symposium, to be held during the Fall National Meeting of the American Chemical Society.

Kelly Burke joined the UConn faculty in 2014 as Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering with an appointment in the Institute of Materials Science.  She has been recognized for her accomplishments, including the National Institute of Health Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award and the prestigious NSF CAREER Award. She was appointed Director of the IMS Polymer Program in September 2021.

Sophie Wang joined the UConn faculty in 2020 as an Assistant Professor in the Materials Science and Engineering Department with an appointment in the Institute of Materials Science.  She has consistently distinguished her research with numerous publications and as the recipient of the ASME Orr Early Career Award, and the NSF CAREER Award.  She is an associate faculty member of the IMS Polymer Program.

IMS congratulates both Kelly and Sophie on this accomplishment.