The Institute for Materials Research (IMR) dedicates one week each May to celebrate all the innovative research and accomplishments of the materials community at The Ohio State University.
And this year, there was no shortage of achievements deserving recognition.
More than 350 researchers from academia, industry and government labs came together at 2019 OSU Materials Week, making the multi-day conference one of IMR’s most diverse gatherings of materials-allied researchers to date. The conference was held May 7 through 9 at the Blackwell Inn and Conference Hall on Ohio State’s main campus.
The conference featured three days of cross-cutting and focus sessions, two evenings of student poster sessions, the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition, plenty of awards, and a welcome from Morley Stone, who leads Ohio State’s Office of Research.
The 2019 IMR Keynote Address, given by Tatjana Curcic, helped kick off this year’s events. Curcic serves as program manager at the Defense Sciences Office of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). She presented “From Basic Research to Quantum Technologies: Challenges and Opportunities.”
Connecting the Materials Community
OSU Materials Week was founded to “encourage the breadth of materials-allied researchers at the university to come together once a year and meet each other, collide, talk and create collaborations,” said IMR Executive Director Steven Ringel, a Distinguished University Professor, Neal A. Smith Professor of Electrical Engineering, and Associate Vice President for Research.
Each year, IMR solicits topics of interest from faculty to be featured throughout the week in focus and cross-cutting sessions. This ensures the range of research areas covered each year reflects the breadth of the materials community at Ohio State, while always being different.
Three cross-cutting sessions this year brought together researchers from Ohio State, the University of Chicago, Purdue University, the Air Force Research Laboratory, and Honda R&D Americas: “Materials for Quantum Science,” ”Data Science for Advanced Manufacturing“ and “Materials in Energy Applications for a Carbon Sustainable World.”
Researchers from across the country also spoke during four focus sessions: “Materials for Biofabrication,” ”Next-generation Functional Materials,” “Wide Bandgap Materials and Ionizing Radiation” and “Elastomers and Other Polymers for Improved Sustainability.”
“I was just reflecting on why the materials area has such a special place in my heart, in terms of a research area. First of all, it is one of the few areas of science and engineering where the ability to be creative and multidisciplinary is truly encouraged and rewarded,” said Morley Stone, senior vice president for research at Ohio State. “Secondly, and just as important, I think the ability to move from fundamental knowledge and insight into applied and commercial applications is endless. And the technical diversity is always what excited me about the materials science area.”
Celebrating Student Research and Achievements
IMR helped shine a spotlight on student researchers at Ohio State.
For two consecutive nights, rows of partitions displaying graduate students’ research posters filled the Blackwell Ballroom. Work was showcased from more than 100 students at Ohio State, as well as a handful from Ohio University and Case Western Reserve University.
The top 10 poster presenters were recognized during Thursday’s closing ceremony.
A highlight of OSU Materials Week, the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®), helped close the first day of events. The competition challenges graduate students to present a clear, compelling thesis and its significance in just three minutes or less. Awards were given at Thursday’s closing ceremony.
- 2019 3MT Top Prize: Parker Evans, a doctoral candidate in Translational Plant Sciences and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE), presented “Translating between Electronic and Ionic Systems.“ His advisors are College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences professor Katrina Cornish and MAE associate professor Vishnu Sundaresan.
- 2019 3MT Runner-up: Abhilasha Dehankar, a doctoral student in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, presented “Spatial interaction of inorganic nanoparticles in novel nanoparticle composites.” Her advisor is College of Engineering professor Jessica Winter.
- 2019 3MT Spirit Award: MAE doctoral student Lalith Rao presented “Development of High-Energy Cathodes for Li-ion Batteries.” His advisors are MAE assistant professor Jung-Hyun Kim and IMR Director of Innovation Jay Sayre, who also serves as adjunct associate professor in Materials Science and Engineering.
Faculty and Staff Awards
Several IMR faculty members on May 9 took the stage to be recognized for their achievements in innovation.
Katrina Cornish received the 2019 IMR Innovator of the Year award. She is the endowed chair and Ohio Research Scholar for Bioemergent Materials, and technical director of the Program of Excellence in Natural Rubber Alternatives.
Cornish was also named Innovator of the Year this month by the Office of Research and the Corporate Engagement Office at the Ohio State’s Research and Innovation Showcase event.
Karen Dannemiller received the IMR Early Career Innovator of the Year award. She is an assistant professor in Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering and the Environmental Health Sciences in the College of Public Health.
Dannemiller’s interdisciplinary research addresses emerging health challenges and environmental concerns through the integration of engineering with microbiology.
Both awards were presented by Scott Osborne, who heads the Corporate Engagement Office.
IMR presented Henk Colijn with the Distinguished Service Award for his dedicated and impactful career in research at Ohio State. He serves as assistant director of research operations at Center for Electron Microscopy and Analysis (CEMAS).
“Henk Colijn has taught Transmission Electron Microscopy and X-ray Diffraction to many generations of IMR students and researchers. IMR alumni often recall the rigorous and comprehensive nature of Henk’s teaching, as well as his attention to detail. Henk continues to be an invaluable resource for all IMR researchers on sample preparation and design of experiments for microstructural characterization,” said IMR Associate Director David McComb, who serves as CEMAS director, Ohio Research Scholar and professor in Materials Science and Engineering. “He played an important role in the design of CEMAS and, as an assistant director, takes responsibility for many aspects of the operation of the facility, including health and safety.”
2019 OSU Materials Week was supported by Ohio State Energy Partners — ENGIE and Axium Infrastructure, the Center for Emergent Materials, and L3 Space & Sensors.
Article by Mike Huson, IMR Public Relations Coordinator