Seeds

Materials Systems for Controlling Extra- and Intracellular Assembly and Function

Funding Period: April 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020

Principal Investigator

Wendy Crone
Professor, Engineering Physics
crone@engr.wisc.edu

Co-Investigators

Timothy Kamp
Professor, Medicine/Cell and Regenerative Biology
Wisconsin Institute for Medical Research

Lih-Sheng Turng
Professor, Mechanical Engineering

Students

Alana Stempien, astempien@wisc.edu

Molecularly Doped Topological Photonic Materials

Funding Period: April 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020

Principal Investigator

Randall Goldsmith
Associate Professor, Chemistry

Co-Investigators

Paul Campagnola
Professor, Biomedical Engineering

Zongfu Yu
Associate Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering

Students & Postdocs

  • Samuel Alkmin, alkmin@wisc.edu
  • Michael Mattei, mattei2@wisc.edu
  • Lei Ying, lying8@wisc.edu
  • Ming Zhou, mzhou34@wisc.edu

Synthetic Soft Matter Inspired by Behaviors of Bacterial Communities

Funding Period: April 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020

Principal Investigators

David Lynn
Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering

Helen Blackwell
Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering

Co-Investigator

Reid Van Lehn
Assistant Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering

Students & Postdocs

  • Harshit Argawal, hagarwal3@wisc.edu
  • Lawrence Chen, lmchen@wisc.edu
  • Curran Gahan, cgahan@wisc.edu
  • Kayleigh Nyffleler, nyffeler@chem.wisc.edu
  • Benjamin Ortiz, bortiz@wisc.edu
  • Samarthaben Patel, spatel46@wisc.edu
  • Thomas Polaske, polaske@wisc.edu
  • Fengrui Wang, fwang82@wisc.edu
  • Korbin West, khwest@wisc.edu
  • Ke Zhao, kzhao29@wisc.edu

Potential Energy Landscape, Two-Level System and Boson Peak in Silica

Funding Period: April 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020

Principal Investigator

Bu Wang
Asisstant Professor, Civil & Environmental Engineering
bu.wang@wisc.edu

Co-Investigator

Isabel Szlufarska
Professor, Materials Science and Engineering

Students

Zheng Yu, zheng.yu@wisc.edu

Machine Learning Algorithms for High-Throughput Materials Data

Funding Period: April 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020

Principal Investigator

Victor Zavala
Associate Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering
victor.zavala@wisc.edu

Co-Investigator

Reid Van Lehn
Assistant Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering

Students

  • Shengli Jiang, sjiang87@wisc.edu
  • Alexander Smith, adsmith23@wisc.edu

Complex Oxides Nanomembranes: Synthesis, Assembly, and Order-from-Disorder Transitions in Confined Geometries

Funding Period: April 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020

Principal Investigators

Francesca Cavallo
Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Co-Investigator

Christoph Deneke
Professor, Applied Physics, Universidade Estadual de Campinas – UNICAMP

Students

  • Divya Jioty Prakash, University of New Mexico, dprakash@unm.edu
  • Vijay Saradhi Mangu, University of New Mexico, vjsaradhimangu@unm.edu

Seed Highlights

  • Calls for Seed and Superseed Proposals Funded by MRSEC

    The Wisconsin Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) seeks proposals for interdisciplinary, collaborative Superseed and Seed projects.

  • (2019) Design Rules for Soft Materials with Integrated Natural and Synthetic Building Blocks

    Bacteria communicate via molecular signals that they produce in high concentrations. Bacterial communication promotes the formation of biofilms that can be harmful to humans and costly to industry. We have shown that collections of individual bacterial signaling molecules interact in water to form soft materials (“self-assemble”) with spherical, layered, or cylindrical structures. Simulation images showing the formation of a spherical structure (“micelle”) are shown with corresponding experimental images.

  • (2019) Atomic and Electronic Structure of a Heusler Alloy

    Heusler compounds are promising materials for next generation devices for direct conversion of heat to electricity (thermoelectricity) and for magnetic computer memory. Performance in these applications depends sensitively on the arrangement of the atoms and the behavior of electrons, both of which are hard to predict and harder to control for Heuslers. We have grown thin films of FeVSb, a new Heusler compound, using molecular beam epitaxy, a kind of spray painting with “cans” of different atoms. The top picture is an electron microscope image showing the arrangement of the Fe, V, and Sb as different size dots. On the right, the image shows the material we want, FeVSb. On the left, there is a completely new, unexpected material, Fe2VSb, which is a new kind of magnet.

  • (2018) Seed: Synthetic soft matter created and inspired by communal behaviors of bacteria

    This Seed project engaged underrepresented minority students in STEM through the MRSEC-sponsored summer REU program at UW-Madison. Doris A. Vargas Valentin, an undergraduate student from the University of Puerto Rico—Mayaguez, learned how to use dynamic light scattering and surface and surface tensiometry to characterize the self-assembly of smallmolecule amphiphiles in solution, analyze her experimental results, and present the results of her work in a formal setting during an eight-week stay in Madison. This experience also provided opportunities for Benjamin J. Ortiz, a senior graduate student who is also an underrepresented minority student in the Wisconsin MRSEC, to develop and hone his mentoring skills.

  • (2018) Seed: Synthetic soft matter created and inspired by communal behaviors of bacteria

    Many bacteria have evolved dynamic networks of amphiphilic molecules that form a chemical "language" that they use to communicate and regulate group behaviors. This communication, in turn, governs the synthesis of bacterial biofilms and the production of other chemical goods, including other amphiphilic or redoxactive species, that are unique to large groups or communities of bacteria typically associated with bacterial infections. Researchers at the Wisconsin MRSEC are investigating the self-assembly of this chemical alphabet, and the properties of the nanostructures that form in solution and at interfaces, to design new types of synthetic and responsive soft materials that can respond to or “communicate” selectively with bacterial communities in ways that are distinct from those of existing materials, which are generally designed to interact with or kill individual bacterial cells.

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