Keynote Speakers

Prof. Trisha Andrew | University of Massachusetts Amherst

Professor Trisha L. Andrew is an Associate Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She directs the Wearable Electronics Lab, a multi-disciplinary research team that creates electronic devices  on unconventional substrates using reactive vapor deposition, a technique that allows unmatched flexibility in device architectures, array configurations, and product assembly.  

Trisha started her career as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Electrical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, after receiving her Ph.D. from MIT in 2011. She has unconventional training in the disparate fields of synthetic organic chemistry and microelectronic device fabrication that inform her unique problem-solving skills and varied research interests. Trisha is a David and Lucille Packard Foundation Fellow, a National Academy of Sciences Kavli Fellow, an Air Force Office of Scientific Research Young Investigator, a L’Oréal USA For Women in Science Fellow, a 3M Nontenured Faculty Award winner, and was named as one Forbes’ magazine “30 Under 30” Innovators in Energy.

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Dr. Xi Chen | Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Dr. Xi Chen is a Research Associate Polymer Scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory researching polymer-ceramic composite electrolytes for high energy lithium batteries.

Dr. Chen received a B.S. in Applied Chemistry from Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 2005 and a Ph.D. in Macromolecular Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan in 2011 Following this, she began her career as a postdoc at Lawrence Berkley national lab investigating functional block copolymer membranes.

ORNL Profile

Prof. Juan de Pablo | University of Chicago

Juan de Pablo is the Liew Family Professor in Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School for Molecular Engineering (PME), Executive Vice President for Science, Innovation, National Laboratories, and Global Initiatives, and Senior Scientist at Argonne National Laboratory.

Much of Juan de Pablo’s work entails conducting supercomputer simulations to understand and design new materials from scratch and to find applications for them. He is a leader of simulations of polymeric materials, including DNA dynamics — how DNA molecules arrange and organize themselves and interact with other DNA molecules. He also studies protein aggregation and its poorly understood relationship to various diseases, including type II diabetes and neurodegenerative disorders.

de Pablo provides leadership for the University’s stewardship of two U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratories — Argonne and Fermilab — as institutions to advance science and technology in support of the nation’s interest. He collaborates with other leaders in research and innovation to build programs and links between and among the national laboratories and the University, as well as the Marine Biological Laboratory. Working closely with President Paul Alivisatos, he plays an essential role in the University’s partnership with the Department of Energy.

A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the American Physical Society, de Pablo also has received the 2011 Charles Stine Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the DuPont Medal for Excellence in Nutrition and Health Sciences in 2016, and the Intel Patterning Science Award in 2015. He currently chairs the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Advisory Committee of the National Science Foundation, and the Committee on Condensed Matter and Materials Research at the National Research Council. He is the founding editor of Molecular Systems Design and Engineering, and co-director of the new Center for Hierarchical Materials Design. In 2016, de Pablo was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). In 2022, he was elected into the National Academy of Sciences.

de Pablo earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in 1985. After completing his doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1990, he conducted postdoctoral research at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland. de Pablo joined the University of Wisconsin faculty in 1992 and served as the Howard Curler Distinguished Professor and Hilldale Professor of Chemical Engineering.

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Prof. Amir Sheikhi | Penn State University

Dr. Amir Sheikhi founded the Bio-Soft Materials Laboratory (B-SMaL) at Penn State in August 2019 to tackle some of the quintessential challenges of the 21st century in biomedicine and the environment by designing novel bio-based soft material platforms via micro- and nanoengineering techniques. Amir’s lab consists of 10 graduate students, 1 postdoctoral fellow, and more than 15 undergraduate researchers, supported by $3+M of funding, including NIH R01 and R56 grants. Amir’s research has been featured in more than 60 publications, 50 seminars, and 14 reports of invention/patent applications with recognition by over 40 news media outlets. He is the recipient of several major awards, including the AIChE’s 35 Under 35, The 2022 ACS Unilever Award for Outstanding Young Investigator in Colloid & Surfactant Science, The John C. Chen Young Professional Leadership Scholarship, UNIFOR Global Research Fellowship.

Recently, Amir was named as one of the 9 emerging leaders in Chemical and Biomedical Engineering worldwide, featured on the cover of the Inaugural “Futures” Issue of Bioengineering & Translational Medicine journal. Amir earned his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at McGill University and continued to complete two years of postdoctoral research on Colloids and Macromolecules at McGill Chemistry. Before joining Penn State, Amir was a postdoctoral fellow in Engineering in Medicine/Bioengineering at Harvard Medical School and UCLA. Amir is currently an Associate Editor of Bioengineering & Translational Medicine and is on the editorial board of Biomaterials and Bioactive Materials.

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