Author: Heike Brueckner

MRS Student Chapter Welcomes New MSE Graduate Students

By Amanda Olavarria

UConn MRS Student Chapter Welcome Event
UConn MRS Student Chapter Welcome Event

The UConn MRS Student Chapter hosted a Welcome Event for new MSE graduate students at Grille 86 in downtown Storrs as part of their graduate student orientation. This new event, initiated by Director for Graduate Studies Professor Bryan Huey, provides students time to mingle and get to know one another before the semester takes off.

MRS chapter president Gyuho Song and his fellow officers helped make the event a great success. New and current students alike gave positive feedback and were pleased to have attended. One student stated, “It was a lot of fun, and entering into a new place has not at all been intimidating.”

The MRS Student Chapter at UConn serves to educate and recruit future scientists and engineers, as well as provide support for current graduate students in materials science through social events and resources available to the organization. The UConn chapter regularly attends the annual MRS Fall Meeting & Exhibit in Boston where they present their research via short talks and posters, have the opportunity to network with graduate students from around the world, and interact with industry professionals and top researchers.

MRS Hosts Grad-Lab Learning Night, Awards MSE Students

By Amanda Campanaro

Gyuho Song, Ph.D. Student in Dr. Seok-Woo Lee’s lab and MRS Chapter President, answers questions from undergraduates after his presentation.
Gyuho Song, Ph.D. Student in Dr. Seok-Woo Lee’s lab and MRS Chapter President, answers questions from undergraduates after his presentation.

Dozens of students attended an MSE graduate lab and research session April 19 hosted by UConn MRS to learn about the opportunities available in graduate studies and compete for a number of prizes.

MSE graduate students Gyuho Song of Dr. Seok-Woo Lee’s group, Rohit Batra of Dr. Rampi Ramprasad’s group, Sumit Suresh of Dr. Avinash Dongare’s group and Kenneth Ogueri of Dr. Cato T. Laurencin’s group (tied) won prizes for their lab research presentations.

“It was so wonderful to see our colleagues giving witty presentations of their work,” Gyuho says. “We had a lot of fun together with the undergraduate students.”

The MRS chapter is currently led by MSE Ph.D. students Gyuho Song, Cain Hung, Sergey Galitskiy, and Kenneth Ogueri. Gyuho, Chapter President, conceived of the idea to host the event to help increase awareness of the work being done at the graduate level, and to inform undergraduates of the many IMS and MSE graduate research options.

Graduate and undergraduate students gathered to enjoy the lab group presentations and vote for the most entertaining three at the recent MRS meeting.
Graduate and undergraduate students gathered to enjoy the lab group presentations and vote for the most entertaining three at the recent MRS meeting.

Six graduate students presented, five of them from MSE. Two MSE undergraduates who conduct research in Dr. Harold Brody’s lab also gave brief, impromptu presentations. The presentations lasted five minutes and were judged by the undergraduate audience by how well they expressed the research being done in a fun and engaging way.

The presenters competed for three gift cards to Price Chopper of varying amounts, awarded to the presentation that was the most entertaining for the undergraduates. Gyuho says “I wanted to show the undergraduates that lab life can also be fun.”

The undergraduate prizes included two $10 gift cards for the student who asked the best questions, which were judged by Cain, MRS treasurer.

“This year, we had great support from our MSE department and the overarching MRS,” Gyuho says. “The faculty advisor, Dr. Lee, gave a lot of advice which made the team work hard and ultimately made it more enjoyable.”

There are currently no solid plans for a similar event next semester, but the current president hopes to continue hosting informational events for undergraduates and increasing the MRS participation.

Materials Research Society (MRS) Student Chapter Tours Brookhaven National Laboratory

By Giorgina Paiella

Members of the UConn Materials Research Society (MRS) student chapter had the unique opportunity to tour Brookhaven National Laboratory in Long Island, New York.

Brookhaven visit

Founded in 1947 and primarily funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the cutting-edge research institution is home to nearly 3,000 scientists, engineers, and support staff who are joined by 4,000 visiting researchers each year from across the globe.

The group toured three facilities during their visit. The first was the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) II, a state-of-the-art medium-energy electron storage ring that produces beams of light in x-ray, ultraviolet, and infrared wavelengths. The synchrotron is predicted to serve a key role in the discovery and analysis of new materials. The group then toured the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider and STAR detector, a facility that hosts the collision and detection of atoms at approximately the speed of light and allows for the discovery of new sub-atomic physics phenomena. The students were allowed an exclusive glimpse of the intricate and complex construction of the STAR detector.

The MRS chapter lastly toured the Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN). The CFN hosts various analysis techniques and is home to nano-fabrication facilities, time resolved absorption and emission spectroscopy, and atomic resolution imaging with scanning transmission (STEM), transmission (TEM), and scanning tunneling (STM) electron microscopy.

Brookhaven visit

Activities 2012

December 17th, 2012: Dr. Pinar Zorlutuna of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering Department of UConn gave the 3rd and last special seminar of 2012 at 11 am in IMS 159. The talk was titled “Micro and Nanofabricated Biomaterials for Engineering Biomimetic Tissues”. In her seminar, after giving a brief introduction to tissue engineering, and discussing some of the biomaterials and fabrication approaches that she has been developing for constructing biomimetic tissues, she gave insight about the micro and nanoscale fabrication approaches she has been using for engineering scaffold architecture, improving biomechanical properties of engineered tissues, and controlling cellular orientation and differentiation.

November 16th, 2012: Information Session for Undergraduates
An informal information session was held about getting a graduate degree in MSE for undergraduate students. The event was at 6pm in IMS 159. 6 of the information providers were graduate students in MSE PhD program (Vinnie Palumbo – Jim Bosse – Austin McDonald – Adam Wentworth – Yasemin Kutes – Venkatesh Botu) and one was a UConn MSE grad school graduate (Jackie Garofano – founder of MRS Chapter – now works at UTRC, CT). Graduate Admissions Coordinator Trista Albert was also with us to answer admissions related questions. 8 undergraduate students were benefited from this event.

November 7th, 2012: Prof. Challa V. Kumar of UConn Chemistry Department gave a seminar (2nd Special Seminar of the year, 1st one was given by Prof. Barrett Wells) in IMS 20 at 11am. The seminar was titled “Enzyme/Organic/Inorganic Hybrid Biocatalytic Nanomaterials”. Dr. Kumar talked about their long-term goal of elucidating the molecular signatures of protein-solid interactions, and how this knowledge is useful for the rational design of protein arrays, biocatalysts, biosensors, medical implants and biomaterials. He illustrated several strategies to overcome protein and enzyme deactivation when bound to solid surfaces. The mechanism of protein adsorption on solid surfaces was discussed and novel methods to control protein-solid interactions were presented.

October 5th, 2012: New MRS Officers were selected for the year 2012-2013.

  • President: YASEMIN KUTES
  • Vice President: JAMES BOSSE
  • Secretary: SRIRAM VIJAYAN
  • Treasurer: VENKATESH BOTU

March 11 and March 21, 2013: Our Chapter’s Special Project was also awarded by UConn SOE and MSE Department on March 11 and March 21, 2013 respectively with generous amounts of support. Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education, Dr. Micheal Accorsi mentioned that he was very impressed with the level of activities of our chapter and, in particular, our outreach efforts to high school students through the ASM Materials Camp and various other events.

February 5th, 2013: Our Chapter’s Special Project Proposal for 2013 was recommended for funding by Materials Research Society and the chapter was awarded $400.00 for MRS Chapter Seminars and Industry Trips.

We were informed that the competition for the Special Project Funding was particularly strong this year and priority was given to those projects that were new initiatives, and not a continuation or expansion of a present activity, and to those that were clearly initiated by the students.

This year’s special project aims to bring the chapter’s activities outside of UConn campus, introducing industrial opportunities to the students via 2 field trips. With the field trips, the students will have a better idea of what real-world applications their education will apply to, and help shape their path more accurately. We have come to the realization that many students are not sure whether industry or academia is the right choice for their careers. In this direction, in the coming year we would like to introduce two, technical materials science related field trips, and three talks by local industrial representatives (R&D managers, research scientists, etc) in addition to technical talks.
Again, we would like to increase the outreach efforts beyond UConn campus by visiting high schools in Hartford area and other universities within the state.

March 21st: Dr. Barrett Wells of UCONN physics presented a 45 minutes long seminar on superconductivity. He mainly talked about understanding the behaviour of high temperature superconductors. Click here to see his talk. The seminar was followed by a Q&A session where he answered several curious questions from the audience consisting of both graduate and undergraduate students. Towards the end, a demo on MEGLEV was also given by the speaker, which spurred a lot of interest.

professor wells         professors wells and carter

professor wells' talk


March 14th: MRS Chapter Seminar (first in the five-seminar-series as a part of the UCNN MRS special project) by Dr. Barrett Wells of UCONN physics was announced.
pdf icon  Flyer                      pdf icon    Bio Dr. Barret Wells


February 22nd: First MRS Chapter meeting for the Spring semester. The meeting was jointly held with materials advantage. At this meeting, we had a pizza party and screened a talk titled “The World in 2030” by Dr. Michio Kaku. The meeting also provided an opportunity to the graduate and undergraduate students to interact with each other.


February 15th: Planning begins for the Seminar Series hosted by our MRS University Chapter, as a part of the proposed special project. Through this project, we would like to expand our chapter’s services to the larger material research community at the University of Connecticut, including students in applied physics and chemistry, biomolecular engineering, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, and materials science and engineering. In the coming year we will organize a series of technical materials science related interdisciplinary talks by UCONN’s faculty members from various departments and a technical poster session featuring work carried out at both graduate and undergraduate levels.


February 6th: The MRS chapter officers meet to plan chapter’s activities.


January 20th: We received notification from Yury Gogotsi Chair, MRS University Chapters and Special Projects Subcommittee, that our chapter was awarded full funding requested for the Special Project proposal.