Nano@IAState: Bringing nanoscience and nanomaterial research together at Iowa State

On July 27, 2017 nanoscience and nanomaterial researchers gathered for an event that was first of its kind on the Iowa State University campus. The event, Nano@IAState, was held in the South Ballroom and Sun Room of the Memorial Union. It was an all-day meeting that brought together scientists focused on the synthesis and characterization of nanomaterials and applications of nanoscience.

Nano@IAState was co-organized by Dr. Martin Thuo, Assistant Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Dr. Aaron Rossini, Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry, and Dr. Matthew Panthani, Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering.

Andrew Martin, materials science and engineering student
Andrew Martin, materials science and engineering student gives an oral presentation

The idea for Nano@IAState originated out of a discussion between the three organizers about the lack of inter-departmental communications amongst faculty studying nanomaterials. Because of this noticed problem, their solution was to hold a one-day symposium as a way to bring students, faculty, and industry professionals together to share their research and to begin to form future collaborative projects.

Dr. Thuo said, “There is a large and diverse expertise on campus and around Ames, but we do not have platforms to learn about each other. We hope that the students and faculty who participate in this forum will get a chance to see on-campus research but also learn about technology transition and economic development efforts going on at ISU. For the students, it’s also a chance to learn about other career options such as creating startups and opportunities from local industries.”

Nano@IAState was a success for the nanomaterials community. The day consisted of 24 oral presentations and a concluding poster session which included 33 posters. It was estimated that there were over 100 participants predominantly from ISU, but a few local companies sent participants as well.

Prizes were awarded to the best posters and oral presentations.

The best oral presentation was given by Nathan Horst, a graduate student in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

Boyce Chang, materials science and engineering
Boyce Chang, materials science and engineering student

Runners-up included:

  • Meghana Akella- mechanical engineering
  • Srikanthan Ramesh- chemical and biological engineering
  • Brett Boote- chemistry
  • M. Arthur White- chemistry

The best poster presentation was given by John Hondred, a graduate student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Runners-up included:

  • Boyce Chang- materials science and engineering
  • Rainie Nelson- chemical and biological engineering
  • Dilini Singappuli-Arachchige- chemistry
  • Madeleine Wilsey- chemical and biological engineering

Dr. Thuo said, “The response for this event has been great. I particularly led industry outreach and worked closely with ISU economic development. The ISU Startup Factory, ISU Research Park and VP-ED were very supportive, and they have also had great insights to organizing follow-up events.”

“Nano@IAState is a great illustration of our strength in nanomaterials research and how it is a growing area here at Iowa State. For one, we’ve got leading university, national lab, and industry nanomaterials researchers all right here in Ames. Couple that with our dedication to collaborating across organizations and departments and add in cutting-edge nanotech facilities, and you’ve got the recipe for making major breakthroughs in nanomaterials and nanosciences,” said Arun Somani, Iowa State College of Engineering’s associate dean for research. “I’m eager to see what new ideas and partnerships have come out of Nano@IAState!”

poster session at Nano@IAState

This event was sponsored by the Startup Factory, Iowa State University Research Park, The Ames Laboratory, ISU VP Economic Development, the College of Engineering, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, the Department of Chemistry, and the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering.