HEADLINES: Darrell J. Irvine Named New Director of PPST • PPST Welcomes New Fall 2012 Recruits2012 MIT Polymer Day Symposium and Poster Contest2012 Poster Award Winners 2011 MIT Polymer Poster Contest-Lobby 13

Darrell J. Irvine Named New Director of PPST

Effective September 2nd, 2012, Prof. Darrell J. Irvine (DMSE) was named by the School of Engineering as the new Director of MIT’s Program in Polymer Science and Technology (PPST).  The Directorship passes from PPST Founder Prof. Robert E. Cohen,  (September 2009-present), who in the mid-1980′s promoted and coordinated efforts towards its creation, and then served formally as PPST Director in its inaugural year through the end of AY ’87.

During Cohen’s recent tenure, PPST experienced significant growth, increased corporate sponsorship and student participation, including formalization of the student-formed PGSA (PPST Graduate Student Association), and the implementation of a student organized ‘MIT Polymer Day’. The third edition of this exciting event, is scheduled for March 2013.  The MIT Polymer community will undoubtedly enjoy the benefits of Prof. Cohen’s legacy as pioneer of the program and in his recent 3 yr. term as Director, for many years into the future.

Newly appointed PPST DIrector Darrell J. Irvine is a Professor of Materials Science & Engineering and Biological Engineering at MIT and an investigator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He received his bachelor’s degree in Engineering Physics from the University of Pittsburgh in 1995 and his Ph.D. in Polymer Science from MIT in 2000. As a Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. Irvine moved from the physical sciences to the life sciences, studying fundamental aspects of T cell recognition in the laboratory of Mark M. Davis at Stanford University from 2000-2002. In 2002, he returned to MIT with a dual appointment in Materials Science & Engineering and Biological Engineering. Dr. Irvine is the recipient of an Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation Young Investigator Award, an NSF CAREER award, and was selected to the Technology Review ‘TR100’ in 2004. In 2008, he was selected as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. He is currently a member of the Steering Committee for the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard.

We are delighted to announce Prof. Irvine’s appointment as PPST Director, and know that his strengths and expertise at the interface of polymer science and biological engineering will prove to be a critical catalyst for the Program’s ongoing vitality, continued growth, and future relevance.

PPST Welcomes New Fall 2012 Recruits

Fall 2012 brings to PPST an exciting team of new recruits!  Please join us in welcoming the latest crop of 1st year polymer PhD students: Reginald Avery (University of Maryland), Sunandini Chopra (University of Akron), Aaron Huang (George Washington University), Byungjin Koo (Seoul National University), Alice Chi Lu (University of Illinois), Mikhil Ranka (University of Illinois), and Alina Rwei (MIT).

2012 MIT Polymer Day Symposium and Poster Contest

The PPST Graduate Student Association (PGSA) along with PPST organized the first annual Polymer Day Symposium on Wednesday March 7th, 2012, with sponsorship from Cabot Corporation and Lincoln Labs. Polymer Day was a half-day event that featured a broad array of polymer research across the MIT polymer community, with representatives from Materials Science and Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Biological Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Chemistry.

The event began with a poster session featuring over 50 posters and well over 100 attendees, including students, faculty, and industry representatives. Posters were judged by external representatives Dr. Eilidh Bedford and Dr. Jon Siddall (Cabot Corp.), Dr. Al Swiston (Lincoln Labs), Dr. Stephen Spiegelberg (Cambridge Polymer Group), Dr. Anuj Bellare (Brigham and Women’s Hospital), and Dr. Jeff Borenstein (Draper Labs). We are grateful to them for an extremely successful poster session!

The poster session was followed by three excellent talks:

  • Dr. Joseph Walish “Photonic Gels: Tunable Color from Colorless Materials”
  • Dr. Simon Haward “Stagnation Point Extensional Flow of Polymer Solutions”
  • Adam Zeiger “Excluded Volume Effects and the Extracellular Matrix”

The talks were followed by a reception, where faculty, students, and industry representatives enjoyed an informal forum to discuss polymers, collaboration, and networking.

The event was an incredible success! We thank our sponsors, Cabot Corporation and Lincoln Labs for their generous help in making this event a reality, and Greg Sands for his Herculean efforts to consider all the details that enabled the event to run smoothly.

2012 Poster Award Winners:

[As available, downloadable PDF's of winning posters have been linked to names/titles listed below]

Peter DeMuth, “Nano-layered Microneedle Arrays: A Materials Platform for Transcutaneous Vaccine and Therapeutics    Delivery”; 

Rong Yang, “Ultrathin Antifouling Coatings with Stable Surface Zwitterionic Functionality by initiated Chemical Vapor Deposition (iCVD)”

  • Honorable Mentions

David S. Liu, “Exploring Composite LbL Coated Electrospun Mats for Fuel Cell Applications”

Jeremy Jones, “DNA in confinement and in the presence of macromolecular crowding agent”

Jose Lobez, “Efficiency Improvement of Organic Bulk Heterojunction Solar Cells by Functionalized Polythiophene Additives”

Alpesh Patel, “Poly(glycerol Sebacate) – carbon nanotubes nanocomposites”


All 2012 Poster Titles

2011 MIT Polymer Poster Contest-Lobby 13 (3/18/2011)

On Friday March 18, 2011, PPST and the MIT polymer community filled MIT’s Lobby 13 with the sounds of undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral polymer researchers–over 60 presenters in all, describing and exhibiting the essence of their work, for contest judges, faculty, and the general public.

The impressive range and depth of the topics explored by contestants, and quality of the presentations made this a memorable afternoon for those seeking to learn more about the vitality of current polymer research at MIT.

Contestants and Poster Titles


Senior Achievement Division
First Prize:
Daniel K. Bonner

Second Prize: Priyadarshi Panda

Honorable Mention: Wui Siew Tan andBrett S. VanVeller

Early Achievement Division
First Prize:
Matthew J. Glassman

Second Prize: Jonathan P. Singer

Honorable Mention:  Matthew M. Mannarino and Christy D. Petruczok

Please join us in congratulating our
2011 MIT Polymer Poster Contest Award Winners!


PPST is deeply appreciative of the contributions made by our co-sponsors, the Xerox Foundation, and the duPont-MIT Alliance, whose support made this exciting event possible.

Our sincerest thanks to our judges: Dr. Anuj Bellare (Brigham and Womens’ Hospital), Dr. Erik S. Handy (GVD Corporation), Dr. Orhun Muratoglu (Mass. General Hospital), Dr. Stephen Spiegelberg (Cambridge Polymer Group), Dr. Albert J. Swiston, Jr. (Lincoln Lab), and Prof. Joyce Y. Wong (Boston University). Their collective and individual expertise, time, energy, and teamwork were an exceptional and critical keystone to our event for which we are deeply grateful!

The energy, enthusiasm, and vision of PPST’s Graduate Students’ Association (PGSA) and in particular, PGSA President Charles E. Sing, officers Matthew M. Mannarino, and Jane Wang, were critical to the logistical success every phase of this event. We are grateful for their transformative contributions and boots on the ground leadership! Special thanks also to Adam S. Zeiger for help with database management, and Keith M. Forward who willingly served as both contestant and event photographer.

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