Polymer materials conference features medical, energy, nanoscale applications

BLACKSBURG, Va., March 25, 2009 – The Macromolecules and Interfaces Institute at Virginia Tech is hosting the 2009 Technical Conference and Review, "Macromolecular Science and Engineering at Virginia Tech: Enabling a Healthy and Sustainable World," Monday through Wednesday, April 13, 14, and 15, at The Inn at Virginia Tech.

Five half-day sessions with 25 lectures from Virginia Tech faculty and two poster sessions where approximately 100 student posters will highlight ongoing research in the polymer program related to materials for medicine, energy, sustainability, and other applications. The institute is one of the leading polymer oriented programs in the United States with more than 50 faculty members and 120 graduate students devoted to emerging technologies that are enabled with novel polymeric materials.

Three outstanding and world-recognized plenary lecturers whose topics are strategically important to the commonwealth and the nation will speak during the technical program.

Monday afternoon, Joseph DeSimone, Chancellor's Eminent Professor of Chemistry at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, will kick-off a session on "Materials Medicine" with a lecture entitled "Using the Fabrication Technologies from the Microelectronics Industry to Address Unmet Needs in Drug Delivery."

Among many other honors, DeSimone is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the recent winner of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lemelson Prize. This session will highlight the intersection of Virginia Tech's polymeric materials efforts and the strong societal needs for new functional materials for advanced therapeutic delivery systems, diagnostics, and tissue engineering.

The Tuesday afternoon session will feature the plenary lecture of Tobin Marks, the Vladimir N. Ipatieff Professor of Chemistry at Northwestern University. Marks, the winner of many national awards and member of both the National Academy of Science and the National Academy of Engineering, will address the role of novel materials in building structures for the energy area.

His lecture is entitled "Self-Assembly Processes for Constructing Unconventional Organic, Organometallic, and Inorganic Electronic Circuitry." This session will showcase Virginia Tech's leading polymer efforts in fuel cell membranes and organic photovoltaics.

The Wednesday morning session will focus on the important role that polymeric materials play in a sustainable world with lectures from faculty members on polymers derived from renewable resources and natural assembly processes. The session will be kicked-off with the plenary lecture of Geoff Coates, the Betty R. Miller Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Cornell University.

Coates is the 2009 winner of the new American Chemical Society Award for Green Chemistry and is the 2009 winner of the ACS Division of Polymer Chemistry Marvel Award for Creative Polymer Chemistry. His lecture is entitled "Development of New Routes to Benign Polymeric Materials."

The Macromolecules and Interfaces Institute is an interdisciplinary university institute consisting of over 50 faculty members representing 14 departments from five colleges and has the goal of promoting world-class research and education in macromolecular science and engineering. Information for the conference can be found on the institute’s website.

Registration is urged by April 1. Rooms at The Inn will be released after that date.