The Macromolecules Innovation Institute (MII) will showcase its accomplishments in novel polymeric materials research and cutting-edge advanced manufacturing at MII’s annual technical conference and review from April 16-18.

This event, held every 18 months, will take place at the Inn at Virginia Tech. The conference and review provide an opportunity for scientists and engineers from industry and government to learn about MII’s research through faculty and student oral presentations and student posters. MII boasts an internationally-recognized research program in macromolecular science and engineering, and its interdisciplinary macromolecular sacience and engineering graduate degree continues to promote discovery and education at new intersections of science and engineering.

"This is our key showcase and is a visible representation of our excellence and commitment to leadership in our field," said MII director Tim Long, also professor of chemistry in the College of Science. "This event reminds us how fortunate we are to have the best facilities in the world, attract the best students, and opportunities galore to advance science and engineering."

The theme of this year’s conference is "From Molecules to Manufacturing," a tagline that associate director Chris Williams said encapsulates the breadth of MII’s work from science to engineering.

"MII has become a national and international leader in synthesizing materials and fabricating them using advanced manufacturing technologies," said Williams, also associate professor of mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering. "Not many schools can link synthesis to processing like we do."

There are five plenary speakers scheduled for the event, including two academic professors, one national laboratory scientist, and two industry scientists.

Samuel Stupp is the Board of Trustees Professor of Materials Science, Chemistry, Medicine, and Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern University and is coming to Virginia Tech as the Fralin and MII Visiting Scholar.

Joining Stupp as invited speakers are Christopher Bowman, the James and Catherine Patten Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder; Bradley Lokitz, research scientist at the Center for Nanophase Materials Science at Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Sudhin Datta, senior research scientist at ExxonMobil Chemical; and Nancy Zhang, research scientist at Carbon3D.

Zhang studied under Long and earned her Ph.D. in organic polymer chemistry from Virginia Tech in 2013.

“Stupp and Bowman are internally recognized researchers, and Lokitz brings a strong partnership from ORNL for our faculty,” Long said. “As an ExxonMobil research fellow, Datta will ensure we are aware of the key challenges that face the energy sector today and how materials will help solve these challenges. And of course, Nancy is a great example of an exceling alum and should be a real motivation for our students.”

The conference agenda also includes 24 other oral presentations, 113 poster presentations, and an after-dinner banquet presentation by Michael Hochella, University Distinguished Professor of Geosciences.

“The quantity and quality of abstracts is equivalent to some professional conferences in scale and showcases that MII is a true interdisciplinary destination area of research at Virginia Tech,” Williams said. “Our conference is an opportunity to demonstrate our leadership and our capacity for innovation.”

To see the full conference and review agenda, please click here.