ISM Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary

Posted in News Story

Event speakers. From left to right: Prof. Daniel Blair (ISM, Georgetown), Dr. Stella Alimperti (Georgetown), Dr. Kathryn Beers (NIST), Dr. Robert Moore (Virginia Tech), and Prof. Nagarjuna Gavvalapalli (ISM, Georgetown). Not pictured (attendance via Zoom): Stephen Craig (Duke University)

On Thursday, September 22, 2022, the Institute of Soft Matter Synthesis and Metrology at Georgetown celebrated its 10-year anniversary. Researchers from the ISM and broader soft matter and science community gathered at Georgetown’s Main Campus to reflect on the current state of soft matter research. The day began with a welcome given by Prof. Billy Jack (Vice Provost for Research, Georgetown University), Dr. Eric Lin (NIST), and Prof. Emanuela Del Gado (Director of the Institute for Soft Matter, Georgetown University). The morning consisted of a variety of talks given to discuss exciting questions and developments in current research. The speakers included Profs. Daniel Blair and Nagarjuna Gavvalapalli of the ISM, Dr. Stella Alimperti (Georgetown University), Dr. Kathryn Beers (NIST), Prof. Stephen Craig (Duke University), and Dr. Robert Moore (Virginia Tech).

In the afternoon, a panel discussion was held with all the speakers, moderated by Prof. Emanuela Del Gado. The panel provided a chance to discuss possible intersections with the research presented, both for panelists and audience members. Topics included the possible contribution of soft matter to building better biomaterials for 3D printing in medicine, exploiting AI to build upon modeling, or taking advantage of racemic enzyme activity for biosensors. A large part of the discussion was also devoted to the issue, in soft matter and the larger science community, of how to integrate data generated into models and applications. Due to the many research directions in soft matter, there is a need to build an infrastructure for data and formalize how it is collected so it can best be shared with the community and future generations. In further discussions on how to advance new research, it was brought up how to leverage ISM’s unique environment. With its geographic advantage of being located in DC — a center for policy-making — external partnerships with departments like NIST, and additional opportunities with groups on campus, ISM is excited to see how they can do more to connect with others and build synergies across the field.

The afternoon continued with a poster session to present research from many of the ISM’s labs. Presenters ranged from high school students to post-doctoral researchers and professors, and it was a chance for them to demonstrate their hard work and share exciting developments from their inquiries. Event attendees were able to walk around and discuss projects, in an impressive display of up-and-coming soft matter scientists.

Overall, the event was an amazing opportunity to hear from current soft matter research, from the ISM and beyond, and to discuss ways to build and expand on such an exciting area of science. A big thank you to everyone who attended this event, and especially those whose gave presentations! And an additional thank you to Amy Gould for organizing!