Melanie Chiu, Ph.D.
Speaker's Institution
Stony Brook University
4:00 PM
Chemistry, A101
Mixer Time
Chemistry, B101E
Mixer Time
3:45 PM
Calendar (ICS) Event
Additional Information

Seminar abstract: This seminar will explore fundamental developments in polymer synthesis, including methods for controlling polymer dispersity and copolymer sequence. Growing evidence indicates that these parameters, dispersity and sequence, profoundly impact polymer material properties, such thermal stability and degradation profiles. Yet, methods for high-resolution control over these parameters are rare, preventing systematic correlation of polymer structure with material functions. We have developed new classes of photoswitchable initiators and catalyst systems that enable dynamic manipulation of dispersity and copolymer sequence, respectively. This work is the first demonstration of using light to control the dispersity of poly(vinyl ethers) and the sequence of poly(lactides). These results serve as a foundation for further exploring external control of polymer structure, and for accessing new polymer structures with tunable properties.

Bio: Melanie grew up in San Diego, California, and started her chemistry research career as an undergraduate at Dartmouth College in the laboratory of Prof. Peter Jacobi and spent a summer research internship at The Scripps Research Institute in the laboratory of Barry Sharpless. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley in the research groups of Profs. Bob Bergman and Dean Toste where she worked on developing organometallic agents for carbon-pnictogen bond formation. Melanie then sought to learn about how tools of physical organic chemistry can be used to make contributions to soft materials in postdoctoral research at ETH Zurich with Prof. Francois Diederich and at Stanford University with Prof. Zhenan Bao. Since starting her independent career at Stony Brook University, Melanie’s research group has focused on developing ways to use light as a tool for polymer synthesis. Her team’s work has been recognized with an NSF CAREER award in 2019 and an ACS PMSE Young Investigator Award in 2021.