2021 Langmuir Lectureship Award Winners Announced - ACS Axial | ACS Publications
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2021 Langmuir Lectureship Award Winners Announced

Langmuir and the ACS Division of Colloid & Surface Chemistry are proud to announce Professors Deborah E. Leckband (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign) and Ivan I. Smalyukh (University of Colorado – Boulder) as the winners of the 2021 Langmuir Lectureship Award. The award recognizes individuals working in the interdisciplinary field of colloid and surface chemistry.

Get to Know the Winners

Deborah Leckband

Professor Leckband is a Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and the Reid T. Milner Professor in the School of Chemical Sciences at the University of Illinois. She has affiliate professor appointments in the Beckman Institute, the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, the Micro and Nanotechnology Lab, and the Bioengineering department. She is also the leader of The Biological Interfaces Group, whose research is determining how the physical-chemical properties of surfaces impact fundamental biological functions and device/material performance in biological environments.

What does winning this year’s award mean to you?

Being selected as a 2021 Langmuir Lecturer is a terrific honor. Since my postdoc years with Jacob Israelachvili, I have been fascinated by the ways that surface science affects biology, from fundamental processes like cell adhesion to preventing marine fouling on ships. I have many superb colleagues in the field. Their recognition of my contributions in this way is both humbling and an honor.

What exciting projects are you currently working on?

Our most exciting current work started with a recent collaboration with Martin Gruebele who invented a way to measure protein folding stability in nanoliter volumes in cells. I realized that this approach could also generate exciting new insight into how materials affect protein stability in situ. We study proteins on surfaces, in solution, and in 3D materials at sub-micron resolution. In just a couple of years, we’ve already discovered some surprising ways that polymers can preserve or shut down protein function.  This new knowledge will be used to guide the design of new biomaterials with enhanced biological activity and stability.

Ivan I. Smalyukh

Ivan Smalyukh is a Professor of Physics and Materials Science Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder. He is a founding fellow of the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute, a joint institute of CU-Boulder and NREL, and also a founder of a startup company iFeather Technologies, Inc. He joined the Department of Physics of the University of Colorado Boulder as an assistant professor in 2007, becoming an associate professor in 2014 and a full professor in 2017. His current research focuses on various types of soft matter systems, including colloids, liquid crystals, biomaterials, and their applications in photonics and renewable energy technologies.

What does winning this year’s award mean to you?

This is very exciting news. I feel honored and grateful. The award will help to motivate me and my research team to pursue many new ambitious research projects in the area of colloidal and surface science

What exciting projects are you currently working on?

On the fundamental side of our research portfolio, we are developing new condensed matter phases that combine fluidity with the low-symmetry orientational order, like the triclinic nematic colloidal fluids. On the applied side, we are developing highly transparent, thermally super-insulating mesoporous materials for applications in energy-efficient windows.

As the winners of the 2021 Langmuir Lectureship, Professors Leckband and Smalyukh will present their respective talks during the 2021 ACS Fall National Meeting.

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