Current News

  1. Abbott Awarded UW Hilldale Professor

    Written on June 17, 2014

    Nicholas Abbott was awarded the Hilldale Professorship which are given to faculty who excel in scholarly activity, have records of outstanding research or creative work, and show promise of continued productivity. The five-year appointments may be renewed until the individual leaves the university or retires. New Hilldale appointees will receive $15,000 per year for research support.

  2. Abbott named to National Academy of Engineering

    Written by Sheri Severson on February 19, 2014

    The National Academy of Engineering has named two University of Wisconsin-Madison professors to its 2014 class of members. Nicholas Abbott, the John T. and Magdalen L. Sobota Professor of chemical and biological engineering at UW-Madison. He is among 67 new members and 11 foreign associates elected to the National Academy of Engineering. 

  3. Abbott presents the Inaugural Amundson Lecture at University of Minnesota

    Written on January 24, 2014

    Professor Nicholas Abbott was recognized by the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, as he presented the inaugural Amundson Lecture on Colloidal and Interfacial Phenomena in Liquid Crystalline Systems at the University of Minnesota. The presentation highlighted fundamental and unresolved issues related to the behaviors of these LC-colloidal systems.  

  4. Abbott Provides Perspective in Science Magazine

    Written on December 13, 2013

    “Colloid Science Collides with Liquid Crystals” perspective is featured in the December 13, 2013 issue of SCIENCE magazine. The perspective discusses a “a strikingly elegant study where Turiv, et al. unmasks a new example of “anomalous diffusion: of colloids that involves a liquid crystal (LC), a liquid-like phase that has long-range orientational ordering. Fluctuations in the solvent-molecule orientations cause MSDs of colloids to grow nonlinearly with time.”
  5. Engineers among WARF Innovation Awards finalists

    Written by Scott Gordon on October 29, 2013

    Materials Science and Engineering Associate Professor Padma Gopalan led a research team which placed among the finalists in the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation 2013 Innovation Award competition. A panel of judges chose the finalists and the two winners from among about 350 inventions submitted to WARF over the past year. Gopalan and grad students Daniel Sweat, Jonathan Choi and Myungwoong Kim were recognized for researching block co-polymer chemistry that enables smaller and more efficient integrated circuits. 

  6. Gellman Wins National American Chemical Society Award

    Written by Hong Ngoc (Grace) Pharm on October 14, 2013

    The American Chemical Society (ACS) announced its 2014 National Awards recipients in September at the 246th ACS National Meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana. University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor Samuel Gellman will each receive an award recognizing contributions they have made to their respective fields. Gellman will receive the Ronald Breslow Award for Achievement in Biomimetic Chemistry. This award was established in 2001 by friends and colleagues of Professor Ronald Breslow in honor of his 70th birthday. Breslow is seen as a leader in using biology as inspiration for designing new molecules with interesting properties 
  7. Societal Implications provides input to Popular Science

    Written by Suzanne LaBarre on September 24, 2013

    The societal implications group work has started a healthy debate on the moderation of online comments on websites reporting on science (the magazine "Popular Science" just closed its comments, and cited one of the Societal Implication's studies as support). 

  8. Gellman Receives 2013 Makineni Lectureship from APS

    Written by Hong Ngoc on September 09, 2013

    In June, at the 23rd American Peptide Symposium in Hawaii, the Makineni Lectureship was awarded to Sam Gellman, the Ralph F. Hirschmann Professor of Chemistry at UW-Madison. The American Peptide Society awards the Makineni Lectureship biennially in honor of Rao Makineni, a long time proponent of peptide science and peptide scientists. The award recognizes an individual who is an accomplished speaker and has made a “recent contribution of unusual merit to research in the field of peptide science.” Major accomplishments in his research program include the development and application of unnatural polypeptides, “foldamers,” that mimic protein-like behavior and exhibit biologically active properties. His work has also provided fundamental insights into the interactions and conformational preferences of peptides and proteins. 

  9. Lynn earns American Chemical Society award

    Written by Renee Miller on March 14, 2013

    Chemical and Biological Engineering Professor David Lynn has received the Biomacromolecules/Macromolecules Young Investigator Award, an honor sponsored by the journals of the same names and the American Chemical Society. The award honors Lynn, who will give an award lecture at the fall ACS meeting in Indianapolis, for his contributions to polymer science. 
  10. 2013 John H. Dillon Medal Recipient

    Written by APS on February 15, 2013

    Professor Mahesh Mahanthappa, Department of Chemistry, was selected to receive the 2013 John H. Dillon Medal from the American Physical Society for fundamental studies of block copolymers with controlled dispersity. The John H. Dillon medal is awarded to recognize outstanding research accomplishments by young polymer physicists who have demonstrated exceptional research promise early in their careers. 

  11. ICE Receives Grant from Sigma-Aldrich

    Written by Andrew Greenberg on February 15, 2013

    The Institute for Chemical Education, home to the NSEC education group, received a three grant from the Sigma-Aldrich Foundation. The grant provides support for ICE programs including the NSEC led SCIENCoutnErs program. In addition to the financial support Sigma-Aldrich employees will volunteer in the SCIENCoutnErs program as well as present at the NSEC run REU programs. 

  12. SCIENCountErs Website Now Live!

    Written by Andrew Greenberg on February 15, 2013

    The NSEC led SCIENCountErs program has launched its new website: The website will allow interested groups to join the SCIENCoutnErs team. The site includes over 75 hands-on afterschool science activities for download.
  13. SCIENCoutnErs Adds Two New Site Partners!

    Written by Andrew Greenberg on February 15, 2013

    The Boys and Girls Club of El Paso and the University of Maryland-College Park are the two newest SCIENCoutnErs sites. Together they will be meeting at five additional Boys and Girls Clubs each week. 

  14. Jin Receives UW-Madison Research Award

    Written by Libby Dowall on February 14, 2013

    Professor Song Jin received a notable UW-Madison research award – the Romnes Faculty Fellowship. This fellowship recognizes and supports faculty members who are still relatively early in their careers and have been promoted to tenured positions within the previous six years. The Graduate School Research Committee, which reviews nominees for the fellowship, looks for professors whose research is high quality, significant, and productive. 

  15. Preserving Science News In An Online World

    Written on February 13, 2013

    Professor Dominique Brossard was a recent guest on NPR's Science Friday program discussing her paper, "Science, New Media and the Public". The interview addressed some of the pitfalls of communicating science online and how to avoid and deal with them in the new normal about how science is published online. Click below for the full interview. 

  16. Brossard and Scheufele Provide Perspective for SCIENCE

    Written on February 04, 2013

     Brossard writes “A world in which one in seven people actively use Facebook (1), and more than 340 million tweets are being posted everyday (2) is not the future of science communication any more. It is today's reality. Scientists and social scientists must explore outcomes of online interactions about science in much greater detail.”
    1. Facebook Inc., Key Facts (2012). 2. Twitter Inc. Twitter Turns Six (2012).

  17. "Science, New Media and the Public" by Dominique Brossard, Dietram A. Scheufele

    Written on February 01, 2013

    Nine in 10 internet users in the United States turn to search engines to find information (1), and 60% of the U.S. public seeking information about specific scientific issues lists the Internet as their primary source of information (2). This has created a new urgency for scientists to pay attention to these trends and to the emerging scholarly literature about communicating science in this brave new “online” world.
  18. Brossard Participates in Science Friday on NPR

    Written on February 01, 2013

    NPR Science Friday hosted a panel of experts hosted by Ira Flatow on February 1 to discuss “Preserving Science News in an Online World”. Questions from the show included: “How can journalists and bloggers avoid some of the pitfalls of communicating science in an online world? Should a website’s comments section be moderated, or removed altogether? How has social media changed the blogosphere?”
  19. ACS Nano Editorial “Open the Floodgates for Online Feedback on Scientific Papers? Not So Fast”

    Written by Jillian Buraik on January 22, 2013

    In response to an article prepared by Dominique Brossard and Detram Scheufele “Science, New Media and the Public” published in Science, has prompted others to take note of this work. An Editorial by Jullian Buraik in ACS Nano has created a lively debate! 

  20. Murphy appointed to Scientific Advisory Boards

    Written on January 09, 2013

    Professor William Murphy, Department of Biomedical Engineering, has been appointed to serve on the Scientific Advisory Board of The Morgridge Institute for Research in 2013. Prof. Murphy has also been appointed to serve on the Scientific Advisory Committees of the International Stem Cell Engineering Conference (2014) and the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society Conference (2013). 
  21. Murphy Selected for Named Professorship

    Written on January 03, 2013

    Professor William L. Murphy, MS, PhD, has been selected to receive the Harvey D. Spangler Professor of Biomedical Engineering. 

  22. Ian Robertson named new UW-Madison engineering dean

    Written on December 10, 2012

    Ian Robertson, Donald B. Willett professor of engineering at the University of Illinois and director of the National Science Foundation Division of Materials Research, has been selected as the new dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
  23. Dietram A. Scheufele and Thomas F. Kuech honored by AAAS

    Written on November 30, 2012

    Professor Dietram A. Scheufele and Professor Thomas F. Kuech were recently added by American Association for the Advancement of Science into its rolls of elected fellows. This honor was given to professor Scheufele due to his distinguished contributions to the field of science communication. Professor Keuch was given this honor because of his outstanding research in the field of solid state materials synthesis and characterization.
  24. UW REU Students Awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

    Written on November 11, 2012

    UW REU Students Jaritza Gomez and Joaquin Resasco were awarded a 2012 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Jaritza and Joaquin were participants in the 2010 UW REU Nanotechnology program. Joaquin’s proposal “Sorting of Carbon Nanotubes for use in Field Effect Transistors” will support his research at MIT. Jaritza will conduct her research at UW-Madison; her proposal “Development of semiconducting organic thin films with optimized molecular packing”.

  25. Liquid Crystal Mediated Interaction Between Nanoparticles

    Written on November 09, 2012

     Recent research by Thrust 3 has demonstrated that the interactions that arise between nanoparticles suspended in a liquid crystal can be manipulated over multiple orders of magnitude (ranging from 1 to 100 kBT) through control of the particles’ surface chemistry and their radius. Previous work with micron sized particles had established that particle-particle interactions are extremely strong and essentially irreversible. The Thrust’s results are significant in that they demonstrate that interactions between nanoparticles are fundamentally different from those between micro-particles, and they can in principle be controlled to yield reversible, equilibrium assemblies for potential applications in devices.
  26. Understanding Hydrophobic Interactions on the Nanoscale Using b-peptide Oligomers

    Written on November 09, 2012

    Thrust 2 has used the predictable, three-dimensional side chain patterns generated by β-peptides with single-molecule force spectroscopy to quantify how changes in nanometer-scale chemical patterns affect intermolecular interactions, with a particular focus on understanding hydrophobic interactions. In addition, and significantly, Thrust 2 used their findings to enable additional exciting discoveries regarding the way in which proximal charged groups influence hydrophobic interactions. Overall, these experiments performed by Thrust 2 elucidate two influences of proximal cationic groups on hydrophobic interactions, and broadly validate an experimental system that has the potential to substantially advance our understanding of intermolecular forces associated with hydrophobic domains on the molecular length scale.
  27. Shared Facilities: Progress in CryoTEM at UW-Madison

    Written on November 09, 2012

    NSEC continues to support the Materials Science Center (MSC) in the area of CryoTEM equipment, by replacement of the aging LEO 912 EFTEM, with a Tecnai T12 which has been upgraded for CryoTEM. For the first time on campus, a researcher in the Department of Neurology was able to use our NSEC funded equipment to prepare 70 plastic embedded sections with our ultramicrotome, and image them in the Tecnai T12 129KV TEM now in the Materials Science Center. The images were then processed in a extension if the ImageJ software called Fiji, being developed by the Laboratory for Optical and Computational Instrumentation at UW (supported by NIH) to produce an aligned 3-D model of the structure of a mouse motor neuron synaptic junction.

    In addition, the NSEC supported a successful joint NSEC, Botany and BioChemistry NSF MRI proposal for an advanced 300KV FE(S)TEM that will bring automated EM tomography capability to UW-Madison.

  28. High Throughput Optical Mapping of Genomic DNA

    Written on November 09, 2012

    Thrust 3 has pioneered the use of optical mapping for high-throughput analysis of genomic DNA. An important step taken by the Thrust was the prediction and the corresponding demonstration that giant DNA “dumbbells” , produced by trapping the molecules in long nanoslits, enable stretching of genomic DNA well beyond previously possible (to nearly 100 % of the molecules’ contour length), thereby providing optical maps with single nucleotide resolution, and leading to the first demonstration of a full genome analysis by nanocoding.
  29. Implementation of UW DSA Process at IMEC

    Written on November 09, 2012

    Imec announces the successful implementation of Self-Assembly (DSA) process line all-under-one-roof in academic lab-scale DSA process flow to fab-compatible Directed Self-Assembly (DSA) process line all-under-one-roof in Imec’s 300mm cleanroom fab.

    The upgrade of an academic lab-scale DSA process flow to a fab-comparable flow was realized in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin, AZ Electronic Materials and Tokyo Beccron Ltd. Imec’s DSA collaboration aims to address the critical hurdles to take DSA from the academic lab-scale environment into high volume manufacturing.
  30. Dietram Scheufele co-organizing colloqium

    Written on February 14, 2012

    Societal Implications Group faculty member Dietram Scheufele is co-organizing the National Academy of Sciences’ upcoming Sackler Colloquium which will take place on May 21-22 in Washington D.C. The colloquium deals with “the science of science communication,” and is co-organized with NAS President Ralph Cicerone, AAAS CEO Alan Leshner, and three other organizers. Societal Implications Group Leader Dominique Brossard will be one of the presenters. The colloquium will also result in a special issue of PNAS, co-edited by Baruch Fishoff and Dietram Scheufele.
  31. Katrina Forest named 2012 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Faculty Fellow

    Written on February 10, 2012

    Katrina Forest, professor of bacteriology and NSEC Thrust 2 faculty member, has been selected by the Institute for Biology Education as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Faculty Fellow for 2012. Forest was chosen as a fellow both for her excellence in teaching and for her dedication to passing their knowledge and skills along to the next generation of educators.
  32. Michael Graham receives honor from American Physical Society

    Written on December 27, 2011

    NSEC faculty member Michael Graham was among four University of Wisconsin–Madison researchers named fellows of the American Physical Society, an honor bestowed upon no more than half of one percent of the professional society’s membership. The peer-awarded designation is given in recognition of significant research advances or innovative contributions in the application of physics to science and technology.
  33. Bob Hamers honored by American Chemical Society

    Written on November 08, 2011

    NSEC faculty member Bob Hamers was among four University of Wisconsin–Madison professors to have won awards from the American Chemical Society (ACS) in recognition of research excellence. He will be honored at a ceremony next March at the society’s 243rd national meeting in San Diego.
  34. Mike Arnold wins White House science award

    Written on September 29, 2011

    The White House has named a pair of University of Wisconsin–Madison researchers and a recent alumnus to a list of the country's most promising researchers. Materials science and engineering professor Michael Arnold, chemistry professor Daniel Fredrickson, and UW–Madison graduate Samuel Zelinka — now a researcher at the USDA's Forest Products Laboratory in Madison — are among just 94 recipients of Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers.
  35. NSEC graduate student Ashley Anderson wins best paper award

    Written on August 15, 2011

    Societal Implications Group graduate student Ashley Anderson and co-authors won a best paper award at the 2011 Association of Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) annual conference in St. Louis, Missouri for their paper The New Communication Environment and its Influence on Media Credibility. The paper also won a Top 3 Faculty Paper Award.
  36. New technology could stamp out bacteria in persistent wounds

    Written on April 04, 2011

    Using an advanced form of a rubber stamp, researchers have developed a way to adhere an ultra-thin antibacterial coating to a wound.

    The active ingredient, silver, "has been used to prevent and treat infections for ages," says first author Ankit Agarwal, a postdoctoral fellow in chemical and biological engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "But silver can also kill skin cells, and therefore we need to develop materials that deliver antibacterial but nontoxic levels of silver to wounds."

    In a study just published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials, Agarwal, chemical and biological engineering professor Nicholas Abbott, and colleagues described a process for creating a transparent ultra-thin polymer coating carrying precise loads of extremely fine silver nanoparticles.
    The coating, just a few molecules thick, was assembled on a flexible piece of rubber and then rubber-stamped onto a piece of cadaver skin that simulated a wound in the experiment.
    To test the activity against bacteria, the researchers treated skin samples with two bacteria that commonly infect wounds. Using a silver dosage that had not harmed skin cells in previous tests, the bacteria were undetectable within 12 hours, Agarwal says.
  37. Juan de Pablo receives lecture honors

    Written on February 11, 2011

    Juan de Pablo has received the 2011 Oersted Lectureship Award from Denmark's Technical University. He is the 17th recipient of this award, which commemorates the accomplishments of Hans Christian Oersted, who discovered electromagnetism and was the founder of the Technical University of Denmark. Previous recipients of the Oersted Award include Nobel Laureates Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, Ivar Giaever, Harold Kroto, and Ahmed Zewail.

    Juan has also been selected to deliver the 2011 Julian C. Smith Memorial lectures in chemical engineering at Cornell University. The Smith lectures were initiated in 1988 and provide unique forum for recognizing outstanding contributions to research in engineering science. Juan will deliver two lectures entitled “Dimension Dependent Properties at the Nanoscale, and the Need for Alternative Nanofabrication Strategies” and “Directed Assembly and its Use in Genomics and Sensor Development” on April 18-19.

    Congratulations, Juan!

  38. Nick Abbott honored as AAAS Fellow

    Written on January 12, 2011

    Professor Nick Abbott has been elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Selection as a AAAS fellow is a high honor conferred by peers in recognition of distinguished efforts to advance science and its applications. AAAS is the world's largest general scientific society. The tradition of naming AAAS fellows in honor of their achievements dates to 1874. New fellows will be recognized at the Fellows Forum, held during the annual meeting in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 19.

    Nick was recognized for the transformative engineering and analysis of biotic-abiotic interfaces, including the imaginative use of liquid crystalline materials to report on the interactions of biomolecules.

  39. NSEC graduate student receives honorable mention in MAPOR competition

    Written on November 17, 2010

    Graduate student Pete Ladwig of the NSEC Societal Implications group recently won Honorable Mention in the Midwest Association for Public Opinion Research (MAPOR) Fellows Student Paper Competition.

    Ladwig's paper examined differences in knowledge between science topics that carry a religious or moral component and those that do not, as measured by true/false knowledge items in surveys. Ladwig will be presenting his findings at MAPOR’s annual conference held in Chicago, IL on November 19, 2010.

    Congratulations, Pete!

  40. Nealey earns AIChE award

    Written on September 01, 2010

    Milton J. and A. Maude Shoemaker Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering Paul Nealey has earned an award for his contributions to the understanding of the nanoscopic properties and patterning of polymeric materials in ways that enable future generations of microelectronics, photonics and biotechnologies. Nealey will receive the 2010 Nanoscale Science and Engineering Forum Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and deliver a plenary lecture November 8 at the AIChE meeting in Salt Lake City.

  41. Communication professor honored for teaching, research, service

    Written on July 15, 2010

    Dietram Scheufele, professor of life sciences communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is the winner of the 2010 Krieghbaum Under-40 Award from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

    The award, named for former New York University professor Hillier Krieghbaum, goes to young association members for achievement in teaching, research and public service, which Scheufele considers a tidy description of the Wisconsin Idea.

    "Service to society at large is important to us at Wisconsin and important to my work, which actually often cites Krieghbaum," Scheufele says. "Krieghbaum was dealing with some of the same issues we're dealing with today. How to we build bridges between society and the science we're doing at universities today?"

  42. Back in circulation: Why certain polymers improve blood flow

    Written on June 03, 2010

    With funding from the National Science Foundation, a University of Wisconsin-Madison engineer will study whether "drag-reducing" polymer molecules enhance flow through some of the tiniest blood vessels in the human body. Smaller than the diameter of a human hair, capillaries are embedded within the body's organs and are important for distributing blood throughout the tissues. "One of the issues is making sure that, under situations where there's a disease or injury, blood is still able to get to where it needs to be," says Michael Graham, Harvey D. Spangler Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at UW-Madison.

  43. Powerful genome barcoding system reveals large-scale variation in human DNA

    Written on May 31, 2010

    Genetic abnormalities are most often discussed in terms of differences so miniscule they are actually called "snips" — changes in a single unit along the 3 billion that make up the entire string of human DNA.

    "There's a whole world beyond SNPs — single nucleotide polymorphisms — and we've stepped into that world," says Brian Teague, a doctoral student in genetics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "There are much bigger changes in there."

    Variation on the order of thousands to hundreds of thousands of DNA's smallest pieces — large swaths varying in length or location or even showing up in reverse order — appeared 4,205 times in a comparison of DNA from just four people, according to a study published May 31 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    Those structural differences popped into clear view through computer analysis of more than 500 linear feet of DNA molecules analyzed by the powerful genome mapping system developed over nearly two decades by David C. Schwartz, professor of chemistry and genetics at UW-Madison.

  44. Does Google steer our conversations about science?

    Written on May 20, 2010

    By adding a subtle nudge to each of more than 1 billion search requests every day, Google may be steering the direction of public discussion. Begin typing a word in the search box at, and the Google Suggest feature starts kicking in ideas - "tiger" begets "tiger woods," "tea" draws "tea party movement" and "craig" will summon "craigslist." "It is meant to be helpful, but from a public discourse perspective it is worrisome," says Dominique Brossard, a University of Wisconsin-Madison life science communication professor. Brossard and four colleagues studied Google''s data for nanotechnology-related search terms and the associated Google suggestions from October 2008 to September 2009. In a study published in the May issue of Materials Today, the researchers found a reversal in the top 10 nano search terms, with economic impact (word such as "stocks," "jobs" and "companies") searches giving way to health ("medicine" and "cancer") searches over the course of a year.

  45. Crystal defect shown to be key to making hollow nanotubes

    Written on April 22, 2010

    Scientists have no problem making a menagerie of nanometer-sized objects — wires, tubes, belts, and even tree-like structures. What they sometimes have been unable to do is explain precisely how those objects form in the vapor and liquid cauldrons in which they are made.

    Now a team led by University of Wisconsin-Madison chemist Song Jin, writing this week (April 23, 2010) in the journal Science, shows that a simple crystal defect known as a "screw dislocation" drives the growth of hollow zinc oxide nanotubes just a few millionths of a centimeter thick.

    The finding is important because it provides new insight into the processes that guide the formation of the smallest manufactured structures, a significant challenge in nanoscience and nanotechnology. "We think that this work provides a general theoretical framework for controlling nanowire or nanotube growth without using metal catalysts that can be generally applicable to many materials," says Jin, a UW-Madison professor of chemistry.

  46. Mahesh Mahanthappa receives Emil H. Steiger Award

    Written on April 05, 2010

    In four years at UW-Madison, Mahesh Mahanthappa, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, “has rapidly distinguished himself as the outstanding young teacher in our department,” writes nominator Robert Hamers, chair of the Department of Chemistry. In the fall of 2007, Mahanthappa received the highest evaluation score of any faculty or staff member in any undergraduate course, and he has continued that excellence since.

    “Professor Mahanthappa’s ability to communicate is the first step in his magic as a teacher, because in captivating a room of 250 freshmen by talking about chemistry, he sets the stage to teach meaningfully and to inspire students in a way rarely accomplished,” writes student Lauren Buckley. “All professors know the material they teach and most find it fascinating, but Professor Mahanthappa’s ability to share both his knowledge and excitement is a defining factor of his effectiveness as a teacher. He showed you that if you knew the concepts and were immersed in the language of chemistry, you would eventually learn it like you do any foreign language.”