Elizabeth Murphy, a fourth-year PhD chemistry student at UC Santa Barbara, has received a prestigious Graduate Student Travel Award from the Division of Polymeric Materials: Science and Engineering (PMSE) of the American Chemical Society (ACS). The award was established to support women and/or underrepresented graduate students to attend and present their research at an ACS conference.
“I am very honored to receive the ACS PMSE Graduate Student Travel Award,” said Murphy, who previously received a prestigious Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation. “Professionally, this award provided a significant platform to highlight my research accomplishments as well as open networking opportunities and potential collaborations. Personally, the award validates the dedication and hard work that I have put into my research throughout graduate school.”
Co-advised by Craig Hawker, a professor of materials and chemistry and biochemistry, and materials associate professor Chris Bates, Murphy studies a class of materials known as block copolymers, which are two different polymers tethered together. She works on developing a faster method, which involves using a technique called automated chromatography, to separate a single material into library of samples to prepare block copolymers more easily.
As part of the award, Murphy presented her research during the 2023 ACS National Meeting, which took place this month in San Francisco. In her talk, “Accelerated Discovery of Block Copolymers through Automated Chromatography,” Murphy showed that her research group could quickly prepare libraries of block copolymers and maintain significant control over both the composition and structure of the samples generated, which she says is important to better design the materials for applications that require carefully tuned block copolymers, such as lithography and photonic crystals.
“Presenting at the ACS Meeting was an amazing experience,” said Murphy. “I received a lot of great questions and feedback on my research, and I met other researchers in the polymer community.”