News & Events


Congratulations, Dr. Sharon Sharick! (July 2015)

Group member Sharon Sharick successfully defended her doctoral thesis on July 16. Her thesis research investigated the morphology-ionic conductivity relationships of several polymer systems containing imidazolium-based ionic liquids and featured collaborations with students and faculty from Penn, Drexel University, Texas A&M University, Virginia Tech, and Penn State. Congratulations, Dr. Sharick!


L. Robert Middleton receives NSF EAPSI fellowship (April 2015)

This summer Robert will be headed overseas to Hokkaido University in Japan to work with Dr. Rysuske Noazki’s lab. While working in the Laboratory of Dielectrics, he will investigate dynamic behavior of ion-containing polymers. In addition to enjoying adventures in science and experiencing another country, he is very excited about the food!


Ted Trigg receives NSF GRFP Honorable Mention (April 2015)

Group member Edward (Ted) Trigg is the recipient of Honorable Mention for the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program. The NSF GRFP recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines. 


Robert Middleton selected as a W. L. Gore Fellow (January 2015)

The Gore Fellow Awards recognize Excellence in Early Graduate Studies in Science, Technology & Engineering, offered by W. L. Gore & Associates for Ph.D. candidates in the field of polymers, materials science and physics. The selection process was difficult with finalists selected after several evaluations including an online presentation and an on-site poster presentation to Gore Associates. Robert is looking forward to returning to Gore’s campus to present his thesis work nearing his defense.


Ted Trigg receives DOE SCGSR award to conduct research at Sandia National Laboratory
(January 2015)

Group member Edward (Ted) Trigg received the Department of Energy Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) award, and will be spending this summer at Sandia National Laboratory. He will be working with Dr. Mark Stevens and Dr. Amalie Frischknecht on atomistic molecular dynamics simulations of precise copolymers. Ted is very excited about the project.



Dr. Philip Griffin Joins Winey Group (August 2014)

We welcomed post-doctoral fellow Dr. Philip Griffin to the group in August. Phil completed his Ph.D. work at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in the Department of Physics and Astronomy with Professor Alexei Sokolov, studying the mechanism of charge transport and dynamics in room-temperature ionic liquids. The focus of his post-doctoral research will be the solution and melt morphology of sulfonated styrene pentablock copolymers, as well as the diffusion of nanoparticles in polymer nanocomposites. We are very glad to welcome Phil to Penn Materials Science and Engineering and look forward to his contributions to the group!


Robert Middleton and Professor Winey attend Polymer Physics Gordon Research Conference
(July 2014)

The University of Pennsylvania made a great showing at the Gordon Research Conference on Polymer Physics: New Developments in Polymer Dynamics, Crystallization, Self-Assembly, and Interface/Confinement Effects. Both materials science and engineering as well as chemical and biological engineering were present at the conference, held July 13-18, 2014 at Mount Holyoke College South Hadley, MA. Profesor Russell Composto, Professor Karen Winey, L. Robert Middleton (MSE) and Professor Rob Riggleman, Professor Zahra Fakhraai, Amit Shavit, and Dr. Daniel Sussman (CBE) were present. Karen served as a Vice Chair for the conference and Prof. Rob Riggleman was invited to present his research as part of "The Next Generation" session. Additionally, Robert, Amit, Daniel and Russ each presented a poster.


Cathy Yang attended NIST neutron scattering summer school (July 2014)

Group member Cathy Yang attended the summer school on the Fundamentals of Neutron Scattering at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) from July 14 to July 18, where she learned extensively about neutron scattering techniques and current applications of neutron scattering and reflectometry. She had the opportunity to collaborate on experiments and discuss research with on-site instrument scientists and graduate students from different institutes all across the nation. It was a rewarding and inspiring week spent at a national laboratory.


Introducing Dr. Michael O'Reilly (June 2014)

On June 26, 2014, Mike O’Reilly successfully defended his doctoral thesis, “Morphologies and Dynamics in Low-Tg Single-Ion Conductors: Effects of Comonomers, Plasticizers, and Functionalized Nanoparticles”. His defense was attended by committee members Professor Russ Composto, Professor Shu Yang, Professor Ralph Colby, group members, friends, and family. Congratulations, Dr. O'Reilly!


We set a record! (May 2014)

The group celebrated FOUR doctoral students at the May 15, 2014 graduation ceremony. Francisco Buitrago and Rose Mutiso returned from Colombia and Washington, D.C. to celebrate their August 2013 degrees, and it was great to see them and meet their families. Mike O'Reilly and Wei-Shao "Walter" Tung, along with their families, were preemptively celebrating their forthcoming graduations. The reception was made even more festive by having a number of other group members attend! Congratulations to all!


APS Meeting (March 2014)

The Winey Group worked hard and played hard in Denver!

Group member presentations and posters were well received and Wei-Shao (Walter) Tung gave an outstanding talk as a Padden Award finalist.  Well Done!!

Afterwards the group relaxed by taking in the sights around the convention center and on the slopes! 


Polar Vortex leads Robert Middleton to the Wagener Research Lab (January 2014)

While waiting out the polar vortex in Florida earlier this month L. Robert Middleton had the opportunity to visit the Wagener research group at the University of Florida. He spent the day with Taylor Gaines, a graduate student collaborating with the Winey group. In addition to touring their laboratory and discussing research with group members he had an opportunity to meet and talk with Prof. Ken Wagener. Bad weather can bring good fortune!

TowerBrook Faculty Fellowship for Karen Winey (January 2014)

Karen I. Winey has been named the inaugural Towerbrook Foundation Faculty Fellow. The Towerbrook Foundation Faculty Fellowship was established by Jennifer Ternoey Glassman, W’92, and Michael A. Glassman, CHE’85, through the Towerbrook Foundation.



Professor Nigel Clarke, University of Sheffield, visited the group this month (November 2013)

Nigel Clarke, Winey Group collaborator on the Materials World Network project funded by NSF, visited from the University of Sheffield last week.  During his visit Nigel also attended group member Sharon Sharick’s thesis proposal.


Kasia is thriving at Cornell (November 2013)

Dr. Winey was at Cornell as a member of the External Review Committee for the MSE Department recently and had just 5 minutes to visit.  Recent alum Kasia Oleske is working in Prof. Uli Wiesner's group and was busy learning about their new peptide synthesizer.  It was great to see that Kasia is thriving in her first semester of graduate school.


Alumnus David Salas-de la Cruz appointed Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Rutgers University (October 2013)

Winey Group alumnus David Salas-de la Cruz recently joined the Chemistry Department at Rutgers University at Camden as an Assistant Professor. David also serves a Director of the Leap Academy University Charter School STEM Fabrication Laboratory. David is currently working on understanding the structure-property relationships of lignocellulose in order improve or eradicate the pretreatment process during the biochemical conversion of lignocellulose into bioproducts. In a collaborative effort, one of his main objectives is to decipher the genetic network underpinnings of quantitative and qualitative complex plant cell wall morphogenesis using mathematical prediction and experimental validations.


Lei Qiao visits Penn (October 2013)

Dr. Winey recently had the pleasure of meeting with Lei QIAO (PhD 2001) during Dr. Qiao’s recent trip to Philadelphia for a technical meeting of Axalta Coating Systems.   Axalta, formerly Dupont Marshall Labs, joined The Carlyle Group in February 2013 and recently opened their worldwide headquarters in Philadelphia.  Lei manages the research and development activities in their Shanghai location.  Here's a photo of Drs. Winey and Qiao in the lobby of the new Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology.  Learn more about Penn’s new nano building at


Two more new papers! (October 2013)

J. S. Meth*, S. Gam, J. Choi, C.-C. Lin, R. J. Composto, K. I. Winey*, Journal of Physical Chemistry B, published online, August 2013.

“Excluded volume model for the reduction of polymer diffusion into nanocomposites.”

R. M. Mutiso, M. C. Sherrott, A. R. Rathmell, B. J. Wiley, K. I. Winey*, ACS Nano, 7 (9), 7654–7663.

 “Integrating Simulations and Experiments to Predict Sheet Resistance and Optical Transmittance in Nanowire Films for Transparent Conductors”


New Paper (September 2013)

Electrical percolation in quasi-two-dimensional metal nanowire networks for transparent conductors 

Rose M. Mutiso and Karen I. Winey*

Phys. Rev. E 88, 032134 (2013)


Herman F. Mark Polymer Chemistry Award: Kenneth B. Wagener (September 2013)

Prof. Winey spoke at the full-day symposium on Tuesday at the Fall ACS Meeting and attended the celebratory dinner on Tuesday evening. Dr. Kenneth B. Wagener (pictured with Prof. Winey) was presented with the 2013 Herman F. Mark Polymer Chemistry Award.

Flexible touchscreens? (September 2013)

Prof. Karen Winey and group members Dr. Rose Mutiso and Michelle Sherrott collaborated with Prof. Ben Wiley and Aaron Rathmell of Duke University to develop a new approach to designing transparent conductors using metal nanowire networks.  Read the news article and the paper by following the links below:


Robert Middleton attended the DOE's National School on Neutron and X-Ray Scattering (August 2013)

Group member L. Robert Middleton attended the Department of Energy sponsored National School on Neutron and X-Ray Scattering (NXS) in August.  The NXS educates graduate students on the utilization of major neutron and x-ray facilities through X-ray and neutron scattering experiments and lectures at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory, and at the Spallation Neutron Source and High Flux Isotope Reactor at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Researchers from academia, industry, and national laboratories present lectures and tutorials on the principles of scattering theory and the characteristics of the sources, as well as seminars on the application of scattering methods to a variety of scientific subjects. 



Sharon Sharick helped inspire the next generation of female engineers this summer (July/August 2013)

Winey group member Sharon Sharick participated in Girls in Engineering, Math and Science, a summer camp to get middle school girls excited about science and engineering. Girls in grades 6-8 learned about different engineering fields, and saw structure-property relationships in action through several hands-on materials science demos, including thin films, quantum dots, shape-memory alloys, hydrogels, and liquid nitrogen ice cream.

More information about GEMS can be found at:

Alumnus Arun Kota joined the faculty at Colorado State University (August 2013)

This summer group alumnus Dr. Arun Kota joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Colorado State University as an Assistant Professor.

Arun’s current research interests are in surface and interfacial science with interdisciplinary projects in durable superomniphobic surfaces, chemically patterned surfaces for enhanced condensation heat transfer and droplet bouncing dynamics. You can find more information about his research at



Alexa Kuentsler, our summer REU, heads back to Rochester (August 2013)

Our REU student, Alexa Kuenstler, studied the effect of electric fields on the orientation of morphology in ion-containing block copolymers. Orienting the ion-conducting domains in the direction of ion transport may enhance the conductive properties and further our understanding of how ions move in nanostructured ion-containing block copolymers. Alexa used an in-house electric field alignment device to perform alignment experiments and studied the morphology of oriented block copolymer samples using scanning electron microscopy (SEM).

Alexa was wonderful to work with and we wish her all the best in her junior year at the University of Rochester!


Doctoral Duo! (July 2013)

Winey Group members Francisco Buitrago and Rose Mutiso successfully defended their dissertations on July 10 and 18 respectively!

Francisco investigated the morphology-property relationships of precisely sequenced ionomers while Rose worked on electrical properties in nanowire systems.  Their work has significantly furthered our group’s knowledge and expertise in these areas and we are thrilled at their success!

Congratulations Drs. Buitrago and Mutiso!

Doctoral Duo: New PhDs Francisco Buitrago and Rose Mutiso with Dr. Karen Winey


Congratulations Graduates! (May 2013)

Congratulations to all Winey Group members and friends who graduated this month especially Jae-Hong Choi, Doctor of Philosophy; Katharine Oleske, Bachelor of Science in Engineering and William Kyei-Manu, Master of Science in Engineering - Materials Science and Engineering! We rejoice at their success but are sad to see them leave.



Materials Research Society President Orlando Auciello and 2013 Fellow, Dr. Karen Winey

(April 2013)

Dr. Winey attended the Materials Research Society’s Spring Meeting in San Francisco last month and received her 2013 MRS Fellow certificate.

Prof. Winey named 2013 MRS Fellow! (February 2013)

Professor Karen Winey has been named a 2013 Materials Research Society (MRS) Fellow for "outstanding contributions to the understanding of polymer nanocomposites and ion-containing polymers through rigorous and insightful experiments and distinguished leadership in the materials community."  Prof. Winey will be inaugurated into the 2013 class at the Spring MRS meeting in April.


Philly Materials Day (February 2013)

The third Philly Materials Day was held on Saturday, February 2, 2013.  This is a popular outreach activity for the group as members all enjoy sharing fun science with a young and receptive audience.

Several Penn Faculty and students turned out to share their love of science with the enquiring young visitors. Group Members Sharon Wang and Steve Szewczyk and five captivated young participants observed the behavior of different polymer bouncy balls: one stores energy more effectively and bounces, while the other loses energy to sound/heat.

In the afternoon Dr. Winey and her audience pondered the question: Can We Make Plastics into Metals?


Nanotechnology Facilities Workshop (January 2013)

On January 8, 2013, the Nanotechnology Institute (NTI) in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania hosted a workshop on Facilities for Nanotechnology in the Philadelphia area. The workshop highlighted the facilities and expertise in nanofabrication and nanoscale characterization that are available to external users at the University of Pennsylvania. The event also provided a platform to promote the new PA RapidNanoNetTM funding opportunity that is co-sponsored by the NTI.

We welcomed 37 industry participants representing over twenty companies ranging in size and complexity from small start-ups to large international companies.  The program included talks by Penn faculty and staff involved in nanotechnology research and tours of the facilities. One of the highlights of the day was a tour of the new Krishna P. Singh Center for Nanotechnology due to open later this year. 



Presenting Dr. Jae-Hong Choi... (September 2012)

         We are delighted to announce that group member Jae-Hong Choi successfully defended his doctoral thesis on Wednesday, September 19th, 2012!   Jae-Hong’s work involved morphology studies of new polymerized ionic liquid block copolymers to further our understanding of the mechanism of ion conduction. He will be leaving in October to join Professor Tim Lodge’s research group at the University of Minnesota.

Congratulations Dr. Choi!


Great job Katie! REU (Summer 2012)Winey Group Member Robert Middleton and Summer REU Katie Johnson in the lab

              Our REU student, Kathryn ‘Katie’ Johnson, spent the summer working with Robert Middleton to investigate the effects of both mechanical testing and subsequent reprocessing of a commodity acid copolymer, Nucrel. The purpose of this study was to predict the effect of repetitive processing and mechanical testing on polymers in preparation for working with limited quantities of precise acid copolymers.

Katie was a great addition to the lab and we wish her all the best in her sophomore year at Cornell.

Go Big Red!


NSF Special Creativity Award for Dr. Composto (July 2012)

                Congratulations to Winey Group collaborator Dr. Russell Composto on his National Science Foundation (NSF) Special Creativity Award for "excellent research on dispersion and assembly of gold nanorods confined to polymer nanolayers”.

Executive Committee Member, CINT (June 2012)

          Prof. Karen Winey was appointed to the Users Executive Committee of the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies at Sandia National Laboratories.


Carbon-Based Materials - a walk down Memory Lane (May 2012)

        Prof. Karen Winey gave a talk on Carbon Based Materials at the LRSM 50th anniversary symposium in May of this year. She presented an interesting review of some of the research on Carbon-Based Materials here at the LRSM over the years:

LRSM 50th Anniversary Celebration: Karen I. Winey from LRSM on Vimeo.

Congrats! (May 2012)

Congratulations to all Winey Group members and friends who graduated this month!


Tyler Citek(BS), Sneha Deshpande (BS), Eric Maltiel (BS), Michelle Sherrot (BS, MS).


UAC SEAS Awards (April 2012)

           Two Winey Group members were recognized at the SEAS UAC Awards Recognition Ceremony at the Annenberg Center (Zellerbach Theater) on Friday, April 27.

Michelle Sherrott received the 2012 The Wolf-Hallac Award which is conferred upon a graduating female senior from Penn Engineering who “is seen as a role model, has achieved excellence academically and who has demonstrated a commitment to school and/or community”.




Tyler Citek received the 2012 R. M. Brick Award which is awarded to “the graduating senior who has demonstrated through a combination of academic performance, effort, and personal qualities that he or she will be a credit to the Department, the School, and the University”.


Science Café Talk - "Touch Screens - How to make Polymers into Metals" (April 2012)

               Professor Winey discussed transparent conductors in touch screens at Stoney's British Pub on Monday, April 2 at 8:00 pm.  The free event was part of the Science Café series sponsored by the Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter.

Photo of Professor Edwin Thomas


ACS Polymer Award for Prof. Thomas (March 2012)
Prof. Edwin L. Thomas (currently Dean of Engineering at Rice University) received the ACS Polymer Award at the Spring ACS Meeting in San Diego in March.  Prof. Winey was honored to participate in the symposium to honor her thesis advisor.


NTI receives $1.16M in continued funding (March 2012) 

              The Nanotechnology Institute™ (NTI) was re-funded with $1.16M from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority (BFTDA).  Visit the NTI website for more information.

Heilmeier Award (March 2012)
              Dean Eduardo D. Glandt presented Professor Karen Winey with the 2012 the George H. Heilmeier Faculty Award for Excellence in Research on Tuesday, March 13 following her lecture, Electrical Properties in Polymer Nanocomposites in the Wu & Chen Auditorium.


Geoffrey Belton Graduate Fellowship Award (February 2012) 

              Rose Mutiso, Winey Group doctoral student, is the recipient of the 2012 Geoffrey Belton Graduate Fellowship Award. The fellowship is awarded to a graduate student who has made “superior and significant contributions to their field of PhD study”.



2nd Philly Materials Day (February 2012)
              Prof. Winey and several members of the group participated in the second Philly Materials Day, a day-long public event about the science and engineering of materials. Prof. Winey participated in a panel discussion entitled, “Ask an Engineer.”



Director of NTI and ECI (December 2011)
              Prof. Karen Winey was appointed as the University of Pennsylvania principal investigator of the Nanotechnology Institute and the Energy Commercialization Institute.  

Alumni Magazine (November 2011)
              Prof. Winey’s research was highlighted in Penn Engineering, the alumni magazine of the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Philly Cares (October 2011)
              Graduate students participated in Philadelphia Cares Day, a city-wide day of service.  Philadelphia Cares is now part of United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania. A good time was had by all and thanks to Francisco Buitrago for organizing our group.

Award for Kraton Polymers (August 2011)
              Winey Research Group collaborators, Kraton Polymers were awarded the 2011 Presidential Green Chemistry Award for their work on NEXAR, a pentablock copolymer with a sulfonated polystyrene midblock.

Summer Students Arrived (July 2011)   
              The Winey Group welcomed summer students!  Maria Vincent (Cornell) worked with Mike O’Reilly on the synthesis of ion-containing polymers with nanoparticles.  Angeles Charparro (University of Puerto Rico) worked with Francisco Buitrago to study the viscoelastic properties of ion-containing polymers.  Jack Feeney (Central High School, Philadelphia) worked with Jamie Ford on the synthesis of metal nanowires.  

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JJ X-Ray Systems (July 2011)
              JJ X-rays licenses our design for an environmental chamber that controls temperature and relative humidity for in situ X-ray scattering.

ACS Award for Prof. Long and Dr. Willis (March 2011)
              Collaborators Prof. Tim Long (VATech) and Dr. Carl Willis (Kraton Polymers) receive the Cooperative Research Award in Polymer Science and Engineering Award at the Spring ACS Meeting in Anaheim, CA.  Both the symposium and the celebratory dinner were greatly enjoyed by all. 


DPOLY Executive Committee (March 2011)
              Prof. Karen Winey is elected to the Executive Committee of the Division of Polymer Physics within the American Physical Society.  During her four year term she will hold the sequential positions of Vice-Chair, Chair Elect, Chair and Past Chair.


Philly Materials Day (February 2011)
              In coordination with the PBS series entitled, Making Stuff, Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania co-organized a day-long public event about the science and engineering of materials.  Prof. Winey presented a lecture entitled "Can we make polymers into metals?" 


Philly Cares (October 2011)
              Six graduate students participated in Philadelphia Cares Day, a day of service.  In particular, they painted the lunch room at the Science Leadership Academy, a public high school in Philadelphia that partners with the Benjamin Franklin Institute. 



DOE Grant Renewed (September 2010)
              The Department of Energy renewed the grant entitled, "Conduction Mechanisms and Structure in Single-Ion Polymer Conductors." This project is a collaboration with Profs. Ralph Colby, Janna Marans, Karl Mueller and Jim Runt of the Pennsylvania State University. New polymers are being designed and synthesized in an effort to understand what is necessary for the ions to conduct efficiently. A driving force for our work is polymer electrolytes for lightweight batteries.

Macromolecules (July 2010)
              On July 1, 2010, Karen Winey became an Associate Editor for Macromolecules, a publication of the American Chemical Society.  This journal is the premier journal in polymer sciences. 

Polymer Physics GRC! (June 2010)
              Prof. Karen Winey chaired the Polymer Physics Gordon Research Conference in summer 2010 at Mount Holyoke College.  The conference was a great success with dynamic speakers and lively discussions. In additions, records were set for number of participants and fund-raising.



Trustee’s Council of Penn Women (Octber 2009)
              Prof. Winey spoke to the Trustees' Council of Penn Women on "Nanotechnology - The Cutting Edge of the Very Small." Few in the audience have science or engineering backgrounds, so they particularly appreciated Karen's ability to start from the familiar and lead them through the nanoscale world of integrated circuits, carbon nanotubes, and nanoparticles. Video can be found here.

New Grant to Study Diffusion in Polymer Nanocomposites (August 2009)
              The National Science Foundation has recently awarded Karen Winey (PI) and several collaborators (Russ Composto, Nigel Clarke and Tom McLeish) a Materials World Network grant to study polymer dynamics in the presence of nanoparticles. We recently found that polymers behave differently in the presence of nanoparticles, where the polymer diffusion first slowed and then recovered with the addition of cylindrical nanoparticles, namely carbon nanotubes. This research will allow for the fundamental understanding of this observed behavior by further studying the polymer dynamics in these nanocomposite systems using a coordinated experimental and theoretical approach.

Monir (postdoc 2005-08) Wins Award (July 2009)
              Dr. M. Moniruzzaman was recognized as a 2009 Most Valuable Player at SABIC Innovative Plastics.

Dan Polis (PhD 1999) Wins Award (July 2009)
              Dr. Dan Polis has received a 2009 NASA Exceptional Engineering Achievement Medal for Materials Engineering Excellence in the Implementation of Composites for Primary Structure in NASA Human Spacecraft.

NSF Creativity Award (February 2009)
              Prof. Karen Winey’s pioneering work in ion-containing polymers has been recognized through her receipt of the National Science Foundation Creativity Award. The award is aimed at offering “the most creative investigators an extended opportunity to attack adventurous, 'high-risk' opportunities." Dr. Winey will use the funds to investigate the behavior of ion-containing polymers at elevated temperatures, in high humidity environments and under applied electric fields using newly designed in situ experiments. These systems have potential applications in low-temperature fuel cells and actuators.