Fall 2021 Letter from the Chair

Michele Manuel, Ph.D.
Michele Manuel, Ph.D.

Dear alumni, colleagues and friends, 

I hope that this letter finds you and your loved ones safe and well. 

With winter break and the holidays approaching, we again look forward to time spent with friends, family and loved ones and the promise and potential of a brand new year.  

More than ever, we are proud of our accomplishments both in and out of the lab and our plans for the future of the MSE and NE programs. With that in mind, I am pleased to present a selection of inspiring news and stories from over the past several months in this fall edition of 1959, our biannual digital newsletter. 

In their recently published article in Nature magazine, Erika Moore, Ph.D., Rhines Rising Star Larry Hench Assistant Professor of Materials Science & Engineering, and Josephine Allen, Ph.D., Genzyme Professor of Materials Science & Engineering, say that cell ancestry must factor into the research to create effective medical treatments for diverse populations. 

With his eye on the future of materials research, Richard Hennig, Ph.D., is employing artificial intelligence to redefine the pathways to tomorrow’s technologies through a new National Science Foundation Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineering our Future (NSF DMREF) award.  

In our faculty spotlight, we are proud to feature four faculty members, Cammy Abernathy, Ph.D., Assel Aitkailiyeva, Ph.D., Tori Miller, Ph.D., and Michael Tonks, Ph.D., Alumni Professor of Materials Science & Engineering, who recently received awards from the Minerals, Metals & Materials Society (TMS). 

In our alumni spotlight, Alvaro Della Bona, D.D.S, Ph.D., FADM (Ph.D., MSE ’01), broke through this year as the first person from Latin America to win the prestigious International Association for Dental Research (IADR) Wilmer Souder Award in Dental Materials.  

And, capping an extraordinary career in materials science & engineering, Rajiv Singh, Ph.D., was elected to the 2021 Florida Inventors Hall of Fame class. 

Throughout another year full of changes, the Gator Nation has again shown its ability to exceed all expectations. Thank you all for your continued generosity and support for the department’s students, faculty and staff.