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MII Technical Conference & Review

2019 MII Technical Conference & Review

November 4-6

The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center

Conference Theme: Macromolecular Materials Discovery at the Intersection of Science, Engineering, and Society.

Thank you for attending the 2019 Technical Conference and Review! The next conference will be in the spring of 2021, so please check back closer to that time for updates. 

Orange and red fall leaves on a tree are in the foreground with a campus building behind.

Come early and stay late!

Pre-Conference Workshop

"Learning About Machine Learning"
November 4, 9:00 AM–12:00 PM
The Inn at Virginia Tech & Skelton Conference Center, Assembly Hall

Free! No registration required.

Post-Conference Workshop

Advanced Polymer Characterization Workshop by Tosoh
November 7, 9:00 AM–12:00 PM
Newman Library, Room 207A

MII organizes a technical conference and review meeting on the Virginia Tech campus to provide an opportunity for scientists and engineers from industry and government to learn about the activities of MII through 25+ faculty presentations and 100+ student posters.

There are also opportunities to learn new aspects of the integrated research and education programs at Virginia Tech to form partnerships with faculty and graduate/undergraduate students associated with the Institute.

2019 Plenary Speakers

Matthew Becker smiles at the camera and wears a dark suit.

Matthew Becker

Duke University

Professor of Chemistry, Mechanical Engineering and Material Science, and Orthopaedic Surgery

Plenary Lecture

"How New Materials, Advanced Characterization & Additive Manufacturing are Changing Medicine"

Katharine Covert

National Science Foundation

Program Director

Plenary Lecture

"Big Ideas, AI and 70th Anniversary: Updates from NSF"

Ashley Dustin wears a dark blue shirt with blue and green stripes. She smiles in front of a gray background.

Ashley Dustin

HRL Laboratories

Research Chemist

Plenary Lecture

"HRL Antithetical Icephobic Polymers"

John Layman looks at the camera and smiles.

John Layman

Procter & Gamble

R&D Section Head, Materials Science

Plenary Lecture

"Creating a Circular Economy for Plastics: Solvent Recycling of Polyolefins and its Implications to the Consumer Goods Industry and Beyond"

Murugappan Muthukumar dons glasses and a big grey and white mustache and looks at the camera.

M. Muthukumar

UMass Amherst

Wilmer D. Barrett Professor of Polymer Science and Engineering

Plenary Lecture

"Topological Effects on Movements of Charged Macromolecules in Crowds"

Askim Senyurt is in front of a light blue background and wears a denim shirt and smiles at the camera.

Askim Senyurt

Owens Corning

Plenary Lecture

"Reactive Extrusion of Polyurethanes"

Full Program

10:00 AM–1:00 PM: Main Conference Check-In

Time Presentation Speaker
9:00-10:00 AM

"Machine-Learning Tutorial in Python"

Download resources to follow along with the Tutorial

Luke Achenie (CHE)
10:00-10:10 AM Break
10:10-10:35 AM Tutorial continued
10:35-11:00 AM "Polymer Informatics" Shengfeng Cheng (Physics)
11:00-11:10 AM Break
11:10-11:35 AM "Prospects and Challenges of Machine Learning in Computational Materials Science" Hongliang Xin (CHE)
11:35 AM-12:00 PM "Physics-Guided Machine Learning: Advances in an Emerging Paradigm Combining Scientific Knowledge with Machine Learning" Anuj Karpatne (CS)

Session Chair: Timothy Long (Chemistry)

Time Presentation Speaker
1:00-1:05 PM Introductory Remarks Timothy Long (Director, MII)
1:05-1:10 PM Welcome to Virginia Tech Stefan Duma (Director, ICTAS)
1:10-1:30 PM MII Year in Review Timothy Long (Director, MII)
1:30-1:45 PM

Presentation of Garth L. Wilkes Interdisciplinary Scholar Awards

Faculty Recipient: David A. Dillard (BEAM)

Student Recipient: Camden A. Chatham (MACR/ME)

1:45-1:50 PM Plenary Introduction Timothy Long (Director, MII)
1:50-2:30 PM Plenary Lecture: "Big Ideas, AI and 70th Anniversary: Updates from NSF" Dr. Katharine Covert (Program Director; NSF)
2:30-2:55 PM "Molecular Dynamics Simulations Integrated Machine-Learning Study of Bottlebrush Polymers" Sanket Deshmukh (CHE)
2:55-3:05 PM Break
3:05-3:30 PM “Accuracy of Föppl-von Karman Membrane Theory for Determining Elastic Constants of Monolayer Graphene Sheet" Romesh Batra (BEAM)
3:30-3:35 PM Plenary Introduction Robert Moore (CHEM)
3:35-4:15 PM Plenary Lecture: "Topological Effects on Movements of Charged Macromolecules in Crowds" Prof. M. Muthukumar (Wilmer D. Barrett Professor of Polymer Science and Engineering; University of Massachusetts Amherst)
4:15-4:40 PM "Drying of Polymer Solutions" Shengfeng Cheng (PHYS)
4:40-5:05 PM "Multi-Physics Modeling of Time-Dependent Materials" Maryam Shakiba (CEE)
5:30-7:00 PM

Poster/Reception (Latham Ballroom - ABC) - (Dinner on your own)

Student Awards sponsored by TA Instruments

7:00-12:00 PM: Conference Check-In (Breakfast on your own)

8:00-9:00 AM: Tour of the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science II, Macromolecular Materials Discovery Center (MMDC), and the DREAMS Additive Manufacturing Facilities, Goodwin Hall (Profs. Timothy Long and Christopher Williams)

Session Chairs: Amrinder Nain and Bahareh Behkam (Mechanical Engineering)

Time Presentation Speaker
9:15-9:20 AM Introductory Remarks Amrinder Nain and Bahareh Behkam (ME)
9:20-9:45 AM "Polymeric Sequestrants for Environmental and Biological Applications" Michael Schulz (CHEM)
9:45-10:10 AM "Bio-Inspired Nanofiber-Coated Surfaces for Mitgation of Microbial Biofilm Formation" Bahareh Behkam (ME)
10:10-10:35 AM "Mechanics of Living Materials: From Subcellular Cytoskeletal Networks to Tissue-Scale Phenomenologies" Sohan Kale (ME)
10:35-10:45 AM Break
10:45-11:10 AM "Fiber Nanonets for Studying Mechanobiology" Amrinder Nain (ME)
11:10-11:15 AM Plenary Introduction Abby Whittington (MSE)
11:15-11:55 AM Plenary Lecture: "How New Materials, Advanced Characterization & Additive Manufacturing are Changing Medicine" Prof. Matthew Becker (Professor of Chemistry, Mechanical Engineering and Material Science, and Orthopaedic Surgery; Duke University)
11:55 AM-12:20 PM “Functional Membranes for Water Treatment and Gas Separations" Stephen Martin (CHE)
12:20 PM-2:00 PM Lunch (on your own)

Session Chair: John Matson (Chemistry)

Time Presentation Speaker
2:00-2:05 PM Introductory Remarks John Matson (CHEM)
2:05-2:30 PM "Building Polysaccharide Architectures"    Kevin Edgar (SBIO)
2:30-2:55 PM "Understanding Enhancement of Strength in CNT/GNP-Based Structural Composites" Gary Seidel (AOE)
2:55-3:05 PM Break
3:05-3:10 PM Plenary Introduction Phil Scott (MACR Student)
3:10-3:50 PM Plenary Lecture: "Creating a Circular Economy for Plastics: Solvent Recycling of Polyolefins and its Implications to the Consumer Goods Industry and Beyond" Dr. John Layman (R&D Section Head, Materials Science; Procter & Gamble) 
3:50-4:15 PM "Asking More From Our Networks: From Tunable Entanglement Density to Sacrificial Scaffolds" Timothy Long (CHEM) 
4:15-4:40 PM "Synthesis of Polyesters by Controlled Photoredox Ring-Opening Polymerization" Rong Tong (CHE)
4:40-5:05 PM

"Metal-Organic Framework Polymer Composites: Toward Next-Generation Smart Materials" Amanda Morris (CHEM)
5:05 PM-5:30 PM "The Curious Role of Compliance in Polymer Strength and Fracture"  David Dillard (BEAM)
5:30-7:00 PM

Poster Session/Reception (Latham Ballroom-ABC)

Student Awards sponsored by TA Instruments

7:00-9:00 PM

Conference Banquet (Latham Ballroom-ABC)

Guest Speaker: Prof. Michael Ellerbrock (Professor, Agricultural and Applied Economics; Virginia Tech)

Session Chairs: Donald Baird (CHE) and Christopher Williams (ME)

Time Presentation Speaker
8:00-8:05 AM Introductory Remarks  
8:05-8:30 AM "Multi-Material / Modality / Scale / Axis: Next-Generation AM Processes for Printing Performance Polymers" Christopher Williams (ME)
8:30-8:55 AM "Gelatin Processing for Medical Applications" Abby Whittington (MSE)
8:55-9:20 AM "Expanding Material Selection in Vat Photopolymerization: Unlocking Elastomers to Fully-Aromatic Polyimides through Synergistic Machine and Material Development" Viswanath Meenakshisundaram (ME Student)
9:20-9:30 AM Break
9:30-9:55 AM "First Principles Model Analysis of Interlayer Adhesion and Residual Stress in Extrusion Additive Manufacturing" Michael Bortner (CHE)
9:55-10:20 AM "Macromolecular and Supramolecular Materials for Signaling Gas Delivery" John Matson (CHEM)
10:20-10:30 AM Break
10:30-10:35 AM Plenary Introduction Timothy Long (MII)
10:35-11:15 AM Plenary Lecture: "HRL Antithetical Icephobic Polymers" Dr. Ashley Dustin (Research Chemist; HRL Laboratories)    
11:15-11:40 AM "Microstructured Poly(ether-ether-ketone) (PEEK)-Hydroxyapatite (HA) Composites for Bone Replacements" Priya Venkatraman (MACR Student)
11:40 AM-1:30 PM Lunch (on your own)
12:00-1:00 PM Graduate Student Lunch for MACR Student Council, Student SPE, and Poly-co-PMSE groups (Goodwin 440)
12:00-1:30 PM MII External Advisory Board Meeting (Preston's)

Session Chair: Robert Moore (Chemistry)

Time Presentation Speaker
1:30-1:35 PM Introductory Remarks Robert Moore (CHEM)
1:35-1:40 PM Plenary Introduction Christopher Williams (ME)
1:40-2:20 PM Plenary Lecture: "Reactive Extrusion of Polyurethanes" Dr. Askim Senyurt (Owens Corning)
2:20-2:45 PM "Nanostructure Evolution in Controlled UV-Curing" Takeo Suga (Waseda University)
2:45-3:10 PM "Gelation of Engineering Thermoplastics" Robert Moore (CHEM)
3:10-3:20 PM Break
3:20-3:45 PM "Neutron Scattering Applications in Polymer Science" Rana Ashkar (PHYS)
3:45-4:10 PM "Tracking Cations, Anions, and Water over Multiple Scales for Better Separations Technologies" Louis Madsen (CHEM)
4:10-4:35 PM "Nature-Inspired Water and Energy Harvesting" Jonathan Boreyko (ME)
4:35-5:00 PM "High Shear Capillary Rheometry of Cellulose Nanocrystals for Industrially Relevant Processing" Bradley Sutliff (MACR Student)

If you are a Virginia-based company and interested in attending the conference, please contact MII at for more information!

SAVE $50.00 by registering before October 4, 2019!

Conference Registration

  • Registration for the MII Conference will begin Monday, November 4, 2019, from 11:00 AM-1:00 PM. 
  • The meeting will begin at 1:00 PM on Monday and will conclude at 5:00 PM on Wednesday. 
  • The registration fee ($350.00 before 10/4/19; $400.00 after 10/4/19) includes attendance at the technical meeting, all receptions and breaks, banquet, and the meeting proceedings.

*If you are a Virginia Tech faculty member or student, please email for registration instructions.


The Holtzman Alumni Center is home to the Virginia Tech Alumni Association. The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center are adjacent to the Holtzman Alumni Center.

Hotel Accommodations

The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center
901 Prices Fork Road
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Phone: (540) 231-8000 or (877) 200-3360

The block of rooms at the Inn at Virginia Tech are only being held until October 3, so please make reservations for your hotel room accordingly – reserve your room today!

**Due to over-enrollment at Virginia Tech, the number of available rooms at the Inn at Virginia Tech has decreased significantly, so there are only a limited number of rooms available at the site. Other hotels within short walking distance include the Hyatt Place Blacksburg/University and the Residence Inn Blacksburg-University

For further information on this or future programs, contact MII by phone at (540) 231-6824 or by e-mail at