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ChE Distinguished Seminar Series: Professor Germano Iannacchione


Richards Hall Room 236

April 26, 2019 11:45 am to 1:00 pm
April 26, 2019 11:45 am to 1:00 pm

Please join the Department of Chemical Engineering for a Distinguished Seminar with Professor Germano Iannacchione from Worcester Polytechnic Institute will be presenting on "Biomaterials Far-From-Equilibrium: New Opportunities in Synthetic Biology".

Abstract: This lecture concerns perspectives of an individual researcher and that of the National Science Foundation on the cross-roads of Biomaterials and Synthetic Biology.  Traditional approaches to materials synthesis have largely relied on uniform, equilibrated phases leading to the typical structures in condensed-matter.  However, this approach is absent in biology.  From the folding of proteins to reorganization of self-regulating cytoskeletal networks, biological materials reflect a major shift in emphasis from equilibrium thermodynamic regimes to out-of-equilibrium regimes.  Here, equilibrium structures, determined by global free-energy minima, are replaced by highly structured dynamical states that are out-of-equilibrium, calling into question the utility of global thermodynamic energy minimization as a first-principles approach.  Thus, the creation of new materials capable of performing life-like functions such as complex and cooperative processes, self-replication, and self-repair, will ultimately rely upon incorporating biological principles of spatio-temporal modes of self-assembly.  From a physics perspective, the primary challenge is understanding far-from-equilibrium systems.

Biography: Germano Iannacchione, Professor of Physics, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 100 Institute Road, Worcester, MA 01609 (, 508-831-5631)  M.Sc. in Physics, 1990, from University of Akron and PhD in Physics, 1993, from Kent State University. Post-doctoral Fellow, Liquid Crystal Institute, 1993-1996 Kent State University, Post-doctoral Fellow, Dept. Chemistry, 1996-1998, MIT, 1998-present faculty in Physics at WPI, 2017-present Program Director of the Condensed Matter Physics program in the Division of Materials Research at NSF.  Research areas are in order-disorder phenomena in soft condensed matter (polymers, liquid crystals, biomaterials, and colloidal composites) and far-from-equilibrium emergence with 87 publications.