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BSE Colloquium - Shudipto Dishari, Associate Professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Addressing the Biomedical and Sustainable Energy Challenges using Polymer-based Nanomaterials

Date: Time: 12:00 pm–1:00 pm
Chase Hall Room: 219
Additional Info: CHA
Contact: Rebecca Wachs, (402) 472-2262, rebecca.wachs@unl.edu
Abstract
To critically advance the next-generation biomedical and sustainable energy technologies, we need to understand and tweak the nanoscale and interfacial behaviors of functional polymers. On the biomedical end, overuse and misuse of antibiotics and continuous evolution of bacteria have made antibiotic resistance a big concern for animals and humans. The ESKAPE pathogens as well as many Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacterial strains become resistant to antibiotic drugs by altering their cell walls. On the other hand, the drugs or antimicrobial materials often kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria by altering bacterial outer cell envelopes. In our Nanomaterials lab at UNL, we do not only develop synthetic (pi-conjugated) and bio-derived (lignin-based) polymer-based antimicrobial materials, but also put a great emphasis on understanding how the antimicrobial materials alter the outer cell envelope of a range of antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains. We leverage our wide expertise in nanoscale optical, mechanical, and morphological characterization techniques, and combine with omics data to unravel the antimicrobial action mechanism. Such understanding can impact the design of next-generation coatings for medical devices, wound-healing materials, packaging materials for food safety, water treatment and more.

On the sustainable energy end, we understand how the ionomers behave at nanoscale and design novel nature-inspired and bio-derived ion-conducting polymers (ionomers) to make critical advances in energy conversion and storage devices, like fuel cells and batteries. These ionomers stand unique as they are designed keeping in mind the specific issues associated with ionomer nanoconfinement which negatively impacts ion transport, power density, and efficiency of the devices. Such nanoscale insight-driven materials innovation can potentially bring transformative changes in high-demand thin electronics, battery recycling, biomass valorization, smart farming technologies, and more.
Biography
Dr. Shudipto Konika Dishari is an associate professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). Dishari worked as a post-doctoral fellow in Chemical Engineering (PI: Andrew Zydney) and Materials Science and Engineering (PI: Michael Hickner) at the Pennsylvania State University. She received her Ph.D. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from the National University of Singapore (NUS). Dishari’s research focuses on designing synthetic and bio-derived, ion-conducting, and light-harvesting polymers and exploring their nanoscale properties. Her work targets to impact energy conversion/storage devices, chemical/biosensing, antimicrobial, and bio separation applications. Dishari has received several honors/awards in recognition of her research and teaching excellence, including, the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science Early CAREER Award (2019), National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award (2018), 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award (2021), Edgerton Innovation Award (2021), Emerging Innovator of the Year Award by NUTech Venture (2020), Harold and Esther Edgerton Junior Faculty Award (2019), Henry Y. Kleinkauf Family Distinguished New Faculty Teaching Award (2020), Baxter Young Investigator Award (2014) and more. Dishari has organized many symposiums and served as discussion leader/chair at the national meetings, including the American Chemical Society (ACS), American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), American Physical Society (APS), North American Membrane Society (NAMS), Electrochemical Society (ECS), and Gordon Research Conference (GRC). She has also been actively involved in UNL’s “Complete Engineering Initiative” and “Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce.”

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