Published: Dec. 22, 2023 By

The MSE Program represents the exceptional materials community at CU Boulder, which includes many faculty recognized by major national bodies for outstanding research:

National Academies Members

National Academy of Inventors

American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering

Mike McGehee in a lab with three students at a computer.
TEAMUP Consortium leader Prof. Mike McGehee, second from left, in a lab with three students at a computer.

Stephanie Bryant

Stephanie Bryant

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

As we round out the semester and the end of the year, I reflect on the outstanding faculty and students of the MSE Program at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder) and their accomplishments over the past year. As director, I am honored to lead such a diverse and accomplished group of faculty and students.

Recognized Faculty

The MSE Program is proud to represent the exceptional materials community at CU Boulder that includes 6 faculty who are a member of one or more of the National Academies (Engineering, Science, and Medicine), 7 who are members of the National Academy of Inventors, and 6 who are members of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. Our faculty include a past president of the Materials Research Society and 8 MRS award-winners.

This year also saw three of our faculty ranked by Clarivate as highly cited researchers in 2023. The designation recognizes Profs. Jason Burdick, Michael McGehee, and Michael Toney for "significant and broad influence in their field(s) of research," ranking in the top 1% by citations in their field.

Our program has over 80 PhD students with our largest entering class this fall. The PhD program is the flagship of our educational mission. Our students are truly outstanding and each year our students win prestigious graduate research fellowships including the NSF GRFP.

Over the past year, our faculty continue to be at the forefront of new technology development. Several of our faculty received multi-million dollar awards to address the energy crisis and the failing infrastructure across the world.

Big Year for Research Awards

Professor Michael McGehee, Associate Director of MSE, received $9M from the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) to establish the TEAMUP Consortium that aims to develop more stable and affordable tandem solar cells. The goal is to combine perovskite with existing silicone-based technology to increase power while lowering cost. This idea has received national attention and was recently showcased in Nature as a news feature. This consortium includes Professor Seth Marder and Professor Michael Tony.

Professor Mija Hubler received a $10M contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Biorestoration of Aged Concrete (BRACE) program. Her project is Reinforced Concrete Repair by an Evolving Internal Vascular Ecosystem or RC-REVIVE. The project draws inspiration from biological interconnected networks (e.g., human vascular systems and filamentous fungi) to create a novel way to heal cracks and increase the longevity of concrete.

I am truly impressed by the creativity and innovative approaches in the research by our faculty.

This year our faculty and students have been recognized through numerous awards. I highlight only a few of the many notable recognitions.

New Educational Programs

On the educational side, the MSE program launched an undergraduate MSE minor this Fall. We are excited to provide undergraduates at CU Boulder an opportunity to formally enrich their education with a focus on materials. As materials enable many other engineering and science disciplines, this minor will complement the various bachelor’s degrees and open new career opportunities for our students.

In addition, the MSE Program officially launches the NSF REU Site “Engineering Materials for a Healthy World,” which will begin next summer. The REU program will provide opportunities for students to participate at the forefront of materials research at CU Boulder. We are excited to welcome students from across the country.

There are many exciting things going on in the MSE program at CU Boulder. Our program is growing and our faculty and students are making a real and positive impact on society. I am thankful for the faculty, students and staff that make the MSE program at CU Boulder truly outstanding. I look forward to an even better year next year.

I wish you all a very happy holiday.

Stephanie J. Bryant, PhD
Director of the Materials Science and Engineering Program