We have an amazing pool of candidates for the 2024 CELL Division Graduate Student Award this year and the selection was tough. Our panel of judges have narrowed down two candidates for the Graduate Student Award this year. The first place goes to Yuhang Ye from the University of British Columbia and the first runner-up goes to Daniela Wloch from Imperial College London.
Yuhang’s doctoral research mainly focusses on fabricating nanocellulose-based conductive gel conductors for emerging applications. In his award winning publication, “Cellulose Nanofibrils Enhanced, Strong, Stretchable, Freezing-Tolerant Ionic Conductive Organohydrogel for Multi-Functional Sensors” (Adv. Func. Mater. 2020, 30, 2003430), he has proven the multi-fold benefits of cellulose nanofibrils (CNFs) inside gel conductors, including the enhancement effect on mechanical performance (both in stress and elongation), ionic conductivity, interfacial compatibility between soft and hard surfaces, and even as the scaffold to regulate the properties of resultant materials at macroscale.
Daniela’s research focuses on the design, manufacturing and characterisation of optically transparent ultralow nanocellulose (specifically bacterial cellulose – BC) loading reinforced polymer composites for impact protection, with a focus on the military defence sector. In her award winning publication “Optically transparent laminated acrylic composites reinforced with mercerised bacterial cellulose nanopaper” (Composites Part A 2023, 172, 107583), she showed the possibility of using mercerisation to produce ductile bacterial cellulose nanopaper. When such ductile nanopaper was used as reinforcement for acrylic, the resulting composite was still transparent but its impact strength doubled when compared to “gold standard” monolithic impact modified acrylic.
We will see their award winning talks in ACS Spring 2024 meeting in New Orleans, in the New Horizons in Renewable Materials: Young Investigators Symposium.
Congratulations to both of them!