We have an amazing pool of candidates for the 2023 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 Thomas Parton from the University of Cambridge and the first runner up goes to Zheyuan Ding from Tianjin University.
Thomas studies the chiral self-assembly of cellulose nanocrystals for photonic films. The aim of his PhD is to answer fundamentally how does the chirality of the CNC mesophase arise and how does kinetic arrest of CNC suspensions influence the visual appearance of photonic films. In his award-winning publication “Chiral self-assembly of cellulose nanocrystals is driven by crystallite bundles” (Nature Comm. 2022, 13, 2657), he showed that the sub-population of cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) act as chiral dopants, analogous to those used for molecular liquid crystals, while the other CNCs are functionally achiral. More generally, it suggests a new paradigm for chiral self-assembly of colloidal particles, in which a small quantity of chiral dopant particles can be used to drive the self-organization of a larger particle ensemble.
Zheyuan’s research focuses lignin derived low-dimensional advanced carbon materials large-scale green synthesis including graphene quantum dots, graphene and VdW junction for advanced application. His work aimed at revealing the aromatic fusion mechanism via in-situ or operando technique including STEM, AFM, XAFS and NMR, etc. for highly controllable synthesis of advanced low-dimensional carbon materials. His award-winning publication “Gram-scale synthesis of single-crystalline graphene quantum dots derived from lignin biomass” (Green Chem. 2018, 20, 1383) showed the possibility of producing gram-scale single-crystalline graphene quantum dots from from lignin. The utilisation of renewable biomass resources paves the way for green, low-cost and large-scale production of high quality graphene quantum dots and allows for the development of sustainable applications.
We will see their award winning talks in ACS Spring 2023 meeting in Indianapolis, in the New Horizons in Renewable Materials: Young Investigators Symposium.
Congratulations to both of them!