FIRST-EVER TEXAN/GERMAN SYMPOSIUM OPENS
MAX PLANCK INSTITUTE FOR POLYMER RESEARCH AND UH
HOUSTON, Oct. 14, 2004 – Collaborations between the Max Planck
Institute for Polymer Research in Germany and the University of
Houston are providing impetus for polymers research developments
that range from improving display devices to genetic profiling.
Opening the door to establishing a future joint research program
between the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) and
UH, Rigoberto Advincula, associate professor of chemistry at UH,
has organized a first-ever joint symposium between a Texas research
group and the MPI-P held Oct. 18-19 in Mainz, Germany.
“This is a very important collaboration for UH because the
MPI-P is the best place in the world to do polymer research,”
Advincula said. “The institute is recognized by practically
everyone in the polymer field, and the reputation of Max Planck
Institutes is very high in terms of specific research fields, with
one for almost every important branch of scientific field and interdisciplinary
In the spirit of renowned physicist Max Planck, a 1919 Nobel Prize
winner, who proved time and again that there were new things to
be discovered in science, the symposium is hosted by the MPI-P,
located on the campus of the Johannes Gutenberg University. It is
an opportunity for Advincula, three doctoral students from his polymer
group and a research associate staff member to present their research
and to visit and meet with the directors of the MPI-P departments.
Wolfgang Knoll, director of material science at MPI-P, is leading
his group as the other half of this joint symposium.
Advincula and Knoll already enjoy a strong collaborative relationship.
In April, the two researchers hosted a symposium on “Nanostructured
Materials Based on Polyelectrolytes, Colloids and Nanoparticles
in Ultrathin Films” at the American Chemical Society meeting
032604radvincula.html), followed by a visit to UH from Knoll,
who gave a lecture in the department of chemistry. In addition,
they have had a joint postdoctoral fellow since 2000, and numerous
individual exchange visits between the two groups have taken place
to strengthen collaborations that have resulted in several papers
each year since 1997. This will be the first-ever formal joint symposium.
“This exchange of visits and collaborations is in line with
creating a future joint research program with the MPI-P that would
involve new research directions in polymer materials, future grant
submissions and perhaps a joint doctoral program,” Advincula
said. “Knoll’s group is very strong in macromolecular
assemblies and biophysics, and we hope to gain more interaction
in this area.”
New polymers materials have practical applications, such as in
coatings, semiconductors, sensor materials for biomedical devices,
DNA chip substrates, bioimplant materials and materials for display
technologies used in advanced electronics.
Founded in 1983, the MPI-P followed a recommendation by the German
Science Council that an interdisciplinary institution of polymer
research should be established in view of the importance of macromolecules
in science, technology and industry. The central thrust of the institute
is basic research in the field of polymeric materials, with departments
in polymer physics, solid-state chemistry, polymer spectroscopy,
synthetic macromolecular chemistry, material science and polymer
Along with Advincula, three doctoral students, Jason Locklin, Tim
Fulghum and Derek Patton, and a research associate, Akira Baba,
will present research at the symposium that includes “Conjugated
Polymer Network Approach in Polymer Ultrathin Films: Synthesis,
Patterning, and Devices” and “Multiply-bound Polymer
Chains: From Synthesis to Surface Properties.” The Knoll group
will reciprocate with reporting new developments in “Surface
Plasmon Spectroscopy and Fluorescence, DNA Hybridization Sensors,
Impedance Analysis of Biomimetic Membranes and New Polymer and Nanoparticle
Materials for Biosensing.”
About the University of Houston
The University of Houston, Texas’ premier metropolitan research
and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers
and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate,
civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university
in the country, stands at the forefront of education, research and
service with more than 35,000 students.
For more information about the Max Planck Institute for Polymer
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