Karen I. Winey Receives Heilmeier Research Award

Karen I. Winey has been named the recipient of the 2011-12 George H. Heilmeier Faculty Award for Excellence in Research. Winey is professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania with a secondary appointment in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Winey is also Penn’s Director for both the Nanotechnology Institute and the Energy Commercialization Institute, which are funded through the Ben Franklin Technology Partnership to promote advanced technologies in the region. Beyond Penn, she serves as an associate editor for Macromolecules, the premier journal for polymer science.

The Heilmeier Award honors a Penn Engineering faculty member whose work is scientifically meritorious and has high technological impact and visibility. It is named for George H. Heilmeier, a Penn Engineering alumnus and overseer whose technological contributions include the development of liquid crystal displays and whose honors include the National Medal of Science and Kyoto Prize.

Winey’s current research interests include both polymer nanocomposites and ion-containing polymers. In nanocomposites, she designs and fabricates polymer nanocomposites containing carbon nanotubes and metal nanowires with the aim of understanding how to improve their mechanical, thermal, and in particular, electrical conductivity and resistive switching properties. Polymer dynamics in the presence of nanoparticles is also of interest. In ion-containing polymers, including block copolymers and polymers with ionic liquids, Winey combines imaging and scattering methods to provide unprecedented insights into their morphologies. Current efforts focus on correlating nanoscale structures with ion transport properties. In both areas, Winey couples experimental studies with simulation and theory, either within her group or with collaborators.

Winey received her B.S. from Cornell University in materials science and engineering and her Ph.D. in polymer science and engineering from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Following a postdoctoral position at AT&T Bell Laboratories, she joined the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania in 1992.

Winey will deliver the Heilmeier Research Award Lecture on Tuesday, March 13, 2012. To learn more about Winey and her research, visit her faculty research profile.