Understanding how structural materials, particularly metallic alloys, are processed and perform is one of the oldest scientific pursuits and over the past two thousand years, a tremendous amount of empirical knowledge has been developed regarding how we can make and use these materials.  However, the understanding we have gained has all been gathered without the ability to ‘watch’ how these materials evolve as they are being processed and used in-service. Due to this short-coming, we still can’t precisely predict how a material will fail, leading to safety issues and economic waste. Similarly, our process of creating new alloy systems still requires a tremendous amount of old-fashioned trial-and-error.  However, a new generation of X-ray techniques at synchrotrons and free electron lasers (particle accelerators) are allowing us to look inside these materials as they evolve in 3D. Combined with modern predictive modeling and machine-learning, we are on the precipice of revolutionizing how we use and design alloy systems.

Deb Ehrenthal | Director, Social Science Research Institute

Infant mortality rates in the United States increase as counties become more rural. This mirrors the “rural mortality penalty” among adults, where those living in rural areas have higher mortality rates at every age than those in more urban settings. By analyzing linked and geocoded administrative data, we show that the higher infant mortality rates in rural counties are explained by higher rates of poverty and not by more-limited access to health care or high rates of tobacco use.

Sibel Irmak | Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Technology options for hydrogen gas production are currently very expensive and highly dependent on fossil resources.  Aqueous medium gasification (hydrothermal gasification) takes place at moderately low temperature and pressure conditions which reduces the cost of this process.  In this talk, I will give information about my research efforts on improving hydrothermal conversion of biomass to hydrogen.

Sarah Bordenstein | Biology

Discover the Microbes Within! The Wolbachia Project was established over 17 years ago to engage high school and postsecondary students with nature and real-world research while expanding our global knowledge of the endosymbiont, Wolbachia. It now serves as a model for the next generation of BioSTEM classrooms. This talk will highlight student-driven research and present our vision for a collaborative future at Penn State.

Robert Zupko | Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics

Despite the progress of the past twenty years, Plasmodium falciparum malaria continues to be a major public health concern with about 241 million cases and 627,000 deaths in 2020.  One means of combating malaria has been through the use of artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs), which have been instrumental in preventing deaths and reducing transmission. However, the recent appearance of artemisinin resistant P. falciparum in Africa suggests that innovative approaches are needed to prolong the efficacy of ACTs while next generation therapies are developed. 

Xing Wang | Nuclear Engineering

Atom probe tomography (APT) provides 3D compositional mapping with atomic resolution for most elements, from light hydrogen to heavy uranium isotopes.  In this talk, I will introduce the working principle of APT and how it has been applied to answer long-standing questions in structural materials.  By combing with advances in other microscopy techniques, such as the cryogenic focused-ion beam, APT brings new opportunities for addressing challenges in hydrogen storage, lithium battery, and even bio-organic materials.