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PhD Student Wins Materials Research Award

Jennifer BoothbyJennifer Boothby

Biomedical engineering PhD student Jennifer Boothby recently was awarded a highly competitive silver award from the Materials Research Society. She received the award at the organization’s spring meeting held in Phoenix, Arizona in April 2019.

The Materials Research Society is considered the premier professional organization for materials scientists. Each year, the society presents gold and silver awards to graduate students at its spring meeting and notes that many of its award winners continue to distinguished careers and leadership roles in many different fields. Award winners were selected based upon several criteria including thoroughness of research, depth of understanding and ingenuity in undertaking the research project.

Under the leadership of Dr. Taylor Ware, assistant professor of bioengineering at The University of Texas at Dallas and principal investigator of the Ware Research Group, Boothby has researched biomedical applications of shape-memory polymers, specifically liquid crystalline hydrogels. These unique materials are pliable but also maintain their shape, similar to human tissue. Boothby has focused on creating shape-memory polymers that can respond to biological stimuli. Because the polymers can be controlled on a molecular scale, they open many new possibilities for biomedical applications including biosensors, soft robots and tissue scaffolds.

“Being able to manipulate movement on a small scale is a big deal,” Boothby said. “By utilizing the bottom-up assembly of materials, we create ordered structures which can perform functions on size scales inaccessible to traditional machines and actuators.”

Boothby began her PhD in 2015 after completing her BS in biomedical engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology in 2014. She also has previously worked at MedShape, Inc. on the development of shape-memory orthopedic devices. After graduation, she seeks to work in research and development for a company specializing in new applications of biomaterials.