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The Soft Matter Show

The Soft Matter Show

By Amal Narayanan
The podcast about state-of-the-art research on polymer and soft matter science. The show is hosted by Amal Narayanan, mostly joined by researchers, academicians, and industrialists.

With them, Amal explores the latest research themes, futuristic ideas, the journey behind who they are now, what they want to be, and their advice for you.

Amal Narayanan, Ph.D. is a postdoctoral researcher at Princeton University working on Cellular Membraneless Organelles

Contact Amal: amalnarayanan@thesoftmattershow.com

Check out:
thesoftmattershow.com
amalnarayanan.weebly.com
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Ep #12 - Dr. Bibiana Campos Seijo on Science Journalism, C&EN, and Being a Powerlifter
Ep #12 - Dr. Bibiana Campos Seijo on Science Journalism, C&EN, and Being a Powerlifter Hello Soft Matter People! Welcome to another episode of The Soft Matter Show. Our today's guest is Dr. Bibiana Campos Seijo (https://www.linkedin.com/in/bibianacamposseijo/). Bibi is the current editor-in-chief of Chemical and Engineering News. In this episode, Bibi shared her thoughts on the world of science journalism and science communication. Bibi talked about her journey across the world to pursue science journalism. On a side note, Bibi is a strong person, Well... Bibi is a very strong person, in 2016, Bibi broke the world record in powerlifting for her weight and age class by lifting a massive 320 lb. Please check the show notes to see the video: https://twitter.com/BibianaCampos/status/734382177459314688?s=20 Announcement on Virtual Polymer Physics Symposium Before we start this episode, I have a small announcement. Karthika Suresh, Jelena Dinic, and I are organizing a Virtual Polymer Physics Symposium for graduate students and postdocs. This virtual symposium has research talks from students and postdocs, perspectives from academic and industry panelists, and discussions on diversity. In the panel, we have Dr. Irada Isayeva from the U.S. FDA, Dr. Kurt Koppi from Dow Chemical Company, Dr. LaShanda Korley from the University of Delaware, Dr. Amanda Marciel from the Rice University, and Dr. Vivek Prabhu from the U.S. NIST. Please check out: lu.ma/vpps21 for more details. The abstract submission is open until July 23rd! Please register as a speaker or attendee at lu.ma/vpps21 Thank you, Now let's hear from Dr. Bibiana Campos Seijo Read more: Dr. Bibiana Campos Seijo https://cen.acs.org/static/about/staff_landing/biobcs.html E-mail: b_campos-seijo@acs.org Amal Narayanan https://www.thesoftmattershow.com E-mail: amalnarayanan@thesoftmattershow.com
56:22
July 12, 2021
Ep #11 - Dr. Saad Bhamla on Slingshot Spiders, Worm Blobs, and Frugal Science
Ep #11 - Dr. Saad Bhamla on Slingshot Spiders, Worm Blobs, and Frugal Science Hello Soft Matter People! Welcome to another episode of The Soft Matter Show. Our today's guest is Dr. Saad Bhamla (https://www.bhamla.com). Saad is a Professor at The School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. In this episode, Saad talked about some of the organisms that possess unique biophysical mechanisms for sustaining their life. These organisms include Slingshot spiders, Californian worms, and much more. You may even find parts of this conversation about "How insects pee". Yes! you are hearing me right! Saad also took time to chat about how one can contribute to improve lives in countries with minimal resources using Frugal Science. You can read more about’s Saad’s endeavors in the show note at thesoftmattershow.com Read more: Dr. Saad Bhamla https://www.bhamla.com Science comics: https://www.bhamla.gatech.edu/comic E-mail: saadb@gatech.edu Amal Narayanan https://www.thesoftmattershow.com E-mail: amalnarayanan@thesoftmattershow.com
49:48
June 12, 2021
Ep #10 - Dr. Darren Lipomi on Haptics, Active Learning, and Molecular Podcasting
Hello Soft Matter People! Welcome to another episode of The Soft Matter Show. Our today's guest is Dr. Darren Lipomi (https://www.lipomigroup.org/darren-lipomi). Darren is a Professor of Nanoengineering (https://ne.ucsd.edu/) at the University of California, San Diego. In this episode, Darren talked about the origin of the active learning platform he has developed using YouTube. Also, Darren shared his experience on developing his very own podcasting platform - The Molecular Podcasting (https://open.spotify.com/show/7MMkvxJIeNNfnTc3bHNgeE). Which is one of the podcast platforms that inspired me to create The Soft Matter Show. This episode also discusses the futuristic technologies Darren is developing with his team at The University of California San Diego. This episode is filled with a lot of fun segues and a video version of this conversation can be found on Darren Lipomi’s YouTube Channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/djlipomi). Now let hear from Darren. Read more: Dr. Darren Lipomi https://www.lipomigroup.org/ E-mail: dlipomi@eng.ucsd.edu Amal Narayanan https://www.thesoftmattershow.com E-mail: amalnarayanan@thesoftmattershow.com
01:12:25
May 29, 2021
Ep #9 - Dr. Arthi Jayaraman on Being an Editor, Breaking the Barriers in Science, and the Importance of Support Systems
Hello Soft Matter Enthusiasts! Welcome to another episode of The Soft Matter Show. Our today's guest is Dr. Arthi Jayaraman (https://cbe.udel.edu/people/faculty/arthij/). Arthi is a Professor with joint appointments at the department of chemical and biomolecular engineering (https://cbe.udel.edu/) and the department of material science and engineering (https://mseg.udel.edu/) at The University of Delaware. Arthi is a skilled multi-tasker and manages to be on the editorial board of multiple prestigious journals and organizes outreach events while being a full-time professor. In this episode, Arthi shared her journey from being a student to a professor. In addition to the fabulous simulations Arthi’s team is creating at Delaware, I was stunned at the research philosophy Arthi has cultivated. Arthi also shared her responsibilities as an editorial board member and how she manages her time. This episode I believe is a fantastic combination of life and philosophy of research, I hope all of you enjoy this! Read more: Dr. Arthi Jayaraman http://udel.edu/~arthij/ E-mail: arthij@udel.edu Amal Narayanan https://www.thesoftmattershow.com E-mail: amalnarayanan@thesoftmattershow.com
50:53
May 20, 2021
Ep #8 - Dr. Stephanie Weber on Membraneless Organelles, Research in Canada, and Cultivating Mental Health
Hello Soft Matter People! Welcome to another episode of The Soft Matter Show. Our today's guest is Dr. Stephanie Weber (https://www.linkedin.com/in/steph-weber-33790995/). Steph is a professor of Biology at the McGill University, Canada. This conversation covers a wide range of topics starting from mental health to membraneless organelles. Steph shared her thoughts on the contrasts between the research systems of Canada and the United States. And how she overcome mental stress and persisted in academia. Later, Steph provided a summary of what to know about membraneless organelles also known as condensates. Towards the end, we explored Weber lab’s new research directions in the field of bacterial condensates and much more. Read more: Dr. Stephanie Weber https://weberlab.ca/ E-mail: steph.weber@mcgill.ca Amal Narayanan https://www.thesoftmattershow.com E-mail: amalnarayanan@thesoftmattershow.com
56:58
April 19, 2021
Ep #7 - Dr. Marleen Kamperman on the Role of Outreach on Diversity, Bioinspired Materials, and Interdisciplinary Research
Welcome to another episode of The Soft Matter Show. Our today's guest is Dr. Marleen Kamperman. Marleen is a professor of polymer science at the University of Groningen, Holland. She is an award-winning scientist in her outreach activities and we cover a wide spectrum of topics in this conversation. Marleen talked about her thoughts on the importance of outreach in elevating diversity in science. We discussed her passion for bioinspired materials and What Marleen looks for while hiring Ph.D. students and Postdoc trainees. She also shares her thoughts on the similarities and differences between the creative processes across arts and science! Read more: Dr. Marleen Kamperman https://kampermanlab.com E-mail: marleen.kamperman@rug.nl Amal Narayanan https://www.thesoftmattershow.com E-mail: amalnarayanan@thesoftmattershow.com
47:42
March 28, 2021
Ep #6 - Dr. Samanvaya Srivastava on Polyelectrolyte Complexes, Coacervation, and Academic Research
This conversation features Dr. Samanvaya Srivastava (https://www.linkedin.com/in/samanvayasrivastava/). Samanvaya is currently a professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles. In this episode, Samanvaya talks about his journey in the academic route. We talked about how he persisted and transformed himself from a student to a professor. Specifically, he shared the experiences in working with Professors Ashutosh Sharma, Lynden Archer, and Matt Tirrell. While exploring his recent research, we dive into the world of polyelectrolyte complexes and coacervates. Samanvaya also expanded his thoughts on the importance of charged polymers in daily life. With that, Please enjoy the episode! Read more: Dr. Samanvaya Srivastava https://www.srivastava-lab.net E-mail: samsri@ucla.edu Amal Narayanan https://www.thesoftmattershow.com E-mail: amalnarayanan@thesoftmattershow.com
41:52
March 16, 2021
Ep #5 - Dr. Niels Holten-Andersen on Mussel Adhesion, Bioinspired Mechanics, and Transforming from Biologist to Soft Matter Scientist
The guest of this episode is Dr. Niels Holten-Andersen. Niels is a professor of the program in polymers and soft matter at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In this conversation, Niels and Amal took a deep dive into the world of biomimetic materials. Specifically, Niels shared his knowledge in mussel adhesion and transient mechanics of biological materials. Since Amal and Niels carry a mutual interest in biological adhesives, some parts of the conversation are a little technical. Please bear with it. From this conversation, you will learn a lot more about the fascinating field of mussel adhesion from this conversation. Being an avid traveler himself, Niels also shared his perspectives on working in the west, midwest, and northeast of the United States. I am a fan of Niels’s philosophy towards research and had fun hearing from him. I am sure that you will also feel the same. Please enjoy the episode! Read more: Dr. Niels Holten-Andersen https://holtengroup.com/ E-mail: holten@mit.edu Amal Narayanan https://www.thesoftmattershow.com E-mail: amalnarayanan@thesoftmattershow.com
57:52
February 16, 2021
Ep #4 - Dr. Anirban Sengupta on Artificial Platelets, Combating Traumatic Wounds, and the 3 “P”s of Career Building
In this conversation, Dr. Anirban Sengupta joined Amal Narayanan to chat about synthetic platelet-inspired technologies for blood clotting. Anirban and Amal dig deep into Anirban's transformation from a Chemist-Chemical Engineer to platelet biology. The conversation explores the futuristic technologies that could be used in critical medical care in civilian and combat wounds. Later, the conversation led to the philosophy of translational biomedical research, cross-disciplinary collaborations, and persevering in the academic journey. Read more: Dr. Anirban Sengupta Anirban is a professor in the department of biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve University and is co-founder & CSO of Haima Therapeutics. He is a prolific researcher in the field of translational biomedical research. He has published over 60 peer-reviewed publications and owns several US patents. He has raised millions of dollars as research funding and an engaging entrepreneur. Website: https://www.senguptalab.com E-mail: anirban.sengupta@case.edu Amal Narayanan Website: https://www.thesoftmattershow.com E-mail: amalnarayanan@thesoftmattershow.com
01:01:26
January 11, 2021
Ep #3 - Dr. Elyse Ball on How to Start a Company, Entrepreneurship in Academic Labs, and NSF I-Corps
In this conversation, Dr. Elyse Ball joined Amal Narayanan to discuss the process of translating technologies developed from academic labs. Elyse is an extraordinary multitasker and detailed about the process of juggling between jobs such as Assistant council of UARF and CFOs of various startups. This conversation further expanded to the exciting world of entrepreneurship in Ohio. Elyse has been leading the NSF I-CORPs sites program which Amal has completed twice for two different technologies he developed during the Ph.D. More importantly, in this conversation, Elyse talked about the reasons behind the success and failure of startups, methods to find mentors, and various resources for student and faculty entrepreneurs. Read more:  Dr. Elyse Ball  https://www.linkedin.com/in/elyse-ball-b331b851  E-mail: eball@uakron.edu  Amal Narayanan  https://www.thesoftmattershow.com  E-mail: amalnarayanan@thesoftmattershow.com
47:27
January 6, 2021
Ep #2 - Dr. James Eagan on Plastic Recycling During Pandemic, and Working with Industry and Academia
This episode is a conversation between Amal Narayanan and Dr. James Eagan on plastic recycling and academic research. We discussed James’ motivation behind becoming a scientist and taking up research challenges. The research problem James specializes in is the "million-dollar" one - plastic recycling. Yes, I am sure that you must be thinking that plastic recycling research is a notorious challenge and needed to be solved immediately. Indeed, I am here to tell you that James' approach which combines synthetic chemistry and engineering to resolve some of the outstanding problems in recycling is unique and exciting. James also shared his wisdom on plastic recycling during the pandemic. You will find from this conversation that his passion and knowledge in the field of recycling is extraordinary. Let’s learn how his team attempts to resolve plastic pollution. James shared his experience in working with industry and academia. He also explained his thoughts on switching the research fields from natural product synthesis to polymer science. Read more: www.eaganlab.com; www.thesoftmattershow.com; www.amalnarayanan.weebly.com; Write to the host: amalnarayanan@thesoftmattershow.com
45:33
December 12, 2020
Ep #1 - Dr. Abraham Joy on Polymers as Biomaterials, Switching Research Fields, and Funding Pressure
This is a conversation between me and Dr. Abraham Joy on academic research and team development. We discussed the exciting research platform he has put together at the School of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering at The University of Akron. Where he optimizes the physical and chemical properties of plastics to active polymers. Abraham shares his experiences in switching research fields and being an outsider in new areas of scientific research. He shares his thoughts on treating your students as your own biological kids and raising money for polymer and biomaterial research. Read more about Dr. Abraham Joy at joyresearch.org. Read more about this show at thesoftmattershow.com
58:13
November 24, 2020