UW-Stevens Point: Researchers win international award in Mexico

Eleven chemistry students and a University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point researcher received an award for work in nanotechnology at the International Materials Research Congress in Cancun, Mexico.

Lori Lepak, a research associate in Professor Michael Zach’s Nanoresearch Laboratory, won the Best Poster Award in the Nanostructured Carbon Materials and Nanoelectronics session at the international congress that brings together major research universities and attracts high-tech companies looking for new and innovative technologies.

The undergraduate students who collaborated with Lepak and Zach on this research studied the manipulation of matter at extremely small sizes. Outcomes in the field include manufacturing microscopic devices and structures with applications in medicine, electronics and energy production.

“Lori has done a fantastic job at mentoring students, solving problems and communicating our results,” said Zach. “The entire team has done excellent work in this type of world-class research. Many of our students have great work ethics, but coming from small towns, they have never had the opportunity to contribute to science at an international level. It is also our hope to start a business with these new discoveries and bring high-tech jobs to Central Wisconsin.”

Lepak received her doctorate in physical chemistry from Cornell University. She has worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Chemistry since fall 2010.

The UW-Stevens Point undergraduate students who co-authored the research with Lepak and Zach include current students Katherine Ebensperger, Balsam Lake; Ruth Gervais, Athens; Samuel Hempel, Franklin; Anne Llinas, Marinette; Jeffrey Machovec, Waukesha; and Andrew Zimmerman, Fox Lake; and alumni Ephriam Daniels, ’11, Mindoro; Daniel A. Dissing, ’10, Stevens Point; Corina Grodek, ’12, Arbor Vitae; Dylan Jones, ’11, Schofield; and Julia Weber, ’12, Eagle River. Additional local authors include Alan Marten from Marten Machining in Stevens Point; Timea Hohl, a doctoral student researcher from Stevens Point; and David Seley, a former UW-Stevens Point postdoctoral student. Four scientists at the Argonne National Laboratory outside of Chicago were also co-authors.