Carnegie Mellon University
February 28, 2019

PPG Foundation Recognizes Two Chemistry Graduate Students with Prestigious Fellowship

By Ben Panko

The PPG Foundation has awarded two Department of Chemistry fifth-year Ph.D. students fellowships to support their research.

Anne Arnold, a member of Assistant Professor of Chemistry Stephanie Sydlik’s research group, and Sipei Li, a member of J.C. Warner University Professor of Natural Sciences Krzysztof Matyjaszewski’s polymer research group, were nominated by the Department of Chemistry for the fellowships, which came with $75,000 to be split among three fellows from the departments of chemistry and chemical engineering.

Arnold's research looks at modulating the properties of graphene and carbohydrate systems with polymers and small molecules to make them perform better. These systems can then be used for industrial and biomedical needs. Arnold has used them to help develop materials for metallosis treatment, hard and soft tissue regeneration and water dispersible adhesives.

"Since our lab is still relatively new, the fellowship played an important role in expanding our capabilities to progress our projects," Arnold said, by allowing them to purchase necessary laboratory equipment.

Li's research aims to improve the cycling performance of lithium metal batteries. "Metallic lithium has been regarded as the solution for next-generation high-energy lithium batteries," Li notes. Using polymer chemistry, he has been able to create a semi-liquid lithium metal composite anode that can work extremely well with solid electrolytes in advanced batteries.

With his funding from the PPG Foundation, Li will attend the Gordon Research Seminar on Nanomaterials for Applications in Energy Technology this month in California, and purchase chemicals and raw materials for his research.

“PPG considers Carnegie Mellon University to be world-class in several areas including chemical engineering, advanced energy technologies, autonomous systems and more,” said Mike Makowski, PPG's manager of new technology initiatives, specialty coatings and materials. Makowski serves as the liaison for PPG’s engagement programs with Carnegie Mellon. “We are proud to continue supporting the development of the next generation of chemists and engineers, who will create tomorrow’s innovative technologies.”