Mizzou celebrates opening of MU Materials Science & Engineering Institute

May 13, 2022

Group with ribbon

From left: Tom Spencer, Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development; Giovanna Guidoboni, Associate Dean for Research, Engineering; College of Arts & Science Dean Cooper Drury; Associate Professor Matt Maschmann; Professor Tommy Sewell; Tim Glass, Associate Dean for Research, Arts & Science; Engineering Dean Noah Manring; and University of Missouri President Mun Choi.

A new institute at Mizzou will advance collaboration around materials research and education across campus. University and College leaders celebrated the grand opening of the MU Materials Science & Engineering Institute (MUMSEI) at a symposium and ribbon cutting event on Friday.

The institute is a partnership between Mizzou Engineering and the College of Arts & Science and includes faculty from 10 academic departments. Matt Maschmann, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and Tommy Sewell, professor of chemistry, will co-direct MUMSEI.

“The study of materials intersects engineering, physics, chemistry, biology, and more,” Maschmann said. “We expect this institute to lead to numerous opportunities for joint projects and proposals as material development is of significant interest to government agencies and industries.”

Ultimately, the goal is to create smarter, safer and more efficient ways of living, said Sewell, who is also an adjunct instructor in mechanical and aerospace engineering.

“Material is in every aspect of our daily lives,” Sewell said. “We’re excited to explore ways in which we can analyze and develop materials that can be used to improve society.”

MUMSEI includes the new Materials Characterization and Fabrication facility – a clean room and lab space on the third floor of Lafferre Hall and houses cutting-edge equipment to fabricate and characterize the properties of diverse material systems. Adjacent to the MCF facility, materials researchers will share lab spaces to promote collaboration and build a cohesive materials community. Mizzou Engineering researchers will work with faculty from the chemistry, physics, biology and other sciences at Mizzou to investigate the design and application of high-performing materials through machine learning, atomistic simulations and other emerging technologies.

While MUMSEI will open new avenues of research, the study of materials has been a priority for the College of Engineering since it was incorporated 150 years ago, Dean Noah Manring noted during his remarks at Friday’s grand opening event.

“Our College is built on the very idea that our students would be prepared to work with sciences around the development of materials to advance society,” Manring said. “That was true in the 1870s when students were studying the best materials to use for roads and bridges. It was true in the 1950s when Mizzou researchers were investigating design of microwave absorbing materials. And it’s true today as we investigate the metamaterials and nanomaterials that will revolutionize the world as we know it.”

“To solve any meaningful problem, humans must collaborate with each other, and true problem solving — true research excellence requires transdisciplinary collaborations,” said Cooper Drury, Dean of the College of Arts & Science. “The Materials Science and Engineering Institute plots a course forward as A&S and Engineering have teamed up to position Mizzou as a premiere research institution in materials.”

World-renowned biomedical engineer John A. Rogers, director of the Querrey-Simpson Institute for Bioelectronics at Northwestern University, gave the keynote address during the symposium. Read more about Dr. Rogers here.