University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering

Nicholas L. Abbott
April 12, 2019
Nicholas Abbott, NAE, Tisch University Professor, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Cornell University
Design of Soft Materials using Liquid Crystallinity

The unique combination of long-range molecular ordering and mobility found in liquid crystals has been exploited by nature to create a range of functional and living materials.  Inspired by biological designs, we are pursuing studies that seek to realize synthetic liquid crystalline materials that integrate ideas related to the engineering of strain and defects.  In one approach, we are exploring the use of elastic strain within liquid crystalline droplets to create dynamic templates that can be used to synthesize chemically patchy and non-spherical particles.  In a second approach, we have used the nanoscopic physical environments created by topological defects to direct the self-assembly of biological amphiphiles in ways that have strong analogies to polymer-templated self-assembly processes.  Such systems form the basis of new materials that permit ordering to propagate from the nanoscale to the optical scale with remarkable sensitivity.  In a third approach, we are using the anisotropic mechanical properties of biocompatible liquid crystals to design materials than can be used to regulate the organization and function of living bacterial systems.  These various lines of investigation, which encompass a broad range of supramolecular, colloidal and interfacial phenomena involving liquid crystals, will be discussed. Fundamental challenges and technological opportunities will be described.

Time: 10:30 am to 11:30 am
Location: Melcher Hall, Room 150

About Elizabeth D. Rockwell

Elizabeth D. Rockwell

A fourth generation Houstonian, Mrs. Rockwell was an Executive Director, Private Client Division of CIBC Oppenheimer Corp. She was widely recognized as an expert in retirement, estate, investment, and tax planning. She was an early proponent of the Keogh and IRA plans, for which she has been nationally recognized.

In 1991, she qualified to be a member of the Million Dollar Round Table as well as the Texas Leaders Round Table. Since 1990 she had authored a monthly column for the Houston Chronicle.

Mrs. Rockwell served as President of the UH College of Business Administration Foundation Board, as a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board, and was an Executive Professor for the college. She also served as a member of the advisory board of the Health Law and Policy Institute and as a Trustee of the University of Houston System’s Foundation, as well as a member of the UH System’s Planned Giving Council.

Mrs. Rockwell served on the Board of Governors for the Houston Forum, and as a Board member of the American Red Cross, the Greater Houston Women’s Foundation, the University of Houston Alumni Organization, and the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance. She was a member of the River Oaks Business Women’s Exchange Club, the National Tax Sheltered Annuity Association, the Texas Association of College Teachers, and the Houston Association of Life Underwriters.

Among her numerous honors, she has received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Houston, the Distinguished Alumna Award from the Houston Alumni Organization and from the UH College of Business Administration. Throughout the years she has been recognized for her many achievements by the Education Foundation of Harris County, the Houston Community College System’s Television Station Advisory Council, and the Houston Mayor’s READ Commission.

The Houston Alumni Center is home to the Elizabeth D. Rockwell President’s Suite. In September 1997, the Elizabeth D. Rockwell Career Services Center was opened in the UH College of Business Administration. She endowed the Chair for the Dean of the M.D. Anderson Library.

Mrs. Rockwell was listed in the Who’s Who in the South and Southwest; Who’s Who in finance and Industry; Who’s Who of American Women; and Who’s Who in the World.