Pena-Francesch receives Penn State Alumni Association Dissertation Award

04/24/2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Abdon Pena-Francesch, doctoral candidate in engineering science and mechanics, recently received the Penn State Alumni Association Dissertation Award from the Penn State Graduate School.

The award, which recognizes outstanding achievement in scholarship and professional accomplishment, is considered to be among the most prestigious available to Penn State graduate students. It provides $5,000 in funding to full-time research doctorate students who have passed their comprehensive examinations and have received approval of their dissertation topic.

A member of the research group led by Melik Demirel, professor of engineering science and mechanics and director of the Center for Research on Advanced Fiber Technologies, Pena-Francesch received the award for his dissertation titled “Squid-inspired biomimetic elastomers: self-assembling and self-healing protein materials.”

Pena-Francesch’s research focuses on structural proteins inspired in cephalopods, and the engineering of protein materials with programmable thermal, mechanical, optical and conducting properties. His work in biomimetics has led to the development of bioadhesives and self-healing materials with applications in biomedicine and bioelectronics.

“Research isn’t always easy—it requires a tremendous amount of dedication, focus, patience and commitment—and it’s often about survival,” said Demirel. “Abdon has not only survived the trials and tribulations of research, but he has thrived in the lab. His discoveries, advancements and forward thinking in biomimetics are impressive and leave no doubt that he will accomplish much in his career.”   

Pena-Francesch has first-authored and co-authored 12 journal publications and his research papers have been highlighted by the American Institute of Physics, CNBC News and the Washington post, among others. Four of his research works on biomimetic materials have also been featured as front cover images on Nature Biotechnology, Advanced Functional Materials, Analyst and Carbon journals.

Twelve additional graduate students received the Penn State Alumni Association Dissertation Award and were honored during the Graduate Student Awards Luncheon held on April 18.

 

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MEDIA CONTACT:

Chris Spallino

cjs53@psu.edu

Abdon Pena-Francesch, doctoral candidate in engineering science and mechanics

Abdon Pena-Francesch, doctoral candidate in engineering science and mechanics

Abdon Pena-Francesch squid proteins

"His discoveries, advancements and forward thinking in biomimetics are impressive and leave no doubt that he will accomplish much in his career,” said Demirel.

 
 

About

The Penn State Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics (ESM) is an internationally distinguished department that is recognized for its globally competitive excellence in engineering and scientific accomplishments, research, and educational leadership.

Our Engineering Science program is the official undergraduate honors program of the College of Engineering, attracting the University’s brightest engineering students. We also offer graduate degrees in ESM, engineering mechanics, engineering at the nano-scale, and an integrated undergraduate/graduate program.

Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics

212 Earth and Engineering Sciences Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-4523