Lauren Zarzar (second from right) receives her Talented 12 award at the American Chemical Society Fall 2019 National Meeting in San Diego. Credit: Linda Wang/C&EN
Lauren Zarzar, assistant professor of chemistry, has been recognized as one of the 2019 Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN) Talented 12. The Talented 12 program identifies and celebrates young chemists working in academia, industry, and government, who are just beginning to put their innovative and transformative ideas into practice. C&EN notes that “being recognized can serve as a launching pad for the Talented 12 to gain recognition for their ideas, find funding and collaborators, and become the leaders of the future.”
“I am incredibly excited to be selected for this honor along with such a brilliant group of young scientists,” said Zarzar, “C&EN has provided a platform for us to share our scientific passions with the greater chemistry and chemical engineering community, which is an amazing opportunity.”
Zarzar was nominated for her contributions to the areas of dynamic materials and her research accomplishments in materials chemistry. She received the award at this year’s Talented 12 symposium at the American Chemical Society Fall 2019 National Meeting in San Diego.
"We are delighted about this announcement," said Phil Bevilacqua, head of the Department of Chemistry and Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, "Lauren is an exceptionally creative scientist and this recognition for her work at the interface of chemistry and physics is richly deserved."
Zarzar’s research focuses on developing dynamic materials that sense and adapt to their surroundings. Her most recent discovery — a previously unrecognized mechanism for generating structural iridescent color — was featured on the cover of the journal Nature. Her research group has found ways to control complex fluids and emulsions to harness liquids as materials in new ways. Zarzar’s research in this area is supported by the National Science Foundation, Army Research Office, and the Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers.
Zarzar’s previous awards and honors include the Unilever Award from the Division of Colloid and Surface Chemistry of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in 2019; the Army Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (Army-ECASE), the Army Research Office Young Investigator Program Award (ARO-YIP), the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund Doctoral New Investigator (ACS-PRF), the 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award, and the Gladys Snyder Award from Penn State in 2018; and the Virginia S. and Philip L. Walker Jr. Faculty Fellowship from Penn State in 2016.
Prior to joining the faculty at Penn State, Zarzar was a postdoctoral researcher in chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 2013 to 2016 and a researcher in chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Tokyo in 2013. She earned a doctoral degree in chemistry at Harvard University in 2013 and bachelor's degrees in chemistry and in economics at the University of Pennsylvania in 2008.