Polymer Science and Engineering’s Katsumata Wins Two Prestigious Awards: UMass Amherst

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Reika Katsumata, Professor of Polymer Science and Engineering, has received two prestigious awards: the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) PRESTO Award and the 2022 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award.

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Reika Katsumata, assistant professor at UMass Amherst

The PRESTO Award is one of the most prestigious awards for early career scholars who are Japanese citizens or residents. The prize, which is 40 million Japanese yen (or $280,000 to $340,000, depending on the exchange rate) promotes unique and challenging fundamental research to solve some of the important problems facing Japan.

Katsumata will use his PRESTO award to spend the next three and a half years developing universal crosslinking agents for network polymers that can be reprocessed with ultrasonic bond exchange reactions.

“Material design that allows networked polymers, such as thermosetting resins, to be reprocessed, is one of the most critical challenges in materials science for realizing a sustainable society,” says Katsumata, who specializes in design extremely confined soft/hard material interfaces.

“However, conventional dynamic covalent bonds have not yet been applied to a wide range of materials because they require specific conditions for each system. I am excited to take on this challenge by taking advantage of unique chemistry and ultrasound.

In addition, Katsumata has also received 3M’s Non-Tenuous Faculty Award, which annually recognizes 20 outstanding early-career faculty members across the United States. The winners were nominated by 3M researchers based on their research achievements, experience and leadership in STEM.

Katsumata was chosen for her work on engineering interfacial stresses via dynamic covalent bonds, with results that can be applied to “stress-free” functional coatings and smart extracellular matrices. The award provides an unrestricted fund of $45,000 over three years.


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