Lauren Zarzar receives 2019 American Chemical Society Unilever Award

April 23, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Lauren Zarzar, assistant professor of chemistry at Penn State, was selected as the recipient of the 2019 Unilever Award by the Division of Colloid and Surface Chemistry of the American Chemical Society (ACS). Zarzar was nominated for the award by scientists across the nation in recognition of her pioneering work in harnessing complex fluids as responsive and active materials and driving emulsions into the forefront of adaptive optics and sensors.

The award recognizes and encourages fundamental work in colloid and surfactant science carried out in North America by researchers in the early stages of their careers. Awardees receive a $3000 prize and are invited to present a talk at the 93rd annual ACS Colloid and Surface Science Symposium held this year in Atlanta, Georgia, in June.

“It is really an honor to receive this award,” said Zarzar. “I’m looking forward to presenting my research at the Colloid and Surface Science Symposium this summer, which is a great platform to share our work with the community.”

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 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.

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Last Updated April 23, 2019