Three MatSE grad students earn conference presentation award


Emily Jankauski

Grad students, from left, Chris Bean, Joonsu Han and Zhichu Tang are the Fall 2022 Conference Presentation award-winners.
Grad students, from left, Chris Bean, Joonsu Han and Zhichu Tang are the Fall 2022 Conference Presentation award-winners.

URBANA, Ill. — Our graduate program produces ambitious leaders. MatSE grad students Chris Bean, Joonsu Han and Zhichu Tang are leaders of the pack, having tacked their names to the list of recipients for the Fall 2022 Conference Presentation Award.

“There are many talented MatSE grad students, and it is often difficult to select (just a few),” said Chris Evans, MatSE associate professor and chair of the Graduate Awards Committee.

Each will receive $400 to provide them a means to present their research at prestigious scientific conferences.

Let’s catch up with the award recipients.


Chris Bean

Chris Bean will attend the 2023 annual TMS Meeting & Exhibition in San Diego, Calif. in March. Here he’ll present on achieving a better understanding of the behaviors and mechanisms happening within new additive manufacturing materials, also known as 3-D printed materials.

“This understanding will allow us to design and utilize more sustainable metal alloys and enhance the manufacturing process for new innovations,” said Bean, who’s thrilled to be provided this opportunity.

Joonsu Han

Joonsu Han attended the 2022 annual Biomedical Engineering Society Meeting in San Antonio, Texas earlier in October presenting his research on the metabolic glycoengineering, which enhances resistance of therapeutic proteins against degradation, from dendritic cells, or cells that branch out, to enhance a dendritic cell cancer vaccine.

“I hope you would not have any chance to experience my research in your future,” said Han, who was admittedly surprised by his selection for the award. “I hope that my research could be applied to various clinical cancer treatments to save many people’s lives who suffer from it.”

Han feels very “fortunate” and “grateful” to have received this award, and it’s reassuring him of his why behind all the work he’s poured into cancer research.

“Winning this award tells me the passion and expectations I had for this research are not only meaningful to me, but it’s also valuable to others who have been waiting for an improved approach to cancer treatment,” Han said. “Knowing that there are so many diseases that require the attention of researchers who investigate targeted treatment approaches, I will keep honing my research skills and expanding my interests to contribute to the field and patients throughout my academic journey.”

Zhichu Tang

Zhichu Tang presented at the 2022 annual Materials Research Society Meeting & Exhibition in Boston, Mass. earlier in December sharing his research on particle size and crystal structure engineering of cathodes for zinc-ion batteries, which predicts will be the “next-generation battery” after lithium-ion batteries are irrelevant.

“Zinc-ion batteries are safer, cheaper and have higher energy density than lithium-ion batteries,” Tang said. “Thus, they can better fit the energy demand of the electric devices in our daily lives.”

Tang was very “excited” to learn of his selection for the award, and he hopes it gives him the “confidence” and “motivation” to keep moving his research forward.