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News Archive

Current and previous happenings in the Butler Polymer Research Laboratory


UF Startup Oboro Labs, Inc. to commercialize catalyst for cyclic polymers developed in the Veige Research Group.

Oboro Labs, Inc., a recent UF startup, is advancing the commercialization of a patented catalyst developed for large-scale production of cyclic polymers. This innovation, originating from research group of Adam Veige within the Butler Laboratory has the potential to transform the production of cyclic polymers and impact the delivery of various products used around the world.

For more information, see the UF News link and the Oboro Labs website.

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Brent Sumerlin Receives the 2024 Mark Scholar Award

Prof. Brent Sumerlin winner of the 2024 Mark Scholar Award

Prof. Sumerlin has been selected for the 2024 Mark Scholar Award, recognizing excellence in basic or applied research and leadership in polymer science, and will be honored at the Fall 2024 ACS National Meeting.

The Mark Scholar Awards are administered by the POLY division of the ACS. The award is presented biennially at the fall ACS National meeting (even years) during the POLY/PMSE award program.

Click here for the official ACS post recognizing Dr. Sumerlin as the 2024 Mark Scholar


Wagener Group Alumnae Pascale Atallah Recognized as a 2023 Gator 40 under 40

Pascale, originally from Lebanon, faced limited opportunities for women in her upbringing. However, she was determined to change her story. She pursued a master's degree in chemical engineering in France and fulfilled her childhood dream of earning a Ph.D. in the United States.


In 2008, Pascale moved to the U.S. to join the Butler Laboratory as part of the Wagener Research Group. After completing her chemistry doctorate, she joined Chevron Phillips Chemical (CPChem) as a polymer scientist in 2014, where she currently holds the role of Product and Social Sustainability Manager. Her responsibilities include integrating the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals into the business, evaluating societal impact and product value, and shaping CPChem's social responsibility strategy.


Pascale also actively contributes to CPChem's diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts, leveraging her diverse background and passion. As a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) through the World Coaching Institute, she supports and mentors women and young girls in STEM, utilizing her expertise and certification.

For these reasons and more, Pascale was recognized at the UF 40 Under 40 ceremony in 2023.

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Rachel O'Reilly Delivers the 2023 Butler Polymer Lectureship Series

Prof. Rachel O'Reilly, Head of School and Professor of Polymer Chemistry at the University of Birmingham, will present the 2023 Butler Polymer Lectureship Series. 

Originally from Northern Ireland, Prof. O'Reilly received  her first degree from the University of Cambridge before completing her PhD at Imperial College, London working with Prof. Vernon C. Gibson. She then completed her postdoctoral research experience under the joint direction of Profs. Craig J. Hawker (IBM Almaden) and Karen L. Wooley (Washington University in Saint Louis). Her independent career began at the University of Cambridge as a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellow before moving to the University of Warwick where she was promoted to full Professor. In 2018 she took up the position of Chair and Head of School in the Chemistry Department at the University of Birmingham.

Prof. O'Reily was named a fellow of the Royal Society in 2022 and is widely recognized for her research at the interfaces of polymer, organic, and biological chemistry. She has received numerous awards from the American Chemical Society, the Royal Society of Chemistry, and the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry.

For more information, see her research group website here.

The lectureship schedule is available here.


Angie Korpusik receives the Butler Polymer Research Award!


Angie Korpusik (Sumerlin group) is the recipient of the 2022 Butler Polymer Research Award. Professor George & Josephine Butler established this award to recognize excellence in graduate student research and education related to polymer chemistry. Candidates are selected from all Department of Chemistry PhD students carrying out their research in polymer chemistry.

Evans Research Group joins the Butler Laboratory

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Austin M. Evans has recently joined the Butler Polymer Lab as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry. His research will be focused on controlling macromolecular structure over many length scales, which has implications in thermal conduction, electrical conductivity, and organic spintronic phenomena. Follow this link to learn more about the Evans Group.  


Swagata Mondal receives 2022 Eastman Fellowship in Analytical Chemistry

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Swagata Mondal of the Sumerlin Group has been named a recipient of the 2022 Eastman Fellowship in Analytical Chemistry for her work in the area of Janus H-bonded dynamic polymer materials. Find our more about her research here.

Angie Korpusik receives Tarrant Summer Graduate Research Fellowship


Angie Korpusik of the Sumerlin Group was named a recipient of the Tarrant Summer Graduate Research Fellowship, created by University of Florida Professor Emeritus Paul Tarrant. To learn more information on the Tarrant Fellowship program and Angie's recent research, follow the links here and here, respectively.


Ken Wagener Receives 2021 ACS Award in Polymer Chemistry

Ken Wagener was awarded the 2021 ACS Award in Polymer Chemistry for his significant contributions in both industry and academia, including pioneering the acyclic diene metathesis polymerization, which launched an entirely new field of synthetic polymer chemistry (Chemical & Engineering News, January 4, 2021). 

At UF, Prof. George Butler (founder of the Butler Polymer Research Laboratory) previously received this award. Other notable recipients of the award from the Butler Polymer Research Laboratory are UF Chemistry graduate and Nobel Laureate Bob Grubbs (1995) and Kris Matyjaszewski (2002), who was a former polymer postdoc with Dr. Butler.


Coray Colina Receives Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award to Mexico for a Research/Teaching Appointment

The U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board are pleased to announce that Coray Colina of the University of Florida has received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award to Mexico. Colina will research/lecture at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico as part of a project to perform research on Molecular Chimeras for Opioid Receptor Modulators.

As a Fulbright Scholar alumnus, Dr. Colina's career will be enriched by joining a network of thousands of esteemed scholars, many of whom are leaders in their fields. Fulbright alumni include 60 Nobel Prize laureates, 86 Pulitzer Prize recipients, and 37 who have served as a head of state or government.


Congratulations to Sofia Goodrich for winning the 2021 Butler Polymer Research Award!


Professor George & Josephine Butler established this award to recognize excellence in graduate student research and education related to polymer chemistry. Competition for the award is quite strong and extends beyond The Butler Polymer Research Laboratory. Candidates are selected from all Department of Chemistry PhD students carrying out their research in polymer chemistry.


Congratulations to Dr. Wagener on being awarded the Tosoh Lifetime Achievement Award!

Dr. Wagener's outstanding work and dedication to the development of polymer chemistry has been recognized with the Tosho Lifetime Achievement Award. His decades of contributions to the development of the field of polymer science and leadership make Prof. Wagener an ideal recipient for this award.



The Veige Group has developed the first synthesis of cyclic polyacetylene.  Linear polyacetylene, first discovered in 1958, resulted in a Nobel prize in 2000 and was responsible for the explosion in research in semiconducting polymers. The cyclic polymers developed at UF have a ring-like structure that was confirmed by atomic force microscopy and can be produced much more quickly than the traditional route used to prepare the linear counterparts.


“Just making it so efficiently is a huge advantage,” Veige said. “It opens up a whole new world of testing its bulk-scale properties.”


These materials present exciting possibilities for flexible electronic devices such as wired clothing, display screens or even artificial skin that can receive electrical impulses.


The results of this research, part of a collaboration between the Butler Lab groups of Veige and Sumerlin, were published in Nature Chemistry and sponsored by the National Science Foundation.


Read the full report here.

2021 V.T. And Louise Jackson Summer Fellowship


The department is pleased to announce the recipients of
the 2021 V.T. and Louise Jackson Summer Fellowship.

Angie Korpusik received her Bachelor’s Degree from University of California, Berkeley and is a member of Professor Brent Sumerlin’s research group. Her research focuses on using polymerization-induced self-assembly to construct nanostructures for drug delivery.

In 2002, The Betty J. & J. Stanley Livingstone Charitable Foundation established this fund as part of the V.T. and Louise Jackson Chemistry Endowment. Vestus Twiggs “V.T.” and Louise Jackson were the parents of Betty Livingstone. Originally from Georgia, V.T. earned his
doctorate from the University of Chicago. At the University of Florida, he was a pioneer faculty member of the Department of Chemistry and taught general chemistry from 1924 until his death in 1951. Specializing in physical inorganic chemistry, he did research in Spanish moss and sodium carbonate reactions. Betty was also a chemist
and the Livingstones founded Livingstone Coating Corp. where Betty developed successful applications of Teflon and other industrial coatings in various industries. The Foundation was funded after her death in 1986 and the UF endowment honors both Betty and her parents.


2021 Dr. Howard and Brenda Sheridan Summer Fellowship

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The department is pleased to announce the recipients of
the Dr. Howard and Brenda Sheridan Summer Fellowship awards.

Vineet Jakhar received his Master’s Degree from National Institute of Science Education and Research and is a member of Professor Adam Viege’s group. His research focuses on synthesizing tethered tungsten-alkylidenes for the synthesis of cyclic polymers, in particular cyclic polynorbornene.

This fund was established in 2008 by Howard M. Sheridan, M.D. and Brenda Sheridan.  Dr. Sheridan earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Florida in 1965 and Brenda a degree in Journalism.  Both went on to have very successful careers and Howard and Brenda have been long-time friends and supporters of our department, their generosity extending back to 1981. As one of our most successful alumni, we are extremely fortunate that Howard and Brenda have again and again made the choice to give back to the Department and the University. Dr. Sheridan has been a member of the Department of Chemistry’s  Leadership Board since 2011, when it was established.  The fellowship recipients are pictured with their favorite  photograph from a collection of his nature photographs
contained within the Sheridan Auditorium in the new  Chemistry and Chemical Biology Building.

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The W. M. Jones Award for Originality and Creativity was endowed by Emeritus Professor William (“Bill”) M. Jones and each year acknowledges an original research proposal idea of a graduate student in the Organic, Inorganic, or  Biochemistry Division. The award is judged based on three criteria: originality and impact of the scientific idea, quality and clarity of a short written document, and quality and format of an oral presentation/defense. The Award Committee is pleased to announce Lily Diodati and Subhradeep Dutta as the winners of the 2021 W. M. Jones Award for Originality and Creativity. Congratulations Lily and Subhradeep!

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Brent Sumerlin Receives the 2020-2021 Faculty Doctoral Mentoring Award

The UF Graduate School's annual Faculty Doctoral Mentoring Award encourages and rewards excellence, innovation and effectiveness in mentoring doctoral and Master of Fine Arts students through their final dissertation or fine arts thesis project. Nominations for the award come from current graduate students, graduate alumni, faculty members, graduate coordinators, department chairs, school directors, college deans and higher-level administrators. Each year, the award gives $3,000 to approximately five faculty members, with an additional $1,000 deposited into each winner's department account for use in supporting doctoral or Master of Fine Arts students.


Georg Scheutz Receives the 2019 Eastman Summer Fellowship

The 2019 Eastman Summer Fellowship in synthetic chemistry was awarded to Georg Scheutz, a 4th year graduate student in the Sumerlin Research Group. Before starting his PhD at UF in 2015, Georg was a student at the Vienna University of Technology where he received his BS in 2014. In his research, Georg focuses on the use of amphiphilic polymer assemblies for the generation of novel stimuli-responsive materials.


Dr. Pascale Atallah, Polymer Scientist, was awarded two honors in February for her leadership and service.

First, the Bartlesville Chamber of Commerce honored her at the Celebration of Women in Business event. Dr. Atallah was among five women honored in various areas of leadership: corporate, non-profit, behind-the-scenes, mentorship and inspirational. Dr. Atallah was honored with the Inspirational Leader award. According to the Chamber, the Inspirational Leader award honors a woman leader who, through her words, actions, and attitude inspires those who work with and around her. As they presented the award to Dr. Atallah, chamber members described her as a trailblazer for others as she empowers women through her own strength.

Dr. Atallah also received the Tex Richardson Award for exemplary service presented jointly by the Tulsa Engineering Foundation, the Oklahoma Engineering Foundation, and with cooperation of the Construction Specification Institute. These awards recognize outstanding achievement and service in engineering and science guidance activities in the State of Oklahoma.

These awards support Pascale's mission to empower and mentor women in Science to find balance between their head and their heart and develop their personal values as they thrive in a highly analytical and male dominated field.


Michael Sims wins Best Oral Presentation award at National ACS Meeting

Congratulations to Michael Sims for winning a Best Oral Presentation award in the Excellence in Graduate Polymer Research Symposium at the 257th ACS National Meeting. This annual symposium recognizes outstanding graduate research in polymer science and engineering, and Michael was one of only two recognized talks out of a symposium featuring 28 students.

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Dr. Hong Li has received the First Place Award in the "Young Professional Business Case Competition" in PPG Industries

This competition is sponsored by PPG's Pittsburgh Area Young Professional Organization (YPO) and is an annual event. With an assigned topic, each team spent 5 months researching new business opportunities, seeking ways for the company to grow. A panel of Senior Leadership PPG executives made the decision regarding the winner (Hong).

Dr. Hong Li received his Ph.D. in Organic & Polymer Chemistry in the Wagener Group in December, 2016 after contributing extensively to numerous activities within the Butler Polymer Research Laboratory. He then immediately started his career as a Research Chemist at PPG Industries. Just recently he was promoted to Senior Research Chemist, a promotion coming in two short years.. We wish Hong the best as his career continues to develop.

Congratulations to Dr. Sam Popwell on receiving the 2018 Johnson Medal for Research & Development

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Twenty-three outstanding "Champions of Science" from four R&D teams were honored during the 41st Johnson Medal award ceremony on November 6, 2018, for advancing groundbreaking innovations that are making a difference for Johnson & Johnson patients and consumers. Dr. Popwell was part of a team of scientists at J&J Vision recognized for developing ACUVUE OASYS 1-DAY with HydraLuxe Technology contact lens. This team has worked to provide more than one billion people around the world with superior comfort and sharper vision and has set a new standard for the entire contact lens category.

Dr. Popwell received his Master's in Chemistry ('09) and PhD in Materials Science Engineering ('12) in the Wagener and Batich Groups and contributed to research in the Butler Labs. He is currently a staff scientist for research and development at Johnson & Johnson Vision in Jacksonville, Florida.


Georg Scheutz of the Sumerlin Group Wins Award for Research Proposal

Congratulations to Georg Scheutz of the Sumerlin Group for being one of the winners of the W. M. Jones Award for Originality and Creativity.

Congratulations to Dr. Donovan L. Thompson for being inducted into Georgia Southern University 40 Under 40 Class of 2018


Out of 120,000 living alumni, nearly 50,000 are under 40 years old. 40 Under 40 honorees not only represent the excellence of the University’s young alumni but also demonstrate the positive contributions and remarkable achievements for which Georgia Southern and Armstrong graduates are known.

Dr. Thompson received his Master’s and Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry in the Wagener Group, and contributed to the research at Butler Labs. He is currently continuing his work as a Senior Researcher at Nouryon Chemicals in Bridgewater, NJ and has two patents and five publications.


Jeremy Swartz from the Sumerlin Group wins NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Congratulations to Jeremy Swartz of the Sumerlin Research Group for being awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Jeremy graduates from UF in May and will begin his PhD studies at Northwestern University in the fall of 2018.

Dr. Wagener recognized for outstanding contributions to polymer science


Congratulations to Dr. Wagener for receiving the 2018 CLAS Faculty Achievement Award and 2019 Tosoh Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions in the field!


Professor Adam Veige wins JSPS Fellowship

Congratulations to Adam Veige for winning the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Fellowship for research in Japan! Dr. Veige, who has also been recently named a UFRF Professor, will travel to Japan and spend 18 days visiting various institutions.


The Savin Research Group presented four posters and two talks at the UF SMARTS symposium. Congratulations to Ian Smith for getting Second Prize for Best Talk!


Professor Castellano receives SEC Faculty Travel grant

Congratulations to Dr. Ron Castellano for receiving the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Travel Grant! Dr. Castellano will be hosted by the University of Kentucky.

Colina Group's pySIMM reaches 3000 downloads


pySIMM, a Python package built by Dr. Colina's research group, has been downloaded over 3000 times! pySIMM is a Python simulation interface for molecular modeling. 


The recent work by Nick Carmean, Troy Becker, and Michael Sims in the Sumerlin Group has shown that ultra-high molecular weight polymers can be prepared by photopolymerization of vinyl monomers in the presence of thiocarbonylthio compounds. The polymerizations occur in water, employ simple and inexpensive photoreactors, and yield well-defined homopolymers and block copolymers with ultra-high molecular weights (more than 8 million g/mol).

CRC Press publishes book edited by Prof. Coray Colina


Congratulations to Dr. Colina, one of three editors of Introduction to Scientific and Technical Computing, recently published by CRC Press. This book aims to help students and engineers write computer code for their research projects.

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