Keynote Speakers

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Catherine J. Murphy

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Catherine J. Murphy (Larry R. Faulkner Endowed Chair in Chemistry and current Head of the Department of Chemistry) has pioneered the colloidal synthesis of shape-controlled gold and silver nanoparticles in aqueous solution. In the 5-100 nm size range, gold and silver exhibit brilliant shape-dependent optical properties that enable applications in chemical sensing, biological imaging, optical displays, enhanced energy conversion devices, mechanically improved polymer nanocomposites and photothermal therapy for thermal ablation of pathogenic cells. The spread of gold to so many technology sectors is in part due to Murphy’s work. Since 2001, her lab developed the seed-mediated growth method to synthesize these nanomaterials and has extensively studied their formation mechanisms, kinetics and surface chemistry. The seed-mediated growth approach is now widely adopted by the nanomaterials community as a way to control crystal growth on the nanoscale. Murphy’s team was among the first to popularize the notion of preferential adsorption of structure-directing agents to emerging crystal faces as a chemical mechanism for the anisotropic growth of nanomaterials. Murphy has broadened the areas of inquiry of nanomaterials to encompass many non-traditional areas (for chemists). Murphy’s team has demonstrated the first usage of these nanomaterials as “nano strain gauges” to optically measure deformation of soft matrices (2005, 2007), photothermal destruction of pathogenic bacteria (2008), the ability of nanomaterials to alter cell phenotype and behavior (2008-) and the influence of surface chemistry on cellular response (2014-), quantitative understanding of the mechanism of their apparent cytotoxicity (2009) and its mitigation (2009, 2010), the first result for engineered nanomaterial exposure to a whole ecosystem (2009), and that photothermal heating of plasmonic nanoparticles quantitatively alters their surface chemistry (2012-).


Murphy’s honors include the 2020 ACS Award in Inorganic Chemistry, the 2019 Remsen Award, the 2019 Linus Pauling Medal, the 2019 MRS Medal, the 2013 Carol Tyler Award of the International Precious Metals Institute, and the 2011 ACS Division of Inorganic Chemistry’s Inorganic Nanoscience Award. She has been named a Nanotech Briefs Nano 50 Innovator (2008), a Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar (1998), an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow (1997), a Cottrell Scholar of the Research Corporation (1996) and an NSF CAREER Award winner (1995). She is a Fellow of the American Chemical Society, the Materials Research Society, the Royal Society of Chemistry, and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She was ranked #32 in Thomson Reuters Sciencewatch List of “Top 100 Chemists for the Decade 2000-2010” and #10 on their list of “Top 100 Materials Scientists of the Decade 2000-2010.” In 2015, she was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and in April 2019, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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Prashant V. Kamat

University of Notre Dame

Prashant V. Kamat  is a Rev. John A. Zahm, C.S.C., Professor of Science in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Radiation Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame. He is also a Concurrent Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.  He earned his doctoral degree (1979) in Physical Chemistry from the Bombay University, and postdoctoral research at Boston University (1979-1981) and University of Texas at Austin (1981-1983).  He joined Notre Dame in 1983.


Professor Kamat has for more than three decades worked to build bridges between physical chemistry and material science to develop advanced nanomaterials that promise cleaner and more efficient light energy conversion. 

He has directed DOE funded solar photochemistry research for the past 35 years.  In addition to large multidisciplinary interdepartmental and research center programs, he has actively worked with industry-sponsored research. He has served on many national panels on nanotechnology and energy conversion processes.  He has published more than 500 scientific papers that have been well recognized by the scientific community (75000 citations, h-index 140 –Source Web of Science). Thomson-Reuters has featured him as one of the most cited researchers each year during 2014-2021.


He is currently serving as the founding Editor-in-Chief of ACS Energy Letters. He has also served as the deputy editor of the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters. He is a member of the advisory board of several scientific journals (Chemical Reviews, Journal of Colloid & Interface Science, ACS Applied Nanomaterials, NPG Asia Materials, Research on Chemical Intermediates, and Applied Electrochemistry).  He was awarded Honda-Fujishima Lectureship award by the Japanese Photochemical Society in 2006, CRSI medal by the Chemical Research Society of India in 2011 and Langmuir lectureship award in 2013. He is a Fellow of the Electrochemical Society (ECS), American Chemical Society (ACS) American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and Pravasi Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy.