Plenary Speakers

The Executive Program Committee is pleased to present a Plenary session with lectures from Dr. Yi Cui, a Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Stanford University and a world-renowned scholar, and Dr. Maria McNamara, a paleobiologist and Senior Lecturer in Geology at University College Cork, Ireland.

Yi Cui, Ph.D.
Stanford University, Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Sciences and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

In-situ and Cryogenic Electron Microscopy for Energy Materials

Developing new energy materials for batteries, solar cells, catalysts and gas storage requires understanding their structural evolution across multiple length and time scale. Over the past 15 years, the Cui group has been developing a set of electron microscopy tools to realize this purpose including in-situ electrochemical cell, in-situ gas reaction, in-situ mechanical indentation and cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM). In this presentation, he will discuss how these advanced electron microscopy techniques impact energy materials.

Yi Cui is a Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Stanford University. He received B.S. in Chemistry in 1998 at the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), Ph.D in 2002 at Harvard University. After that, he went on to work as a Miller Postdoctoral Fellow at University of California, Berkeley. In 2005 he became an Assistant Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Stanford University. In 2010 he was promoted with tenure. He has published ~430 research papers and has an H-index of 185 (Google). In 2014, he was ranked NO.1 in Materials Science by Thomson Reuters as "The World's Most Influential Scientific Minds". He is a Fellow of Materials Research Society, Electrochemical Society and Royal Society of Chemistry. He is an Associate Editor of Nano Letters. He is a Co-Director of the Bay Area Photovoltaics Consortium and a Co-Director of Battery 500 Consortium. His selected awards include: Dan Maydan Prize in Nanoscience (2019), Nano Today Award (2019), Blavatnik National Laureate (2017), MRS Kavli Distinguished Lectureship in Nanoscience (2015), the Sloan Research Fellowship (2010), KAUST Investigator Award (2008), ONR Young Investigator Award (2008), Technology Review World Top Young Innovator Award (2004). He has founded three companies to commercialize technologies from his group: Amprius Inc., 4C Air Inc. and EEnovate Technology Inc.


Maria McNamara, Ph.D.
University College Cork, Ireland

Melanin through Deep Time: Experimental and Analytical Approaches to Decoding the Fossil Record of Melanin

Spectacular discoveries of evidence of melanin pigments in fossils over the last 12 years have driven the birth of a new field in palaeontology, i.e. that of fossil colour. But how do we know that we can trust the fossil evidence? In this seminar I will review current developments in this emerging field with examples from diverse vertebrates, highlighting key controversies and developments in analytical approaches, and how taphonomy — the process of fossil preservation — is key to interpreting evidence of colour in fossils.

Dr Maria McNamara is a palaeobiologist and Senior Lecturer in Geology based at University College Cork, Ireland. Her research is based on the application of analytical and experimental approaches to understanding the preservation of soft tissues in fossils, in order to constrain interpretations of fossil anatomy, chemistry, and taxonomy. She has particular interests in the evolution of animal coloration and of feathers. Recent research highlights include the discovery of tissue-specific chemical signatures for fossil melanosomes, of feathers in pterosaurs, and of near-modern avian skin structure in feathered dinosaurs and early birds.