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Dahl named Regent Scholar for innovative faculty-student research

| Judy Berthiaume

Dr. Jennifer Dahl's nanoparticles research packs a one-two punch: It has the potential to lead to new business development in Wisconsin while at the same time providing opportunities of a lifetime to University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students.

In recognition for her innovative faculty-student research, Dahl recently was named one of the first five recipients of a Regent Scholar award by the Research, Economic Development, and Innovation (REDI) Committee of the UW System Board of Regents. Dahl received a $50,000 grant as part of the award. 

Dahl, an assistant professor of chemistry in the materials science program, received the Regent Scholar award for her project "Janus nanoparticles: A practical pathway toward functional materials for efficient photovoltaics, optical circuits, and nanomedicine." The project has implications for advances in solar cell technology, optoelectronics and anti-cancer treatments.

The Regent Scholar program was created to provide summer funding support for faculty to engage in research and other scholarly activities while stimulating innovation and industry outreach at UW System campuses.

"I'm very proud to represent UW-Eau Claire as a Regent Scholar, and I greatly appreciate the support this grant provides for the continued research opportunities for our students," Dahl said. "I believe undergraduate research is one of the most powerful tools for student learning, as it reinforces skills gained in the classroom while fostering innovation and creativity." 

Since joining the faculty in the UW-Eau Claire Materials Science Center 4½ years ago, Dahl has led teams of undergraduate students in her research projects. One of those students, materials science major Tayo Sanders III, has worked in Dahl's lab since his freshman year and in November was named a 2015 Rhodes Scholar. (See related story.)

Dahl published earlier results of the Janus nanoparticles work in 2014 with student co-authors Sanders and Mariah Sauceda, a 2014 chemistry graduate. Dahl expects to publish another study with her current student research team in 2015.  

Photo cutline: UW System President Ray Cross, left, and UW-Eau Claire Chancellor James Schmidt, right, present Dr. Jennifer Dahl, UW-Eau Claire assistant professor of materials science, with the Regent Scholar award.