Skip to Content

Update Your Alumni Directory Listing

Complete this form to update your information in the CBE Alumni Directory Listing or send us some current news! We'd love to know what you're up to and how you're doing.

The Nanomaterial Scientist - Alumni - University at Buffalo Skip to Content
Your alumni-powered global network

The Nanomaterial Scientist

Luisa Whittaker-Brooks. Photo: August Miller.

Luisa Whittaker-Brooks’ work with nanomaterials might one day power the planet.

Materials Girl

Nanomaterials—substances that measure a billionth of a meter (a sheet of paper is about 100,000 nanometers thick)—have been a hot topic among scientists for the past decade or so. They are also the main focus of Luisa Whittaker-Brooks’ (PhD ’11, MS ’09) research. Since 2013, her findings on these miniscule materials have helped her earn more than $100,000 in funding. Not bad for a scientist just a few years out of graduate school.

Whittaker-Brooks, 32, has been intrigued by chemistry since high school. A teacher in her native Panama recognized her as an exceptional student and encouraged her to pursue chemistry as a career. In 2007, the budding scientist came to UB as a Fulbright fellow; in 2011, she received the Materials Research Society’s highest award presented to graduate students. She also completed her master’s and her PhD within three and a half years.

For her doctoral research, Whittaker-Brooks studied vanadium oxide, an inorganic compound with intriguing properties when prepared as a nanomaterial. “The cool thing is, when you work on a nanoscale, you start seeing extraordinary properties you don’t see in bulk materials,” she explains. For example, bulk copper bends, copper nanoparticles don’t. This feature of nanomaterials opens up a wide range of applications for medical, electronic and other fields. It’s as if Whittaker-Brooks and other material chemists have a whole new periodic table to play with.

Excerpted from At Buffalo magazine. Read the full article.