Julia R. Greer, the Ruben F. and Donna Mettler Professor of Materials Science, Mechanics and Medical Engineering, has been named the Fletcher Jones Foundation Director of the Kavli Nanoscience Institute (KNI) at Caltech. Greer replaces professors Oskar Painter and Nai-Chang Yeh, who served together as co-directors. Greer's directorship begins October 1.
Since its inception in 2003, the KNI has been an intellectual hub and facilitator of cross-disciplinary research in the areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology, emphasizing nanoscale research at the frontiers of many applied sciences that include novel device fabrication, materials science, electronics, photonics, quantum matter, medical engineering, bioengineering, and sustainability.
"I am delighted to begin spearheading the wonderful enterprise of the KNI, humbly following the footsteps of my predecessors, professors Painter and Yeh. I have been a KNI member and on the board of directors since shortly after I arrived at Caltech," Greer says. "The Kavli Foundation has provided tremendous support for the Institute, and I have plans for its future that involve enabling and facilitating new research ideas that specifically emanate from students and the community across campus. It is my vision to integrate and to strengthen the relationship between the Kavli Nanoscience Institute, our campus partners, and the foundation even more during my directorship."
Greer's research is highly interdisciplinary and focuses on creating 3-D micro- and nano-architected materials using 3-D lithography, nanofabrication, and additive manufacturing techniques. Greer's group strives to uncover the synergy between the internal atomic-level microstructure and the nano-sized external dimensionality, where competing material- and structure-induced size effects drive overall response and govern these properties. The applications of her research span chemical and biological devices; ultralightweight energy-storage systems; damage-tolerant fabrics; additive manufacturing; and smart, multifunctional materials.
Her contributions have been recognized with numerous awards, including the American Association for Advances in Functional Materials (AAAFM) Heeger Award (2019), the Vannevar-Bush Faculty Fellowship (2016), being named one of CNN's 2020 Visionaries (2016), World Economic Forum's Young Global Leaders (2014), and her work was recognized as one of MIT Technology Review's Top 10 Emerging Technologies (2015).
Julia R. Greer received her undergraduate degree in chemical engineering (with a minor in music) from MIT, and her MS and PhD degrees in materials science and engineering from Stanford University. She joined the Caltech faculty in 2007. Greer is also an accomplished concert pianist.