Honors and Awards

Polymer Science and Engineering’s Katsumata Wins Pair of Prestigious Awards

Reika Katsumata, professor of polymer science and engineering, has received two prestigious awards: the PRESTO Award from the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) and the 2022 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award.

Reika Katsumata
UMass Amherst assistant professor Reika Katsumata

The PRESTO award is one of the most prestigious awards for early-career researchers who are either Japanese citizens or residents. The award, which amounts to 52 million Japanese yen (or $360,000-$440,000, depending on the exchange rate) promotes unique and challenging basic research to address some of the important problems facing Japan.

Katsumata will use her PRESTO award to spend the next three-and-a-half years developing universal cross-linkers for network polymers that can be reprocessed with ultrasound-mediated bond exchange reactions.

“A material design that enables reprocessing network polymers, such as thermosetting resins, is one of the most crucial challenges in materials science for realizing a sustainable society,” says Katsumata, who specializes in the design of extremely confined soft/hard materials interfaces.

“However, conventional dynamic covalent bonds have not yet been applied to a wide range of materials because they require specific conditions for each system. I’m thrilled to take this challenge by leveraging unique chemistry and ultrasound.”

In addition, Katsumata has also received 3M’s Non-Tenured Faculty Award, which annually recognizes 20 outstanding early career faculty members from across the U.S. The awardees were nominated by 3M researchers based on their research accomplishments, experience and leadership in STEM.

Katsumata was chosen for her work in engineering interfacial stress via dynamic covalent bonds, with results that can be applied to “stress-free” functional coatings and smart extracellular matrices. The award provides an unrestricted fund of $45,000 over three years.