Melissa Grunlan

2018 PMSE Chair

February 9, 2018

Fellow members of PMSE,

I would like to introduce myself as your 2018 Chair of the ACS Division of Polymeric Materials: Science & Engineering. I’m excited to serve in this role and be part of a fantastic team of other volunteers, including our officers, councilors and committee members. Together, we will continue to serve our community of polymer scientists and engineers and represent their interests to ACS. The PMSE Division was established in 1924 and has a legacy of service to its members; we will continue this mission together.

Currently, I am Professor and Holder of the Charles H. and Bettye Barclay Professorship in Engineering at Texas A&M University (College Station, TX) with appointments in Biomedical Engineering, Materials Science & Engineering and Chemistry. Since joining the faculty in 2005, I have led a research group that is focused on developing polymeric biomaterial platforms for medical devices having resistance to biological adhesion and for scaffolds useful in regenerative engineering. I have previously served PMSE in range of roles: member-at-large (’13-’14), Secretary (’14-’15), Vice Chair & Programming Chair (’16) and Chair-Elect (’17). I have also co-organized several national meeting PMSE symposia. So, I feel very “at home” with PMSE and am excited for this new role as Chair.

While PMSE’s history is deep, we are an organization that is committed to finding new ways to increase our service to our members. In a time when memberships in professional societies are generally on the decline, the PMSE leadership team is actively looking for ways to enhance to the professional careers of our members and the global vitality of the polymer science and engineering community. This passion is reflected in our mission, vision, and core strengths:


To provide a polymer-based forum for the exchange of technical information and foster interactions in materials science and engineering.


A community of polymer scientists and engineers equipped to solve global challenges.


  • Adaptive technical programming at the cutting-edge of polymer science and engineering
  • Access to global network of experts in polymer science and engineering
  • Dedication to the career development of all members

I would like to take moment to personally thank our past chair, Dr. Christopher Soles, for his dedicated service as your 2017 Chair. Chris was instrumental in bringing forth new benefits to our members in 2017. Through his efforts, our PMSE committee members, volunteers and with partnerships with other organizations, we have been recently able to provide some new benefits to our members. A few of these include:

New PMSE Website:

  • (Note: The former website will be retained as an archive.)
  • Contains news about our members, awards, meeting information, resources and more.
  • Joining or renewing your PMSE membership. We encourage you to keep your PMSE membership current – there is strength in numbers.

PMSE/POLY Student Chapters:

  • Chapters have been established at Case Western Reserve University, University of Minnesota (Twin Cities), University of Florida, University of South Carolina, University of Michigan and University of Southern Mississippi.
  • We hope to see more student chapters in 2018!

New Recognition for Student Members:

  • PMSE Global Outstanding Student Award in Polymer Science & Engineering: This award is supported by Chemical Marketing & Economics Topical Group of the ACS’s New York Section (CME) along with a company partner and recognizes outstanding students from around the world.
  • We continue to recognize our student members through various awards, including: Best Poster Awards, Graduate Student Travel Award, Eastman Chemical Student Award, and Henkel Award for Outstanding Graduate Research in Polymer Chemistry.

New Recognition for Professional Members:

  • PMSE Young Investigators: The 2017 PMSE Young Investigator Symposium, awarded the Innovative Project Grant, was held at the Spring National ACS Meeting. The 2017 Symposium was co-organized by Luis Campos (Columbia University) and Jeannette Garcia (IBM Research - Almaden) featured 24 international young scientists from academia, industry, and National Labs. The PMSE Young Investigator Committee (Campos and Garcia) will continue to lead annual efforts to recognize and support our young investigators.
  • ‘Chemistry of Materials’ Lectureship and Best Paper Award: This award is sponsored by the ACS journal Chemistry of Materials, in collaboration with the PMSE and Inorganic Chemistry Divisions. It recognizes the collaborative efforts of authors of an article published in the journal that year.
  • ‘Bioconjugate Chemistry’ Lectureship Award: This award is sponsored by the ACS journal Bioconjugate Chemistry. It recognizes outstanding researcher for important recent advances in interfacing synthetic and biological systems.
  • We continue to recognize our professional members through various awards, including: Arthur K. Doolittle Award, Cooperative Research Award, Distinguished Service Award, Journal of Polymer Science Award and Roy W. Tess Award. We also continue to have a new class of PMSE Fellows each year and also nominate individuals for consideration of ACS Fellow.

Robust Programming:

  • We have a great schedule of PMSE symposia lined up for national meetings: Spring in New Orleans (16 symposia!) and Fall in Boston (22 symposia!). We are proud to co-sponsor other divisional symposia as well.
  • In 2017, we were please to build our connections to groups in other parts of the world with the annual Joint Symposium on Frontiers in Polymer Science & Engineering with the Chinese Chemical Society Polymer Division (ACS-PMSE/CCS-PD) (held in China in 2017), Biomaterials Science and Translational Medicine symposium (held at the ACS national meeting in Washington, DC and co-sponsored by the Chinese Association of Biomaterials), and the Pan-American Polymer Science Conference with ACS Brazil Chapter (held in Brazil in 2017).

If you would like to propose a PMSE symposium for a national ACS meeting, please contact our Technical Programming Committee. The diversity of our committee members – from industry, academia and government – reflect that of our members and their interests. We encourage individuals from all sectors, including our foreign members, to organize PMSE symposia. PMSE is committed to making this a comfortable process by providing administrative help as well as financial support for selected symposia. From personal experience and feedback from fellow organizers, it is a rewarding experience!

The 2018 PMSE Technical Programming Committee members are:

PMSE is always interested in cultivating the next generation of leadership to move our Division forward. If you are interested in participating in our efforts and get involved, please do not hesitate to contact me or a member of our team. We would love to hear from you.

Finally, the PMSE leadership is passionate and dedicated to the service of our members. We welcome positive feedback and suggestions for improvement! As your 2018 Chair, I welcome you to contact me directly (; 979-845-2406) if you have suggestions on how we can better achieve our mission.


Melissa A. Grunlan

Texas A&M University
Department of Biomedical Engineering
Department of Materials Science & Engineering
Department of Chemistry
5030 Emerging Technologies Building
College Station, TX 77840-3120