IME graduate student Viviana Palacio Betancur is a 2018 recipient of the prestigious French Eiffel Excellence Scholarship. The scholarship will support Viviana’s pursuit of a joint doctorate to be awarded by the Institute for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago and the Institut des Nano-Sciences de Paris (INSP) at the Universités Pierre et Marie Curie.
The Eiffel Excellence Scholarship Programme was established by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development to enable French higher education establishments to attract top foreign students to enroll in their master’s and PhD courses. Of the 1,584 applications examined this year, only 382 scholarships were granted to students from around the world.
Viviana’s research combines software development and the study of colloids assembly. She is implementing novel methods to simulate liquid crystals at the continuum scale, and improving the methods built in the de Pablo group in order to broaden the applicability to systems with anisotropic elasticity and complex geometries. She is also interested in colloids assembly at curved surface, and how the interplay of elasticity, anchoring, and geometry affect the stability of hierarchical structures.
Originally from Pereira, Colombia, Viviana studied at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia Sede Medellín where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering. Under the direction of Professor Hernández-Ortiz, she obtained her Master’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering studying the assembly of confined nanoparticles in nematic phases. She is now a PhD candidate in the research group of Professor Juan de Pablo.