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Tripathy Fellows Recognized for Outstanding Research

Each Student Received Nearly $6,000 in Summer Stipend

UMass Lowell Image
Sethumadhavan Ravichandran, left, and Soumitra Satapathi.

By Edwin L. Aguirre

Two graduate students — Sethumadhavan Ravichandran and Soumitra Satapathi — have each been awarded the 2012 Tripathy Memorial Endowed Graduate Fellowship in honor of their academic accomplishments and multidisciplinary research in the areas of materials science and polymer science. Each award consists of nearly $6,000 in research stipend for the summer. 

Ravichandran, a Ph.D. candidate in the Chemistry Department’s Polymer Science Division, was cited for his work in using “green chemistry” to produce non-toxic, environmentally benign flame-retardant materials. His adviser is Asst. Prof. Ramaswamy Nagarajan of Plastics Engineering.

“I’m currently developing sustainable routes for creating non-halogenated flame retardants and conjugated polymers,” says Ravichandran, a native of Madurai, India. His work won a $75,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s People, Prosperity and the Planet (P3) program last year.

After he graduates, Ravichandran plans to work at Saint-Gobain North America’s R&D Center in Northboro, where he will conduct research on bonding agents for super abrasives. Saint-Gobain is a global company specializing in construction products and has more than 190,000 employees in 64 countries.

Satapathi, a Ph.D. candidate in Physics and Applied Physics, was recognized for his studies on semiconducting polymer nanoparticles for photovoltaic, sensing and imaging applications. His adviser is Prof. Jayant Kumar, director of UMass Lowell’s Center for Advanced Materials (CAM).

“These polymer nanoparticles can be used for generating electricity, for detecting trace explosives and for non-invasive bio-imaging of cancer cells,” says Satapathi, a native of Kolkata, India. 

“After I graduate, I plan to apply for a post-doc position and continue my research on the bio-imaging of cancer cells, which can help in the early screening for malignant cells or tumors so appropriate treatment, therapy or surgery can be implemented immediately,” he says.

Every year since 2003, the Tripathy Fellowship is given in memory of the late Sukant K. Tripathy, an internationally recognized leader and renowned researcher in materials science and the founding director of the Center for Advanced Materials. He was a professor of chemistry and also served as the University’s provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs.

For more information about the Tripathy Memorial Endowed Graduate Fellowship, visit the CAM website.