Molly Stevens is currently professor in the departments of materials and bioengineering at Imperial College London and the research director for biomedical material sciences in the Institute of Biomedical Engineering.
She trained for her doctoral studies at Nottingham University at the laboratory of biophysics and surface analysis and was awarded the Ronald Belcher Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry. Following this she undertook a postdoc at MIT in the laboratories of Professor Robert Langer focussing on biomaterials development for musculoskeletal applications. In 2004, Molly joined the Department of Materials Imperial College as a lecturer (assistant professor) and became one of the youngest full professors in Imperial's history in 2008.
She is currently co-director of the UK Regenerative Medicine Platform Hub where her work and leadership focusses on biomaterials development for applications in cartilage and heart repair. She is also a co-director of the UK's Interdisciplinary Research Centre "i-Sense" in which she is developing materials-based biosensing utilising bio-inorganic nanoparticles for infectious disease detection in the developed and developing world.
Her research has been recognized by over 20 major awards, including the 2016 Clemson Award for Basic Research (US Society for Biomaterials), the Corday-Morgan Prize from the Royal Society of Chemistry and a listing in The Times as one of the top 10 scientists under 40 across all fields. She was recognised with the EU40 Award for materials scientists under 40 in Europe from The European Materials Research Society in 2012 and the 2009 Jean Leray Award from the European Society for Biomaterials. She is the only Fellow elected to all of the following 5 UK academics: Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng), Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (FRSC), Fellow of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (FIMMM), Fellow of the Society of Biology (FSB), and Fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (FRPharmS).
Stevens has been a very active contributor to the MRS every year since her postdoctoral training. She has organised multiple symposia in the area of self-assembly and nanomaterials for the MRS and delivered eight keynotes at both the Fall and Spring MRS Meetings and several keynotes (and a plenary lecture) at the European MRS in sessions ranging from bioelectronics to nanomaterials, self-assembly and tissue engineering. Her group's research has been presented in well over 50 co-authored presentations/posters at MRS. She has also served on the Program Development Subcommittee for MRS, co-chaired the 2014 MRS Spring Meeting and Exhibit in San Francisco and co-chaired the 2016 Spring European-MRS Meeting in France.
She is an enthusiastic supporter of the endeavours and goals of the MRS. More broadly she also contributes to the area of materials science in her roles as a reviewing editor for Science and an associate editor for ACS Nano. She is on the editorial boards of Advanced Materials, Biomaterials and Nanoscale, amongst several others. She takes an active role in scientific policy guidance, such as serving as a panel member of the Royal Society's 2015 Review of UK Research Councils and is actively involved in outreach including serving on the London Science Museum Advisory board. She has published over 200 peer-reviewed publications (with over 11,500 citations) including multiple in Science, Nature Materials, Nature Chemistry, Nature Nanotechnology, ACS Nano and Lancet and currently holds an h-index of 54.
Her research programme is extremely multidisciplinary with the goal of creating new biomaterials with a real impact on regenerative medicine, tissue engineering and biosensing.
The Materials Research Society is a fantastic society that brings together the materials community from across all branches of materials research. The multidisciplinary research within the MRS has broad impact across the healthcare, energy and transport fields, amongst numerous other fields. The MRS must continue to build on its achievements and further the standards of excellence it sets across these vital fields of research and innovation.
I have been actively involved in MRS since my postdoctoral training. My first keynote at a major international meeting was at the MRS, as was my first chairing of a symposium. I co-chaired the MRS Spring Meeting in San Francisco in 2014 as well as the E-MRS in France in 2016. I attend the MRS conference every year and always have a number of my research group contributing to the meetings each year as well. Our research focusses on biomaterials innovations for regenerative medicine and biosensing as well as key contributions to the development of materials analysis techniques. The meeting has the high quality of science that we strive for as well as a broad remit that suits well the multidisciplinary background in my group. The broad remit of MRS in capturing the spectrum of exciting research in the field is one of its strengths and benefits from being coupled with an active and ongoing review of the meeting content so that it will always capture latest in field developments.
It is vital for the MRS to maintain a position as a leading globally-inclusive organisation that focusses on excellence and innovation. The MRS already makes significant efforts in promoting diversity in gender and geography within the programme building through active encouragement of balanced symposium organiser teams. We must build on this work to ensure that the society is welcoming and supportive to all branches of materials science and that the society has the highest possible visibility internationally. Having worked in the US (at MIT) and being currently based in Europe I would be excited to help explore further international links for the MRS. Excellence is central to MRS’s mission and must continue to be so. MRS is well placed as a society to help catapult materials research that can contribute to solving the World’s Global Challenges. Opportunities must be sought to highlight to the community, both through the Society meetings and MRS publications, any emerging global challenges where materials science may be able to make a real difference. Innovation—both in fundamental research, application and in teaching—must also be central to the MRS’s remit. Active engagement with key stakeholders in industry, government, other organisations such as charities, as well as with healthcare professionals, is important in order to capitalise on the relevance of materials applications to these important sectors. Finally, the MRS’s role in public engagement and education in the scientists of tomorrow should be celebrated. The way science is viewed outside of science is important and the MRS must embrace developments in science engagement to place the organisation at the forefront of the exciting buzz in this area. I believe that the MRS board currently has a crucial role to play in all of these areas and must be dynamic and forward-thinking in order to embrace the many opportunities to keep our Society at the forefront of a changing science landscape.