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Christine Luscombe, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology

Newly Elected Member of the MRS Board of Directors

Christine LuscombeChristine Luscombe is currently a professor and Chair of the Faculty at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) in Okinawa, Japan. After receiving her BS degree in natural sciences from the University of Cambridge in 2000, she worked with Andrew Holmes and Wilhelm Huck in the Melville Laboratory of Polymer Synthesis at the University of Cambridge where her research focused on surface modifications using supercritical carbon dioxide for her PhD degree. She received the Syngenta Award for best organic chemistry project for her PhD. In January 2004, she joined Jean Fréchet at the University of California, Berkeley for her post-doctoral studies where she began her research on semiconducting polymers for organic photovoltaics. She was the recipient of the Lindemann Fellowship and the Trinity College Junior Research Fellowship (University of Cambridge) for her post-doctoral studies. 

In September 2006, she joined the Materials Science and Engineering Department at the University of Washington, Seattle. She received a number of young faculty awards including the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, DARPA Young Faculty Award, as well as the Sloan Research Fellowship. More recent awards include Society of Synthetic Organic Chemistry of Japan Lecture Award (2017), elected member of Washington State Academy of Sciences (2020), and Society of Polymer Science Japan Science Award (2022). Her current research focuses on the synthesis of semiconducting polymers for organic electronics with a particular focus on developing new methods to synthesize polymers, and developing polymers for stretchable electronics and mixed ionic/electronic conduction. She has published more than 140 papers in this area of research. In her academic leadership role, she served as the interim chair for the University of Washington Materials Science and Engineering Department during 2020-21, and in 2022 she was named Chair of the Faculty at OIST.  

She is currently serving on the editorial advisory boards for a number of journals including Chemical Reviews, Polymer International, Advanced Electronic Materials, American Chemical Society Applied Polymer Materials, Journal of Applied Physics, and Advanced Functional Materials. She is an associate editor for Macromolecules. Her involvement in other societies include being members of Materials Research Society, Royal Society of Chemistry, and ACS. She was also a former former associate editor for Journal of Materials Chemistry A. She has co-organized four symposia at MRS Meetings in the area of organic electronics. She is serving on the Board for the Society of Polymer Science, Japan, where she is responsible for increasing international outreach for the Society. She is also the President of the Polymer Division for IUPAC, which boasts more than 100 volunteers. The Division works on approximately 40 projects at any time, and she is responsible for overseeing all the projects. She is also currently serving as the Chair of all Division Presidents for the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry.

Candidate's Statement

I am honored to present myself as a candidate for the Board of the Materials Research Society (MRS). As a dedicated member of our scientific community, I am committed to advancing the mission and values of MRS, which include promoting interdisciplinary research and technological innovation in materials science to address the global challenges of our time. 


Looking ahead, I envision a future for the MRS that builds upon its strong foundation. My aspiration for the society is to further enhance its role as a global leader in communicating materials research and innovation through its meetings, publications, and virtual content. I believe that by fostering collaboration across disciplines and bridging the gap between academia and industry, we can accelerate the discovery and development of cutting-edge materials with transformative applications. The MRS meetings are an ideal place to promote these interactions. In terms of virtual content, I have contributed towards YouTube content for the IUPAC Polymer Division on the IUPAC YouTube Channel. While the IUPAC Channel does not boast anywhere near the followers the MRS Channel does, I hope that we can organize events such as video challenges to engage younger scientists. 

DEI Aspiration:

I am passionate about promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within the MRS. In the past, I have served as the PI for REU programs as well as being the Executive Director for Education and Outreach for the UW MRSEC. I am half Japanese and half British and grew up in Japan. I was often teased in Japan for being a “half” to which my mother would always argue that I was “double” because I could appreciate double the number of perspectives. Additionally, I spent 15 years in a Materials Science department while being a trained chemist. I truly believe that different perspectives can lead to greater discoveries. Our field, materials science, thrives on the contributions of scientists from diverse backgrounds and perspectives. By embracing DEI as a core value, we can create an inclusive environment that fosters creativity, innovation, and equal opportunities for all. I am committed to promoting diversity in membership, leadership, and the representation of underrepresented groups throughout the society. 

Why Vote for Me:

If elected to the Board, I will bring my leadership skills, my international experiences, and collaborative spirit to contribute meaningfully to the future of MRS. With my experience in interdisciplinary research and my network within the materials science community, I will actively foster collaborations to drive innovation and impact. Moreover, I am committed to amplifying the voices of early-career researchers and those from underrepresented groups to support their growth and success. 

Together, I believe that we can shape the future of MRS and propel the field of materials science to new heights.