About MRS

Publishing Alliance

MRS publishes with Springer Nature


Eric A. Stach, University of Pennsylvania

Newly Elected MRS Vice President

Paul DrzaicEric A. Stach is the Robert D. Bent Professor of Engineering in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania.

He received his PhD degree in materials science and engineering from the University of Virginia in 1998. A significant portion of this work was conducted at the IBM Watson Research Center, through the support of an IBM Cooperative Fellowship. Thereafter, he joined the National Center for Electron Microscopy at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory as a staff scientist and became the Program Leader for the Metals Program in 2003. In 2004, he joined the School of Materials Engineering at Purdue University as an associate professor and was promoted to full professor in 2010. He became a group leader for the Electron Microscopy Group at the Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Center for Functional Nanomaterials, a Department of Energy National User Facility, until his move to the University of Pennsylvania in 2017. At Penn, he directs the Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter, a National Science Foundation-sponsored Materials Research Science and Engineering Center and co-directs Penn’s Partnership for Education and Research in Materials with the University of Puerto Rico. Stach is also the Chief Technology Officer for Hummingbird Scientific, which he co-founded in 2004. This company produces advanced instrumentation for electron, ion, and x-ray microscopy and employs 20 scientists, engineers, and manufacturing specialists. He is also a co-founder of Agni Semiconductor, developing novel semiconductors based on ferroelectric and 2D materials. 

Materials Research Society has been Stach’s primary professional society since his graduate studies and he has attended nearly every meeting since Fall 1996. He has organized many different symposia over the years (regarding heteroepitaxial growth, electron microscopy, mechanical properties, and nanostructure synthesis), edited two volumes for the MRS Bulletin on in-situ microscopy, and was a Co-chair for the 2012 Fall Meeting. He also served on the MRS Board of Directors from 2013-15 and was Board Secretary from 2017-19. His company has also been an exhibitor at the MRS Meetings for nearly two decades.

Stach’s research efforts focus on developing and applying electron and ion microscopy techniques in a broad class of materials research, with the typical approach being the exploitation of real-time methods to provide quantitative data regarding materials phenomena. These efforts have focused on such diverse topics as thin film strain relaxation and grain growth, nanoindentation, carbon nanotube and semiconductor nanowire nucleation and growth, novel carbon structures, nanocrystal synthesis for photovoltaics, understanding energy storage materials, and fundamental catalysis studies.  

Candidate's Statement

The Materials Research Society has been my ‘home’ for all of my career as a scientist and educator. My first presentation was at a Fall Meeting, and since then, I’ve been an active and engaged member of the Society. I care deeply about MRS and its mission to advance interdisciplinary materials research and technology and would welcome the opportunity to serve you in this role. I have a range of professional experience spanning academia, industry and national labs, giving me a broad experience base to represent the larger MRS community.

MRS has been an extremely successful society, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Its success has resulted from delivering value to its members via outstanding meetings, impactful publications, opportunities for career growth, advocating for science broadly, and a long-standing commitment to diversifying and broadening participation in its membership.

However, each of these activities faces, and will continue to face challenges in the coming years. The pandemic strained aspects of the business model (though prior strong financial stewardship gave the Society enabled it to come through the other side with continued financial stability). MRS will need to be deliberate in embracing virtual programming to expand its outreach to the worldwide Materials community while maintaining its excellent, signature in-person meetings. Publications is also going through changes, with increasing requirements for open access and open data, the opportunities and perils of artificial intelligence, and strains regarding peer review and journal proliferation broadly. We will also need to continue our strong advocacy for advancing and funding both fundamental and applied science and be a part of the conversation regarding potential governmental restrictions on our ability to collaborate and advance knowledge with our colleagues around the world. Finally, at least in the US, there are new challenges associated with our community’s ability to broader participation in the scientific enterprise due to recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court. MRS must consider how it can help its stakeholders in this changing environment. 

During my three years on the Board (VP, Pres., Past Pres.) I will make sure that we keep our eye on these issues, and others that arise. The Presidential Line sets the Board agenda during our tri-annual meetings, and ensures that MRS Staff and Volunteers are aligned with Board decisions. My prior term as MRS Secretary, and the diversity of my professional experience, will allow me to effectively represent you, and make MRS an even stronger and more valuable entity.