McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Stefanie Sydlik, PhD, has been selected by the World Economic Forum (WEF) as part of the 2020 Community of Young Scientists.

Dr. Sydlik, an assistant professor of chemistry at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), joins the forum’s Young Scientists community, which recognizes scientific rising stars under the age of 40 who are pursuing high-impact research.

Created in 2008, the Young Scientists community engages researchers from a variety of disciplines and geographies to integrate scientific knowledge into society for the public good.

Dr. Sydlik, a 2007 Mellon College of Science (MCS) graduate, synthesizes innovative new polymers for biological uses. By modifying graphite with calcium phosphate, for example, her lab has been able to turn the material found in pencil lead into a scaffold that can be used to help heal traumatic bone injuries and then naturally degrade away. In a similar vein, her lab has also worked to develop additives for medical adhesives that can allow those adhesives to carry small-molecule drugs such as analgesics for pain or anti-inflammatories.

“I’m really excited to be involved in this global network and to be in a group where we can talk about the big problems and affect policy going forward,” Dr. Sydlik said of the honor. In particular, she said she’s hoping to engage with non-scientists from around the world and learn about the problems they hope scientists will work to solve.

One particular issue Dr. Sydlik is interested in tackling is microplastics, minute fragments of plastic that can accumulate in the environment and affect animals and even humans.

Dr. Sydlik joined the faculty at CMU in 2015 after completing a postdoctoral fellowship in chemical engineering and a PhD in organic chemistry at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As an MCS undergraduate, she was selected as a Beckman Scholar in 2006 and received the 2007 Judith A. Resnik Award.

Congratulations, Dr. Sydlik!

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