Jacinta C. Conrad

Jacinta C. Conrad

University of Houston

Chemical Engineer
Fellow, Elected 2021

Across her twenty-year-and-counting career, Prof. Jacinta Conrad’s research has focused on the transport and rheology of particle-laden complex fluids, including colloids, nanoparticles, bacteria, and viruses. In her training work, she examined the connection between microstructure and mechanical properties in non-equilibrium colloidal glasses and gels as a PhD student and characterized the microstructure of colloidal gels flowed through narrow channels as a postdoctoral researcher. Her research group at the University of Houston has examined the diffusion of nanoparticles in complex heterogeneous solutions, using microscopy and scattering experiments as well as molecular simulation to relate nanoparticle dynamics to relaxations in polymer solutions and in glassy liquids. A second thrust of her research program has focused on quantifying how finite-sized nanoparticles are transported through porous media, identifying how fluid elasticity and geometric order modulate particle dispersion. These ideas have been applied to enhance the sensitivity of lateral-flow assays, a simple point-of-care diagnostic format, for viruses. Her group has also investigated the effects of dispersity on the rheology of mixtures, demonstrating that polymer additives can be used to modulate the magnitude and mechanism of shear thickening in colloidal suspensions. Finally, she has studied the motility of bacteria near surfactant- and polymer-decorated interfaces towards elucidating the physical processes that control bioremediation. In recognition of her research, Prof. Conrad received an NSF CAREER award in 2012 and was an invited speaker at the 2016 Arab-American Frontiers of Science, Engineering and Medicine.

In addition to her scientific contributions to the field of rheology, Prof. Conrad has contributed to the rheology community through service. She has served on multiple committees for The Society of Rheology, including the Education, Nomination, and Metzner Award Committees, and was a member of the local planning committee for the 2018 Houston Annual Meeting.

Prof. Conrad is the Frank M. Tiller Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Houston. She received an S.B. in Mathematics from the University of Chicago in 1999 and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Physics from Harvard University in 2002 and 2005. From 2005 – 2009 she was a postdoctoral research associate in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She joined the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Houston in 2010.

Based on the documents submitted by David A. Weitz.