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DiStruc Newsletter - Issue 5, 2018 

Welcome to the fifth issue of the DiStruc Newsletter!
The DiStruc fellows have made excellent progress over the past four years. They have presented posters and given talks all over the world, some scientific results have turned into patent applications, and more and more papers are being submitted and published. The fellows found many ways to demonstrate their multiple talents and creativity. This year we organised several scientific and outreach events, some with our colleagues from the Colldense ITN. New horizons keep opening up. Please read on. 

Prof. Dirk Aarts, DiStruc Coordinator, University of Oxford
Personally speaking with DiStruc Fellows 
Since the DiStruc project is coming to an end, the ESRs are wrapping up their research findings and preparing for their next career move. The first DiStruc PhD thesis has been submitted by Marie Föllmer (Mercader group, ADERA, University of Bordeaux). Maxime Tortora (Doye group, Department of Chemistry, University of Oxford) has finished his research work and is writing up his thesis. Despite their busy agenda, they answered a few questions for us. Enjoy reading!
Marie Föllmer:
"DiStruc was an excellent opportunity for me...It is important to choose a research topic which you truly believe in and which motivates you every day."
Maxime Tortora:
"DiStruc seemed like a great opportunity to pursue my research interests and I have never regretted my decision!"
Read more
Awards and Prizes
Mariana Oshima Menegon (Van der Schoot group, TU Eindhoven)
Shari Finner (Van der Schoot group, TU Eindhoven) 
Read more
DiStruc events

DiStruc Final meeting, 29 June - 5 July 2018, Oxford (UK)

Louis Cortes (Aarts group, Department of Chemistry) and Luuk Metselaar (Yeomans group, Department of Physics, University of Oxford), event co-hosts:

The seventh and final DiStruc Training and Progress meeting kicked off as usual with the opening speech by the DiStruc Coordinator Prof. Dirk Aarts. It was followed by professional development talks and workshops focussed on professional life after your PhD, a pretty good timing for most of us. 

The 6th Playing Colloidal Mikado Workshop was held from Monday to Wednesday (2-4 July). It was a mix of six very distinguished leaders in the field and talks by the DiStruc fellows and other young researchers, and it turned out to be a varied and interactive workshop. Many fellows were showing excellent progress towards obtaining their PhDs and doing their bit to provide insight into the emergence of directed structure at the meso-scale. Socially, the workshop was also a big success, with a conference dinner at the Cherwell Boathouse. Scientific talk and networking were mildly overshadowed by the football (England vs Colombia). The food, however, was quite nice. 

The week ended with the usual progress meeting where all DiStruc fellows presented their recent progress and got input from the network.

The DiStruc meetings have always been intense, with long days and late evenings. However, this meeting was a bit different as it was, for us, the fellows, our last meeting. Despite our promises to keep in touch and as tears have witnessed, we know that this is the end of an era. 

On behalf of the fellows, we would like to thank the supervisors and advisors for their help and enthusiasm as well as the consecutive administrators for their support. 
More photos
DiStruc meeting, 4-8 December 2017, Jülich (Germany)

From the organisers Dr. Marisol Ripoll and Prof. Pavlik Lettinga, Forschungszentrum Jülich:

It was winter and the lights of the German Christmas markets were switched on, when the DiStruc Network finally visited us in Jülich. The organization was smooth, and overall we found the outcome of the event very satisfactory both from scientific and social perspectives. The fellows did once more a great job having their research and talks ready for the progress meeting. Some fellows also prepared a master class with the idea of ‘learning by teaching’. We all gain further understanding about topics closely related to their work. Furthermore, in order to introduce the participants to the scientific broader community in Jülich, we had a very interesting session with junior and senior local speakers. Carrier planning was a particularly important subject in this meeting. A special focused session was organized by Dr. Thorsten Auth. One evening, we had a group discussion where the fellows could ask the PIs and our highly regarded advisors David and Patrick, all about their experiences and how to proceed after finishing the PhD.  
The less-scientific part of the program brought us to learn about the surrounding area of Jülich and the impressive opencast mines. After this visit, we subjected ourselves to the classical leisure called Kegeln, which is a type of bowling. Another enjoyable dinner was organized by Ms. 
Marie Göcking at Andreas Haus. The atmosphere was great, as witnessed by a great meal, lively discussions, and a couple of hours of dancing.

Read more
Public engagement with DiStruc research
Squishy Soft Science - Oxford 2018
Over 100 little “scientists in the making” and their families attended the Squishy Soft Science 2018 outreach event, held at the Story Museum in Oxford on Saturday 30th of June. The young participants had the opportunity to chat with DiStruc fellows and guest researchers, gain hands-on experience in DiStruc-related science, with demonstrations carefully designed by the fellows and described in a special booklet. Squishy Soft Science Certificates were awarded to the children who completed all the experiments.
Read more
Nature matters - DiStruc & Colldense ITNs @Edinburgh International Science Festival 2018

Marion Roullet, Colldense ITN fellow, workshop organiser:
In April, early-career scientists from the ITNs Distruc, Colldense and the non-profit organisation (NGO) Sunshine for Palestine came to Edinburgh, travelling from all over Europe. It was not the whisky, the bagpipes or even the cold wind that motivated their trip, but one of the largest science festivals in Europe, the Edinburgh International Science Festival.
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Wickelig Weiche Wissenschaft 2017

Dr. Marisol Ripoll, Forschungszentrum Jülich:
One of the most successful parts of the meeting in Jülich was the outreach event on 8th December in the Gymnasium Zitadelle. This time we adapted our program to explain the secrets of soft matter world to students at the 9th grade (~14 years old). Even though children of this age don’t always show their enthusiasm, rumour spread through the school very quickly and the starting very discrete stream of school classes evolved into a large and amorphous wave of students enjoying themselves with soft matter science.  For the DiStruc fellows it was a tiring, albeit satisfactory closing event, which was also greatly appreciated by the school, as reflected in their school magazine
See photos
Hot off the Press
Metselaar L., Doostmohammadi A., Yeomans J. M., Two-dimensional, blue phase tactoidsMolecular Physics, 116, 21-22, 2856, 2018, DOI: 10.1080/00268976.2018.1496292 
Tortora M. M. C., Doye J. P. K., Incorporating particle flexibility in a density functional description of nematics and cholestericsMolecular Physics, 116, 21--22, 27732018, DOI: 10.1080/00268976.2018.1464226

Repula A., Grelet E., Elementary Edge and Screw Dislocations Visualized at the Lattice Periodicity Level in the Smectic Phase of Colloidal RodsPhys. Rev. Let. 121, 9, 097801, 2018, DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.121.097801
Tortora M. M. C., Doye J. P. K., Hierarchical bounding structures for efficient virial computations: Towards a realistic molecular description of cholestericsJ. Phys. Chem., 147, 224504, 2017, DOI: 10.1063/1.5002666
de Braaf B., Oshima Menegon M., Paquay S., van der Schoot P., Self-organisation of semi-flexible rod-like particles, J. Chem. Phys., 147, 224901, 2017, DOI: 10.1063/1.5000228

About DiStruc

DiStruc (Directed Structure at the mesoscale) is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network funded by the EU. The goals of DiStruc are three-fold: (i) scientifically, to understand and direct structure formation in dispersions of elongated colloidal particles by internal and external means; (ii) practically, to exploit this knowledge for rational product development of fast moving consumer goods and high-performance fibres; (iii) to train the next generation of European researchers at the highest level with a multidisciplinary academic and industrial skill set. DiStruc runs for four years (2015-2018), and brings together partners from 6 different European countries including universities, research institutions and industries.
This issue was edited by Prof. Dirk Aarts and Dr. Pavlina Schmitz
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Grant Agreement No 641839.
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