January 19, 2023



Portrait of Germano Iannacchione

Germano Iannacchione

Germano Iannacchione, professor in the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) Department of Physics, has been appointed division director of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Division of Materials Research (DMR) within the Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences beginning Jan. 30.

Iannacchione will lead a division that invests in the discovery, prediction, and design of new materials, the development of materials scientists, and a better understanding of materials. DMR programs support research and education in fields such as condensed matter physics, solid-state and materials chemistry, and materials that are ceramic, metallic, polymeric, nanostructured, biological, electronic, photonic, and multifunctional.

DMR also is the managing division for national facilities such as the National High Magnetic Field Lab, the Center for High Resolution Neutron Scattering, the Cornell High-Energy Synchrotron Source, and the Materials Innovation Platforms, and for programs including the Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers and the cross-cutting Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer Our Future Program.

Iannacchione takes over from outgoing Division Director Linda Sapochak, who served DMR in a number of positions since 2008. Iannacchione expects to continue his research at WPI during his DMR rotation appointment and return to WPI once his rotation is completed in no more than three years.

“I am excited at the opportunity to serve the NSF Division of Materials Research and the entire materials scientific community, which supports cutting-edge work across the country,” Iannacchione says.

A member of the WPI faculty since 1998, Iannacchione served as head of the physics department from 2006 to 2016 and was founding director of the WPI Nuclear Science and Engineering Program, which he led from 2012 to 2017. His research has focused on phases and phase transitions in soft-condensed matter, specifically liquid crystals, polymers, and biomolecules in pure and composite systems. He has published 113 peer-reviewed articles in physics and materials journals and six book chapters to date.

Iannacchione previously served as director of the NSF’s Condensed Matter Physics Program from 2017 to 2020 and director of the Biomaterials Program from 2018 to 2019. He has served as an expert for DMR since 2020, a position that involves working on special projects for the division, helping to support specific programs, advising leadership, and mentoring new program directors.

Iannacchione received his PhD from Kent State University and held postdoctoral research appointments at Kent State and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a member of the American Physical Society, Sigma Xi, the International Liquid Crystal Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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