Congratulations to Benjamin Morling, the 2024 Ross Hallett Memorial Scholarship in Biophysics Winner!

Posted on Tuesday, June 4th, 2024

Benjamin Morling obtained his Honours BSc in Nanoscience from the University of Guelph. He joined the Dutcher Lab as an undergraduate student in 2019, completed his MSc in 2021, and is currently a PhD student in the Dutcher and Wickham groups.

In his academic studies and his research, Ben has achieved a very high level of excellence. He has demonstrated a mature, curious and hardworking approach to his work, with the ability to learn new skills, perform high quality lab work and simulations, analyze his results, and communicate them effectively. 

As an undergraduate student, Ben worked on projects ranging from studying accelerated ageing of cross-linked polyethylene pipe to analyzing atomic force microscopy data of phytoglycogen (PG) nanoparticles to performing computer simulations of PG. This broad range of work demonstrates Ben’s ability to adapt and contribute to a wide variety of high-level science. 

In his MSc research, Ben focused on the simulation of PG nanoparticles as high generation dendrimer particles using dynamical self-consistent field theory. In this project, Ben made exceptional progress, accurately reproducing the radius, hydration and morphology that have been measured experimentally for PG, while achieving a dramatic reduction in the simulation time and efficient relaxation of the dendrimer. Ben is the first author on the manuscript on this work that was recently published in the ACS journal Macromolecules. 

In his PhD research, Ben is extending the simulation of PG nanoparticles to a fully 3D model and introducing electrostatics and hydrophobicity so that he can model modified PG particles that are being generated in the Dutcher Lab.

Ben is also a great communicator of his research results and has given talks at a variety of conferences including the Canadian Association of Physicists Congress and the American Physical Society March Meeting. His thoughtful, articulate and thorough approach to his research has allowed him to accomplish a lot, and he has been awarded several major scholarships and awards for his academic and research excellence, including the Ontario Graduate Scholarship, the NSERC Postgraduate Scholarship Doctoral and the Nanoscience Graduation Medal. 

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