2024 Klemperer Award winner: Falon Kalutantirige

Portrait of Falon Kalutantirige standing in front of a white background

Falon Kalutantirige has been doing research focused on 3D imaging and morphometry analysis of soft materials with complex nanoscale morphologies as a chemistry graduate student in the lab of Prof. Qian Chen, a materials science and engineering professor who is also affiliated with chemistry, 

In that research, Kalutantirige uncovered the structure-property relationships of commercial filtration membranes and the corrosion behavior of nanoparticles.

A 2024 winner of the Klemperer Award for Outstanding Materials Chemistry PhD Thesis, Kalutantirige presented her thesis, “Morphogenesis-Morphology-Function Relationships of Irregular Nanomaterials Using Advanced Electron Microscopy and Graph Theory,” in a special award presentation to the department on May 9, 2024.

Kalutantirige earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka, in 2017. After completing her PhD at Illinois, Kalutantirige hopes to continue her scientific career in an industrial chemistry job. 

In addition to her research, Kalutantirige said a highlight of her graduate studies was being a mentor to undergraduate students, particularly undergraduates from underrepresented groups in STEM and mentoring students from Parkland College.

"While mentoring, I learned a lot from the experiences of my mentees," Kalutantirige said.