Virginia Soft
Matter Workshop
at James Madison University, September 2017
Register for VSM'17


The Annual Virginia Soft Matter (VSM) Workshop brings together researchers working on the science of soft matter, including but not limited to polymers, complex fluids, biophysics, biomaterials, and granular matter, for an informal meeting to communicate cutting-edge research, exchange ideas and foster collaborations. There will be a mix of invited talks, brief contributed sound bites, and unstructured time.

The first VSM Workshop was held on the campus of James Madison University on February 11, 2014 (organized by Prof. Klebert Feitosa and sponsored by the 4-VA Consortium). The second, third, and fourth workshops were held at Virginia Tech (2014), the University of Virginia (2015), and Virginia Commonwealth University (2016).

The 5th VSM workshop (current) returns to James Madison University. The VSM Workshop will not charge registration fees and will provide free breakfast/coffee-break/lunch.

Date: September 4, 2017, 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Registration and Submission


If you are attending the conference, please register by August 28, 2017.


Sound Bites

Conference participants are encouraged to present a sound bite on their research during the workshop. In order to do so, please indicate the title of your sound bite on the registration page (no abstract required for sound bites). A 3-4 slide PDF of your sound bite is due by August 28.

Submit Sound Bite (Requires a Google Login)

More information on the format of the sound bite can be found in the FAQs below.

Schedule and Participants

Invited Speakers

Christine Helms

University of Richmond - Physics

Website >>

James Hanna

Virginia Tech - Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics

Website >>

Kyle Lampe

University of Virginia - Chemical Engineering

Website >>

Vamsi Yadavalli

Virginia Commonwealth University - Chemical and Life Science Engineering

Website >>

Wolfgang Losert

University of Maryland, College Park - Physics

Website >>



9:00 AM – 9:05 AM Welcome Remarks
9:05 AM – 9:50 AM Guided Cell Migration--a Dynamical Systems Perspective
Dr. Wolfgang Losert
9:50 AM – 10:15 AM Soundbite Session 1
10:15 AM – 10:30 AM Coffee Break
10:30 AM – 11:15 AM The Mechanical Properties of Nanofiber by AFM
Dr. Christine Helms
11:15 AM -11:40 AM Soundbite Session 2
11:40 AM – 12:25 PM Compliant 3D hydrogels for neural tissue engineering and central nervous system regeneration
Dr. Kyle Lampe


12:25 PM – 1:10 PM Lunch
1:10 PM – 1:55 PM Elastic structures
Dr. James Hanna
1:55 PM – 2:20 PM Soundbite Session 3
2:20 PM – 2:35 PM Coffee Break
2:35 PM – 3:20 PM Bioinspired materials for the fabrication of functional devices
Dr. Vamsi Yadavali
3:20 PM – 3:45 PM Soundbite 4
3:45 PM – 4:00 PM Wrap Up

Frequently Asked Questions

Why a Soft Matter Workshop?

The purpose of the workshop is to bring together faculty, students, postdocs, and interested scientists from Virginia and nearby regions for a one-day meeting to network, exchange ideas, and promote the research of soft matter.

What is Soft Matter?

Soft matter encompasses a broad set of materials characterized by being disordered and fragile. Grains, paint, pastes, suspensions, foams, emulsions, gels, vesicle and even cells are examples of such squishy materials. Soft materials often reside at the interface of physics, chemistry, biology and engineering. Thus, understanding, manipulating and creating new soft materials requires an assortment of experimental techniques and expertise from many different fields. In this context conversations with experts from many disciplines have the potential to generate new ideas and results that will lead to fast progress in research.

What is a sound bite and how do I prepare to give one?

A sound bite is a short and concise talk. You should prepare for a presentation of 3 minutes. A time limit will be strictly enforced to ensure that everyone gets an equal opportunity to talk. You should provide a 3-4 slide PDF that will accompany your presentation. To prepare you should keep in mind that you have a very limited time to get a single idea across. You should make sure that everyone knows who you are, what organization you represent, and most importantly, a single straight forward exposition of what you are working on. The sound bite should contain enough information about your research so that people with similar problems and interests know to seek you out during coffee and lunch. You should also prominently display your email and website if you have one. After you register you will receive information about when and where to send your sound bite PDF document.


Contact information for the organizing committee coming soon…

JMU Physics Department: (540) 568-6109


Festival Ballroom BC
1301 Carrier Drive
Harrisonburg, VA 22801

Parking information

The D3 Parking Lot will be available for any visitors from 8 am to 5 pm. JMU students, staff, and faculty should park only in lots for which they usually have access. Click here for a parking map of campus; the D3 lot is on the lower right-hand side of the map and is right across from the Festival building where the workshop is held.

Sponsored By

Corporate Sponsors

The organizing committee is pleased to thank Anton Paar for their generous support of the VSM'17 conference.

JMU Departmental Sponsors