Invited Speakers


Prof. Dr Anke Blume, Head of the Chair "Elastomer Technology and Engineering", University of Twente

Anke Blume studied chemistry at the University of Hanover / Germany from October 1988 until July 1993. In the last year of her study, she came in the first contact with rubber during her master thesis. Consequently, she carried out her PhD thesis at the “German Institute for Rubber Technology” (DIK) which she finished mid of November 1995. After nine months post-doc time at the DIK, Anke started in September 1996 as a member of the product development group silica in the Applied Technology department of Degussa AG. She worked there in different positions, always related to the development of silica and silane for the use in rubber. Degussa changed several times the name, currently it is “Evonik Resource Efficiency GmbH”. Since August 2011, Anke has the position as an “IP Manager silica and silane for rubber applications”. In October 2013, she reduced her working time at Evonik and started at the University of Twente as the head of the chair “Elastomer Technology and Engineering” (ETE).


Arpan Datta Sarma, Ph.D. student, Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology

Arpan Datta Sarma, Ph.D. student at Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology, is working in Green Polymers group within the departmental framework of Materials Research and Technology department. He is presently a part of IPBG project funded by Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) and Goodyear tyre. His present focus is to develop materials for tyres with better performances.


With an Indian nationality, Arpan was born in Kolkata (India) and finished his bachelor studies from West Bengal State University and University of Calcutta. He graduated from Indian Institute of Technology (Kharagpur) with an M. Tech. degree in Rubber Technology. Within the framework of his master studies, he visited Leibniz-Institut für Polymerforschung (Dresden, Germany), which enabled him to write his master thesis. His main research interests are organic chemistry, polymer chemistry, polymer processing, rubber technology and, thermoplastic elastomers.


 Barbara Di Credico, Assistant Professor of Inorganic Chemistry, Unimib

Barbara Di Credico graduated in Chemistry in 2001 at University “La Sapienza” of Rome, she obtained the PhD in Inorganic Chemistry at University of Florence. After working as post‐doctoral researcher at Politecnico of Milano and at University of Milano Bicocca (Unimib), in March 2015, she became Assistant Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at Unimib. She coordinates the activity research of PhD students of CORIMAV (Consortium for research on materials between Unimib and Pirelli). She is member of the “Group for promotion activities and support for research and its exploitation” and of PhD Council on Materials Science.

BDC has advanced background in design and development of nanocomposite, hybrid and smart materials. Her research interests are nanostructured oxides and organic‐inorganic materials for environmental cleaning, and design and development of rubber composites. She is the author of 28 articles, 4 book chapters, 6 patents, and involved in many national and international research projects.


Carmine Capacchione, Associate Professor, University of Salerno

Carmine  Capacchione  received  his  MsC  and  PhD  from  the  University  of  Salerno  (Italy) under  the  supervision  of  Antonio  Proto.  He  then  held  an  Alexander  von  Humboldt  post- doctoral  fellowship  working  at  the  University  of  Heidelberg  (Germany)  in  the  group  of Lutz  H.  Gade.  He  was  appointed  assistant  professor in  2005  and  promoted  to  associate professor in  2015  at  University  of  Salerno  (Italy).  His  research  interest  is in  the field  of  stereoselective  polymerization  promoted  by  transition  metal  complexes, homogeneous  catalysis  with  a  focus  on  the  valorisation  of  bio-based  feedstock  and sustainable  catalytic  processes.


Professor Dr Chong Sun, Qingdao University of Science and Technology

Prof.  Dr.  Chong  Sun works at the Qingdao  University   of  Science and  Technology  in  China. He is a visiting scholar in Technische Universitat Kaiserslautern and a member of National  Rubber Standardization Technical Committee of China. Chong works on theory, processing and characterization research of high performance rubber  composites.


 Dae-Un Song

Dae-Un Sung is Global R&D Master at Hyundai R&D Division and a visiting Scholar at Queen Mary University, London. His research areas include improvement of balanced performance of suspension bushings and engine mounts and long-term quality enhancement of elastomers.


John Dick

John Dick has over forty-five years of experience in the rubber industry.  He was with BF Goodrich and later Uniroyal Goodrich Tire Co. as a Section Manager and Development Scientist in R & D until 1991 when he joined Monsanto's Rubber Instruments Group (now Alpha Technologies) as a Senior Scientist, Applications.  Mr. Dick has authored over 90 publications including five books on rubber technology. Some of Mr. Dick’s publications have been translated into nine languages.   

He received the Monsanto Master Technical Service Award, the ACS Rubber Division “Best Paper Award”, and is co-recipient of the Rubber Division, American Chemical Society 2014 Fernley H. Banbury Award for Rheology. He is a Fellow in ASTM receiving the Award of Merit.  He is now Leader of the U.S.A. Delegation to ISO TC-45 on Rubber.  He teaches ten rubber technology courses at University of Akron and University of Wisconsin continuing education departments.


Julien Ramier, Materials Scientist, Schlumberger

Julien Ramier obtained his PhD in Lyon working for Rhodia on the interface silica / elastomer and the impact on Payne effect in 2004. From 2004 to 2006, Julien worked for EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne) (Switzerland) and Konarka on the development of new functional fibres and creation of photovoltaic textiles.

In 2006 he joined Schlumberger as materials scientist to develop new products and 2013 Schlumberger Cambridge Research. In that position the primary focus of hiswork is on advanced elastomer composite research and development of innovative characterisation methods for extreme oil and gas applications.


Kannika Sahakaro, Vice Dean for Graduate Studies, Research and Innovation for Faculty of Science and Technology, Prince of Songkla University

Dr.Kannika Sahakaro obtained BSc. (Rubber Technology) from Prince of Songkla University (PSU), Thailand in 1994; MSc.(Polymer Science and Technology)  from  University  of  Manchester  in  1998,  and  PhD.  (Polymer Science and Technology) from University of Leeds in 2002. She had experience working full-time in rubber industry for one year before joining PSU as a lecturer since 1996.

In 2004-2005, she spent a year working as a postdoct at University of Twente (UT) that led to a strong academic collaboration till a present day through a Double Degree PhD Program and her work as visiting scientist yearly at UT under a Chair of Elastomer Technology and Engineering (ETE). In addition to teaching, research and academic outreach, she currently hold a position of Vice Dean for Graduate Studies, Research and Innovation for Faculty of Science and Technology. She published 69 papers in journals; 79 proceedings and presentations (international); 1 book chapter.


 Katsuhiko Tsunoda

Katsuhiko Tsunoda joined  Bridgestone  Corporation  in  1991  and  worked  in  material  development department for industrial rubber products. He studied fracture mechanics of rubber at Queen  Mary  and  Westfield  College, University  of  London from  1998 to  2001 under  the direct  supervision  of  Prof.  Alan  Thomas.  Katsuhiko completed his  Ph.D.  in 2001.  From  2011,  he worked in  material  science  on  rubber  performances  in  a  corporate  research  center.


Ken Nakajima

Dr. Ken Nakajima completed his doctorate in applied physics at the University of Tokyo, Japan, under the supervision of Prof. Toshio Nishi, in 1997. After a post doctorate in RIKEN, Japan, he joined Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan, in 2003, where he directed his research to the basic study of rubber elasticity and rubber reinforcement using atomic force microscope (AFM).

This led to the development of AFM-based nano-palpation technique in 2005. In 2008, he moved to Tohoku University, Japan, as Associate Professor. Then, he was promoted to be Professor in Tokyo Institute of Technology from 2015, where he has continued the application of nano-palpation AFM to various types of polymeric materials including thermoplastic elastomers and plastics as well as rubbery materials. Recently, he succeeded to develop nanorheology AFM, which enables us to visualize nanoscopic dynamic properties such as loss tangent at the interface between rubber and filler.


 Laurent Chazeau

Laurent Chazeau is a Professor at the National Institute of Applied Science (INSA) and head of the polymer, glass, and heterogeneous materials team at Lyon University, France. Current research interests are in filled elastomers, supramolecular polymer, nanocomposites and visco-elasto-plasticity in glassy materials.


 Maha Zaghdoudi

Dr. Maha Zaghdoudi obtained her PhD in mechanics and processes with  the focus on modelling and experimental  investigations of elastomers behaviour. She works at the  Bundesanstalt fur Materialforschung   und  -prufung   (BAM-Germany)  in  Department   3  Containment  Systems for Dangerous Goods, Division 3.4 Safety of Storage Containers. Her research field is in polymer science and materials engineering (testing and modelling). Her current research focus is the investigation of rubber seals used under different thermomechanical conditions and for long time periods.


Maurizio Galimberti

Maurizio Stefano Galimberti is a Professor at Politecnico di Milano, Italy, teaching chemistry elastomer and composites materials technology. Galimberti is a Member of the Science and Technology Committee, Rubber Division, American Chemical Society and in 2016 was awarded the International ACS Rubber Division George Stafford Whitby Award for Distinguished Teaching and Research.


 Michael Levandoski, Global Technical Director in Product Development, Henkel Adhesives

Mr. Michael Paul Levandoski is a Global Technical Director in Product Development for Henkel Adhesives, located in Shanghai, China. He has over 34 years of combined experience in applied research, product development, materials processing and manufacturing technologies. Mr. Levandoski has worked at Henkel for the last 22 years, where he has led the silicone adhesive technology and product development activities for the General Industries SBU, since 2000. Mr. Levandoski has a MS degree in Industrial Technology Management along with undergraduate degrees in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering technologies. Mr. Levandoski is an innovative “hands-on” leader in developing sustainable adhesive products at Henkel Adhesives and he has been granted several patents on new silicone molecules, formulations and technical applications.


Michael York, Research Fellow, Momentive Performance Materials Inc.

Michael York received a BS, MS in Chemistry and a Ph.D in Computational Chemistry from the University of North Carolina Charlotte (UNCC).  His career in the tire industry began in 1981 when he was hired by General Tire, now Continental Tire NA Inc.  Michael retired from Continental after 27.5 years.  During his employment, he worked in the Charlotte Plant for 15 years before transferring into R&D for 12.5 years.  Michael introduced molecular modeling and computational chemistry to Continental Tire in 1998.  His research included designing silanes for silica-filled tires, accelerator reaction mechanisms, and understanding how these materials affect cure and network chemistry in rubber. He has been employed at Momentive Performance Materials in Tarrytown, NY for 11.0 years.  He was the Global Technology Manager for Silanes in Tire and Rubber for 9.0 years and promoted to Research Fellow for the last two years.   


 Mikihito Takenaka, Professor of Institute for Chemical Resarch, Kyoto University

Mikihito Takenaka is currently a Professor of Institute for Chemical Research in Kyoto University and President of The Society of Rubber Science and Technology, Japan. He received degrees from the Kyoto University (the master’s degree of engineering in 1988 and the doctor’s degree of engineering in 1993 with Professor Takeji Hashimoto). Then, he joined the group of Professor Benjamin Chu, the State University of New York at Stony Brook, USA as a postdoctral fellow from 1993 to 1995.

From 1995 to 1997, He joined Hashimoto Polymer Phasing project, ERATO, as a postdoctral fellow. In 1997 He was appointed as an Assistant Professor of Department of Polymer Chemistry in Kyoto University, and was promoted to Professor of Institute for Chemical Research in 2016. His research scope includes the dynamics of phase transitions of polymer alloys, the hierarchical structures of soft matter, the viscoelastic effects of polymeric materials.


 Peter Abraham, Senior Technical Service Manager, Zeon

Peter Abraham has more than 40 years’ experience in the rubber industry having started with Avon Rubber Co. Ltd in 1977. He has been a Professional Member of the Institute of Materials, Minerals

& Mining since 1986 and has held the title of Chartered Scientist, CSci, since 2005. He worked for Avon in South Wales and Melksham, Wiltshire and later for Hatcham Rubber Company in Hertfordshire. He joined Zeon Chemicals in October 1990 and has held several Technical posts within the company since that time. He is currently Senior Technical Service Manager with responsibility for the European technical support of Zeon’s HyTemp ACM; Hydrin ECO; Nipol NBR & Zetpol HNBR Elastomers range. He is married with five grown up children and five grandchildren and lives near Cardiff, South Wales, UK.


Sarah Karmel, Head of R&D, Photocentric Limited

Dr Sarah Karmel is currently Head of R&D, Chemistry at Photocentric Limited, where she looks after the development of novel photopolymer materials for 3D printing applications. Her main interests focus on the development of functional materials for 3D printing, including particle filled photopolymers for the use in large scale manufacturing. Sarah completed her PhD at the Technion, Israel on actinide coordination complexes under the supervision of Prof Moris Eisen and was a Blavatnik Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Cambridge, before joining Photocentric in 2017.


 Professor Seiichi Kawahara, Professor, Nagoka University of Technology

Professor Seiichi Kawahara has spent the last two decades investigating a relationship between structure and properties of natural rubber. He also has a strong interest in control of hierarchal structure of rubbery materials. After receiving his doctorate in Engineering from Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology in 1992, Kawahara began his career as assistant professor at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology. He made collaborative research works with Prof. Yasuyuki Tanaka. He joined rubber research group of Prof. Alan Gent and Prof. Gray Hamed at Akron University in 1996-1997 as a visiting scientist.

Currently, he is professor of Nagaoka university of Technology. Kawahara has served on advisory boards for Polymers for Advanced Technology and Journal of Rubber Research. He received the Science and Technology Award in 2015 from the Society of Rubber Science and Technology, Japan, the Sparks- Thomas Award in 2014 from the American Chemical Society, USA, the SPSJ Wiley Award in 2011 from the Society of Polymer Science, Japan, the SRJ Research Award in 2004 from the Society of Rheology, Japan.


Thomas Greaves, Senior Project Manager, Haydale Composite Solutions

Thomas Greaves has a BSc (Hons) in Chemistry which included a year working in industry in Manchester, UK. After completing his industry placement, Thomas was awarded the Society of Chemical Industry Prize for 2013.

Thomas has since worked in the field of elastomers, composites and nanotechnology. In 2014, he spent 3 years with a large elastomer manufacturer where he was responsible for developing new elastomeric products from laboratory scale through to product launch.

Thomas joined Haydale Composite Solutions in October 2017. As Senior Project Engineer, Thomas is required to manage both commercial and grant funded projects in a wide range of speciality areas and industries. His role is focused on driving innovation in elastomers, composites and inks by demonstrating how the incorporation of nanomaterials into these systems enhances the mechanical, dynamic, electrical and thermal properties.


Toshio Nishi

Toshio Nishi is Representative Director at the Research Association of Nano-Structured Polymer and Special Professor of Beijing University of Chemical Technology, China, and Emeritus Professor at the University of Tokyo, Tokyo Institute of Technology and Shenyang University of Chemical Technology.


Professor Dr Ulrich Giese, Managing Director, German Institute of Rubber Technology (DIK e.V.) and Professor, Leibniz University of Hannover

Ulrich Giese received his PhD in analytical chemistry in 1988 and was appointed to Professor of the Leibniz University of Hannover in 2010. He started in 1989 working in rubber research and chemistry at the German Institute of Rubber Technology (DIK e.V.). Currently he is Managing Director of the DIK e. V. and of the new founded “DIK Testing Laboratory”. Furthermore Prof. Dr. U. Giese developed the DIK activities in teaching and education over the years.  Since 2010 Ulrich Giese is a distinguished professor at the Leibniz University of Hannover and member of the faculty of natural science, where he is responsible for “Applicated Polymer Chemistry”. Ulrich has demonstrated scientific and technical competence by significant and interesting contributions to the rubber industry, especially in his research subjects aging, nanocomposites, vulcanization, environmental aspects in rubber industry (recycling, vulcanization fumes, emissions) and elastomer analyses.


Vivian Christogianni, New Product Development Manager, FormFormForm Ltd

Vivian is a New Product Development Manager at FormFormForm Ltd, involved in the development of new products and technical solutions of silicone‐based adhesive formulations. She worked as Senior Formulation Chemist for several years gaining a lot of know‐how and experience in 1‐RTV silicone processing and now is responsible for technology and product development projects, defining requirement profiles, specifications for raw material, intermediate and finished products. Vivian is a Chartered Chemist and completed her PhD at the Centre for Defence Chemistry at Cranfield University (UK) where she investigated the mechanical and self‐healing properties of composites enhanced by photosensitive polymers. She graduated from the University of Patras (Greece) with a Diploma in Chemical Engineering and completed her MSc degree through research at the Technical University of Munich (Germany).


Yuko Ikeda, Professor, Kyoto Institute of Technology

Yuko is a professor of Faculty of Molecular Chemistry and Engineering, Kyoto Institute of Technology. In 1991, she received the Doctor Degree of Engineering from Kyoto University. In 2014, Yuko was awarded the 29th Oenslager award. Her research focuses on rubber & elastomer science and technology. Hercurrent research topics are fundamental studies on the sulfur cross-linking and reinforcement of rubbers by using new analytical methods. Characterization of natural rubbers are also studied by using synchrotron X- ray analyses.