Alumni in Focus – Dr. Bárbara Bellón

Dr. Bárbara Bellón has seen first-hand just how quickly IMDEA Materials’ International Reputation has grown in recent years.

Bellón, who is currently working at the Max Planck Institute for Iron Research in Düsseldorf, completed her PhD at the Madrid-based research centre from 2015-2020.

Since then, she has spent the past two years working in Germany in the field of extreme micromechanics. And during her seven years as both an IMDEA Materials researcher and alumni, she said that both awareness and positive perceptions of the Institute had increased dramatically.

“You can really see a huge difference in how IMDEA Materials is recognised now compared to just a few years ago, not just in Spain but internationally”, she said.

“I mean, I’m Spanish and I hadn’t heard much about the Institute before I joined (in 2015). But when I joined Max Planck a couple of years ago, I found that a lot of people here were already familiar with the name IMDEA Materials.

“I think it’s gotten to the point where IMDEA’s reputation is a real plus on researchers’ resumes. If the Institute has grown as much as it has in the past five years, in five years from now one can only imagine how much more it will have grown.”

Bellón’s PhD at IMDEA Materials was focused on the multiscale experimental characterization and modelling validation of microstructure and mechanical properties of engineering alloys and was completed in conjunction with the Technical University of Madrid.

Since then, she has continued working in the field of characterization and modelling and was recently awarded the Acta Student Award 2022 for her paper on the Multiscale Prediction of Microstructure Length Scales in Metallic Alloy Casting.

“We developed a multiscale modelling approach to predict local primary dendritic spacings in metals, which establishes a starting point for optimizing the casting processes in a wide range of solidification conditions and alloy compositions,” Bellón explained.

“The motivation for this study arose because quantitative predictions of microstructural development during casting are important to optimize processing conditions and design new alloys.”

The Acta Student Award is only the latest recognition received by Bellón during her academic career to date, having also previously been awarded an Alexander von Humboldt postdoctoral fellowship, one of the most prestigious grants in Germany.

She was also recently awarded a Marie SkłodowskaCurie Actions Postdoctoral fellowship through which she will be able to continue her work in the micromechanics of materials.  

It’s an impressive list of accomplishments for the Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha graduate.

And in the wake of her own success, Bellón said she wouldn´t hesitate to recommend IMDEA Materials for any future pre or postdoctoral researchers considering joining the Institute.  

“If I were going to give one piece of advice, it would really just be to take advantage of everything that IMDEA Materials has to offer,” she said.

“To be able to take advantage of the freedom to use different machines and apply different techniques is something that’s quite hard to find in other places.

“In my own case, I could do solidification, micromechanics and simulation, which I found very positive and something that is going to add a lot of value to your research.”

Are you interested in joining the IMDEA Materials team as a predoctoral or postdoctoral researcher? Check our job offers here: https://jobs.materials.imdea.org/

You can read a full transcript of our interview with Bárbara Bellón here:  https://materials.imdea.org/barbara-bellon/