Vanessa Sanchez is a CAS Future Leader

May 15, 2019
Vanessa Sanchez

The fashion designer/engineer earns a coveted ACS honor


This year, the American Chemical Society (ACS) celebrated the 10th annual CAS Future Leaders program, which awards early-career scientists with essential scientific, business and leadership training and a trip to the ACS National Meeting & Exposition.

Hundreds of applicants from more than 15 countries across a variety of scientific disciplines vied for a spot. Vanessa Sanchez was one of only 30 who got one.

"These participants were chosen from a competitive field of applicants from top institutions and labs around the world," says Manuel Guzman, President of CAS, in a press release.

But Sanchez has bested tougher odds to win a GEM Full Fellowship, a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) Award, a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship from the Department of Defense, and the first place prize at the CCB Pumpkin Carving Competition. 

As a second year graduate student in the Whitesides Lab and the Walsh Lab, Sanchez incorporates what she learned as an undergraduate student at the Fashion Institute of Technology and the Fiber Science program at Cornell University. "My unique background enables me to understand garments from the clothing system level to the textile structure to the underlying materials chemistry," she says.


Vanessa Sanchez's Smart Fabrics
© 2018 Vanessa Sanchez 


Combining fashion design, fiber science, and robotics, Sanchez engineers what she calls "garment-based tech." For example, fabrics filled with sensors could track the minute movements of our limbs, joints, and fingers. And pneumatic gloves could help a recent stroke victim apply enough pressure to lift a can of soda to her lips.

Roboclothes might be a few years away (right now, they can't survive a wash cycle), but Sanchez is one of the field's future leaders, made official with today's ACS CAS award.