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Prof. Aeriel Leonard receives Young Investigator Award by Office of Naval Research

Mon, 24th May, 2021

Originally posted on May 12, 2021 to the Department of Materials Science and Engineering website.

The past year has been a whirlwind marked by a new job, relocation and research milestones for Dr. Aeriel Leonard. The materials science and engineering professor just completed her inaugural semester of teaching at The Ohio State University and capped it off with being awarded for her first submitted proposal.

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) Young Investigators Program is designed for “academic scientists and engineers” who are in the nascent stage of their higher education career — whether in instructing, researching or a combination thereof. Six departments within the Department of the Navy’s Science and Technology research program support research spanning from algorithms to armor and falling within the spectrum of basic research to “advanced technology development”.1

Professor Leonard’s interest in the field of materials science can be traced back to high school, “In high school, I was a huge nerd and was really competitive in science fair. My tenth-grade project involved looking at fatigue behavior in high strength aluminum alloys. It’s funny because I have been studying fatigue behavior for 15 years. It has always felt natural for me.”

photo of Professor Aeriel Leonard Ohio State Materials Science and Engineering
Dr. Aeriel Leonard loads a fatigue specimen into a load frame.

That natural tendency to research, discover and apply has earned her a research package worth almost $800K. The three-year project begins in July and includes procurement funds for an Ultrasonic Fatigue (UF) System that can be used ex-situ and in-SEM for real-time analysis. The UF system is the first of its kind in Ohio and only the second system in the U.S. featuring in-SEM UF.

Dr. Leonard’s project, Systematic Study on Slip Activity and Plastic Strain Accumulation in Wire-Arc Additive Manufactured Nickel-Aluminum-Bronze Alloys, will use a combination of advanced characterization techniques such as synchrotron-based X-ray analysis, digital image correlation, electron back scatter diffraction, and in-situ loading to link the sensitivity of cyclic deformation (fatigue) mechanisms to microstructural influences in Nickel-Aluminum-Bronze (NAB) manufactured via wire arc additive manufacturing (AM). The information from these studies will inform the U.S. Navy and the Department of Defense on how to qualify AM NAB parts and components by understanding how these AM microstructures influence the fatigue behavior and life as well as the crack growth behavior in both corrosive and non-corrosive environments.

The majority of the research will be conducted in Leonard’s lab, which is located in the new Mars G. Fontana Laboratories — part of college’s $59.1 million, 124,000 square feet Biomedical and Materials Engineering Complex that opened in autumn 2020. Research will extend to the college’s Center for Electron Microscopy and Analysis (CEMAS) and the Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence (CDME). Two materials science and engineering graduate students will complete the research team and “gain a unique skillset that will help advance their careers after graduate school,” says Leonard.

“Being awarded the Young Investigator Award really means a lot to me. This was the first proposal I ever wrote so it feels really good that the committee at ONR believed in my research ideas and goals. I get to perform cutting-edge research that will advance our understanding of a very complex alloy system.”

A strong faculty mentorship program prompted Dr. Leonard in drafting a successful ONR YIP proposal. She credits Ohio State’s Dr. Michael Mills, Dr. Glenn Daehn, Dr. Maryam Ghazasaedi, and Dr. Jenifer Locke for providing guidance throughout the maiden proposal-writing voyage.

Dr. Aeriel Leonard appreciates the value of hard work, a good challenge and opportunities to be taken. “As a black woman from rural Alabama, I always want to show my community that anything is possible. All you must do is keep pushing forward and never lose faith in yourself.” Locally, it’s a message worth sharing to all Buckeye engineering students and early-career faculty members.

Leonard earned her doctoral degree in materials science and engineering from the University of Michigan and a B.S. in metallurgical and materials engineering from the University of Alabama.

Dr. Aeriel Leonard’s areas of research expertise are

  • in-situ synchrotron and electron microscopy techniques for mechanical behavior and microstructural evolution
  • lightweight materials (Al, Mg)
  • alloy adaption for additive manufacturing
  • integrated computational materials engineering

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering congratulates Dr. Aeriel Leonard for being awarded the ONR YIP award. Her research in AM microstructures represents much more than materials science; it is the holistic narrative imagined, then realized, by those who persevere with passion.

List of the 38 2021 Young Investigator Award Recipients
Applicants of ONR YIP must meet the following qualifications:
  • must be in their first or second full-time tenure track (or tenure-track-equivalent academic appointment)
  • must have received doctorate or equivalent degree in past seven years
  • must show exceptional promise for doing creative research

1 Office of Naval Research Science & Technology. Retrieved from https://www.onr.navy.mil/Science-Technology/Departments. Accessed May 11, 2021.

By Libby Culley, Communications   |   Department of Materials Science and Engineering   |   culley.36@osu.edu

Category : General

2019 REACH Alumna Devina Walter Receives Lumley Interdisciplinary Research Award

Tue, 11th May, 2021

College of Engineering Lumley Interdisciplinary Research Award

Natalia Higuita-Castro, assistant professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering; Safdar Khan, associate professor – Clinical, Department of Orthopaedics, College of Medicine; and Devina Walter, assistant professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering — For their outstanding contributions to the development of non-addictive, nanotherapeutics for low back pain and for integrating diversity into collaborative research to develop the most impactful therapies.

Named for John H. Lumley (’27, ceramic engineering), this team award recognizes interdisciplinary research accomplishments of the college’s faculty and research staff.

Originally published by the College of Engineering on April 22, 2021.

Category : General

2019 REACH Alumna Perena Gouma Receives Innovators Award

Mon, 10th May, 2021

College of Engineering Innovators Award


Perena Gouma, Edward Orton Jr. Chair in Ceramic Engineering and professor, Department of Materials Science and Engineering — For revolutionary materials processing and use as selective sensing elements for the detection of biomarkers of COVID-19 disease in breath.

This award recognizes the achievements of an individual or team whose innovation has successfully translated the research emanating from our laboratories into new products and/or technologies that can be used by the public at large.

Originally published by the College of Engineering on April 22, 2021.

Category : General

2011 REACH Alumna Dorota Grejner-Brzezinska Receives the Faculty Diversity Excellence Award

Fri, 7th May, 2021

College of Engineering’s Faculty Diversity Excellence Award

Dorota Grejner-Brzezinska, associate dean for research and professor, Department of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering/Engineering Administration — For advancing the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering’s mission in research and teaching through a commitment to diversity in faculty hiring.

This award recognizes an individual or team demonstrating excellence and success in the development and implementation of models, strategies, practices and programs that foster and enhance diversity in the college.

Originally published by the College of Engineering on April 22, 2021.

Category : General

2011 REACH Alumna Umit Ozkan Receives Faculty Mentoring Award

Thu, 6th May, 2021

PictureUmit Ozkan, chair and professor, William G. Lowrie Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering — For her passionate commitment, and extraordinarily caring support and excellence as a role model that has encouraged faculty to excel and mentor others in turn.

This award recognizes an individual faculty member in the college for demonstrated excellence in the mentoring of one or more early-career faculty members within the college.


Originally posted by the College of Engineering on April 22, 2021.

Category : General

2019 REACH Alumna Vicky Doan-Nguyen Awarded Two 2021 Faculty Awards

Wed, 5th May, 2021

David C. McCarthy Engineering Teaching Award

Vicky Doan-Nguyen

Vicky Doan-Nguyen, assistant professor, and Tyler Grassman, assistant professor, Department of Materials Science and Engineering — In recognition of their design and implementation of the innovative undergraduate laboratory, MSE 5532: Harnessing the Power of Materials for Energy.

This award recognizes the contributions of College of Engineering junior faculty and staff to create more innovative and effective teaching and learning.

Dean’s Award for Distinguished Outreach Achievements

Vicky Doan-Nguyen, assistant professor, Department of Materials Science and Engineering — For strengthening Ohio State educational partnerships with the Columbus community and beyond, leading to a stronger, diverse pipeline of scientific and engineering leaders.

Established in 2015, this award recognizes an individual faculty member who has demonstrated significant and longstanding achievement of positive community impact through outreach activities or programs within the college.

Originally posted by the College of Engineering on April 21, 2021.

Category : General

2017 REACH Alumna Asimina Kiourti Awarded The BEWEL Leadership in Innovation Award

Tue, 4th May, 2021

Asimina Kiourti

Asimina Kiourti, assistant professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering — For her contributions to bio-electromagnetics and her outreach efforts towards boosting females’ persistence to pursue careers in engineering.

The Buckeye Engineering Women in Executive Leadership (BEWEL) award was created in 2019 and is presented to a junior or mid-career female faculty member who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in research, innovation and/or scholarship.

Originally posted by the College of Engineering on April 22, 2021.

Category : General

2021 REACH Cohort Member Allyana Rice Earns Prestigious NASA Fellowship

Wed, 28th April, 2021

Originally posted by the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering on April 13, 2021.

A graduate student in electrical and computer engineering won a prestigious NASA fellowship for her work in bioelectromagnetics at The Ohio State University.

Allyana Rice is currently a Ph.D. student at the ElectroScience Laboratory located on Kinnear Road on West Campus.

The NASA Space Technology Graduate Research Opportunities (NSTGRO) fellowship program seeks to sponsor graduate students “who show significant potential” to contribute to NASA’s goal of creating innovative new space technologies for the nation’s science exploration and economic future.

Her advisor, ECE Assistant Professor Asimina Kiourti,said the fellowship is highly competitive and prestigious for graduate students. According to the award letter, she said, Rice was “chosen to develop groundbreaking, high-risk/high-payoff, early-stage space technology. (Her) contributions will help make science and space exploration more effective, affordable, and sustainable.”

Bioelectromagnetics involves studying the interaction between fields of electricity found within the living cells and tissues of organisms. Such low-power sources have the potential to transfer to man-made electronics like mobile phones, or even contribute toward radiation treatment for patients facing severe depression, hallucinations, and bipolar disorder.

Throughout the fellowship, Rice will split her research time between ESL and working under leading mentors at corresponding NASA centers. The award is presented in the form of a grant to Ohio State and includes a maximum of $80,000 in direct costs annually over four years.

Each semester, ESL welcomes a host of graduate students aspiring to learn and advance research initiatives to advance electromagnetics; mixed-signal and assured microelectronics; remote sensing and spectroscopy; radar, navigation, and communications systems; mmWaves, THz, and photonics. Specifically, Rice will be researching reconfigurable antennas for wearable space medical diagnostics.

The graduate student comes to Ohio State via Ellicott City, Maryland. She joined the ESL community at the start of the 2020-21 academic year as part of Kiourti’s Wearable and Implantable Technologies (WIT) research group. Rice completed her undergraduate studies in electrical engineering at Clemson University. She was drawn to Ohio State by the community and prestige of ESL.

“ESL had all of the resources I would need for graduate school as well as the name recognition to set me up for a good career after,” Rice said. “All the faculty, staff, and other graduate students I met when I visited were very welcoming and made me feel like I could be happy and successful here.”

Rice said the collaborative nature of bioelectromagnetics, with researchers spanning across numerous departments at Ohio State, ultimately attracted her to the field.

“There is also the potential to have a real impact on people’s lives through the technology being designed in the group,” she said.

Rice spends her downtime outside of the classroom running, hiking, and doing various art projects.

Story by Ryan Horns and adapted from My ESL Spotlight

Category : General

REACH 2020 Alumna Karen Dannemiller’s research featured in Ohio State News

Tue, 27th April, 2021

Originally posted on April 13, 2021 via Ohio State News

COVID-19 in our dust may help predict outbreaks, study finds

Finding does not mean virus can be transmitted via dust


A study done in rooms where COVID-19 patients were isolated shows that the virus’s RNA – part of the genetic material inside a virus – can persist up to a month in dust.

The study did not evaluate whether dust can transmit the virus to humans. It could, however, offer another option for monitoring COVID-19 outbreaks in specific buildings, including nursing homes, offices or schools.

Karen Dannemiller, senior author of the study, has experience studying dust and its relationship to potential hazards like mold and microbes.

“When the pandemic started, we really wanted to find a way that we could help contribute knowledge that might help mitigate this crisis,” said Dannemiller, assistant professor of civil, environmental and geodetic engineering and environmental health sciences at The Ohio State University.“And we’ve spent so much time studying dust and flooring that we knew how to test it.”

The study, published today (April 13, 2021) in the journal mSystems, found some of the genetic material at the heart of the virus persists in dust, even though it is likely that the envelope around the virus may break down over time in dust. The envelope – the crown-like spiked sphere that contains the virus’s material – plays an important role in the virus’s transmission to humans.

The study offers another non-invasive avenue for monitoring buildings for COVID-19 outbreaks, especially as more people are vaccinated and return to communal spaces.

Municipalities and others have tested wastewater to evaluate the prevalence of COVID-19 in a given community – gene copies and fragments of the virus live in human waste, and by testing wastewater, local governments and others can determine how widespread the virus might be, even if people are asymptomatic.

Dust monitoring could offer similar understanding on a smaller scale – say, a specific nursing home, hospital or school.

“In nursing homes, for example, you’re still going to need to know how COVID is spreading inside the building,” said Nicole Renninger, lead author of the paper and an engineering graduate student in Dannemiller’s lab. “For surveillance purposes, you need to know if you are picking up an outbreak that’s going on right now.”

For this study, the research team worked with the crews responsible for cleaning the rooms at Ohio State where students who tested positive for COVID-19 were isolated. They also collected samples from two homes where people who tested positive for COVID-19 lived. They gathered vacuum bags of dust from the cleaning crews and from the homes.The researchers also tested swabs collected from surfaces in the rooms.

They found genetic material from the SARS-CoV-2 virus – the virus that causes COVID-19 – in 97% of the bulk dust samples and in 55% of the surface swabs.

The cleaning crews sprayed a chlorine-based disinfectant in the rooms prior to cleaning; the researchers believe that disinfectant destroyed the envelope and/or capsid – the outer coat surrounding the virus – likely defanging it for transmission.

The research team tested the samples when they arrived at the lab, shortly after the rooms were cleaned, then tested the samples again weekly. After four weeks, the virus’s RNA did not significantly decay in the vacuum bags.

“We weren’t sure that the genetic material would survive – there are many different organisms in dust, and we weren’t sure we’d see any viral RNA at all,” Renninger said. “And we were surprised when we found that the actual RNA itself seems to be lasting a pretty long time.”

Testing dust to monitor for COVID-19 outbreaks would likely be most useful for smaller-scale communities with a high-risk population – a nursing home, for example, Dannemiller said. Testing indoor dust is also likely less expensive at that scale than testing wastewater or all individuals directly on a routine basis.

“We wanted to demonstrate that dust could be complementary to wastewater for surveillance,” Dannemiller said. “Wastewater is great for a large population, but not everybody sheds the virus in feces, and you have to collect wastewater samples, which not everyone wants to do. People are already vacuuming these rooms, so dust may be a good option for some groups.”

Even before this study was published, Dannemiller said the researchers presented their findings to an industry group that represents maintenance and cleaning staff, with a recommendation: “If they can wait at least an hour or more after a person leaves the room to clean, they should,” she said, citing previous studies of viral viability on other materials and in aerosols.

Other Ohio State researchers who worked on this study include Nick Nastasi, Ashleigh Bope, Samuel Cochran, Sarah Haines, Neeraja Balasubrahmaniam, Katelyn Stuart and Natalie Hull. Kyle Bibby, an associate professor of engineering at the University of Notre Dame, and Aaron Bivins, a postdoc in his group, also contributed.

Category : General

REACH Alumna Jenny Barker named one of the 2021 Next Generation Innovators of the Year

Mon, 26th April, 2021

Originally posted by the Office of Research on April 15, 2021.

Jenny Barker and Caroline Karbowski named 2021 Next Generation Innovators of the Year

As Ohio State continues to expand its role in the commercialization of research, it is important to create an environment that facilitates and rewards research creativity and entrepreneurship. To support and stimulate entrepreneurial activity among Ohio State researchers, three university-wide innovator awards are presented as part of the Research and Innovation Showcase hosted by the Office of Research and Corporate Engagement Office. Join us in congratulating the 2021 Next Generation Innovators of the Year.

image of Jenny BarkerJenny Barker

Watch a video explaining Jenny’s work and discovery.

Jenny Barker is a graduate of MIT and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Scientist Training Program. She is presently pursuing clinical training in plastic and reconstructive surgery at Ohio State University and postdoctoral research in tissue engineering in the Center for Regenerative Medicine at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.  Barker’s long-term research goals center around the development of technologies at the bench that will ultimately benefit plastic and reconstructive surgery patients in the operating room, particularly by modulating the interface between host and biomaterials to improve patient outcomes. For her postdoctoral work, Barker is a prior recipient of the Ohio State University President’s Postdoctoral Scholar award, the Nationwide Children’s Hospital 2020 Postdoc of the Year award, and NIH T32AI106704 and NIH F32HL144120 training awards.


image of Caroline KarbowskiCaroline Karbowski

Watch a video explaining Caroline’s work and discovery.

Caroline Karbowski is a third year undergraduate student pursuing a BS in biology and minors in chemistry and American Sign Language. Karbowski’s career goal is to make science accessible for people with disabilities. After receiving a fourth award in Plant Sciences at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, she realized more needed to be done to make science accessible for people with disabilities. She created See3D, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit which has organized the printing and distribution of over 1,400 3D printed models for people who are blind. She has given a TEDx talk, published in the Journal of Science Education for Students with Disabilities, been featured in numerous podcasts, radio shows, and conferences, and is training to be a Literary Braille Transcriber. Karbowski is the President of The Deaf-Hearing Club at Ohio State and is a member of DanceSport and Women’s Glee Club.

The Next Generation Innovator of the Year award is open to postdocs along with undergraduate and graduate students. The award recognizes innovation and entrepreneurship that has contributed to the development or commercialization of a new technology. It may also recognize a trainee-initiated start-up company whose success is a result of entrepreneurial talent, creativity and energy.

Category : General