Ongoing IMR efforts related to COVID-19

mhuson COVID-19, General

As the coronavirus spread throughout Ohio and the country, the Institute for Materials Research (IMR) turned to its research community in the hopes of turning the tide.


IMR knows the situation is critical, the needs are urgent, and responses must come quickly.


The institute is collaborating with departments, colleges and research centers across The Ohio State University to grow new efforts to fight the spread and impact of COVID-19. And IMR members are pushing the envelope of rapid, innovative research.


“Our staff’s connections across the university and experience in mobilizing teams put us in the best possible position to fight these kinds of fires,” said Jay Sayre, IMR Director of Innovation. “We want to solve problems. And we have the relationships with centers and institutes across Ohio State to create the kinds of extraordinary collaborations needed to do that.”


IMR is set to provide seed funding to new research projects responding to the coronavirus, while continuing to advance burgeoning projects through ongoing collaborations with the Wexner Medical Center, the Infectious Diseases Institute, the Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence, as well as others.


Ohio State faculty and staff have been eager to step up to the challenge of helping keep our community and health care workers safe, from forming new collaborations to developing new technologies, like professor Perena Gouma’s breathalyzer device that could enable early detection of COVID-19.


“IMR staff are dedicated to doing all we can to support the fight against COVID-19,” said Steven A. Ringel, IMR Executive Director and Distinguished University Professor. “We are ensuring our work will be impactful in this pandemic by developing a coordinated hub built around our strengths in manufacturing processes, prototyping, and supply chain engagement, and listening to the true needs of hospitals, medical and healthcare personnel.”


Funding the fight:

IMR is directing more than $100k in funding to projects that leverage the expertise and technical capabilities of researchers at Ohio State to contribute to Ohio’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. IMR’s newly developed IMR CV-19 Grant will support a team from CDME, IMR, IDI and WMC to continue to work on eliminating swab manufacturing and design constraints through a rapid product development cycle, including clinical testing.  The grant funds allow the team to secure critical equipment and materials, and also access to and usage of several of IMR’s core facilities to carry out the effort. In addition to this targeted seed grant, IMR is also contributing to the Office of Research to support funding of long-term research related to COVID-19 from across the university.


Ohio State coalition develops, delivers 3D-printed swabs for COVID-19 testing

More than half a million swabs needed for COVID-19 testing across Ohio were delivered to Ohio State after a coalition of university scientists, engineers and manufacturers came together to combat the shortage of critical supplies in the state. The collaborative effort was led by Ohio State’s Institute for Materials Research, and first included the Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence and Infectious Diseases Institute.

Read more.


IMR leads research team exploring manufacturing alternatives for COVID-19 testing supplies

IMR again teamed up with centers and institutes across Ohio State to rapidly respond to shortages of nasopharyngeal swabs used in testing for the causative agent of COVID-19.

Researchers will work to increase the production and improve the effectiveness of COVID-19 testing by redesigning the swabs, while re-imagining the manufacturing process by which those swabs are mass produced. The alternative manufacturing route  is called injection molding, which could provide a more practical, a manufacturing process in which molten materials, such as plastic, are injected into a cavity, where the product’s shape stabilizes as it cools and hardens.

Read more.


Perena Gouma leads group exploring breathalyzer to detect COVID-19

A research team led Perena Gouma, the Edward Orton, Jr., Chair in Ceramic Engineering, is developing a breathalyzer device to detect COVID-19.

The device could offer a quick and easy alternative to nasopharyngeal swabs, a more common means to test for the causative agent of COVID-19. Drawing from just a single exhaled breath, the device is designed to enable rapid detection of biomarkers of the coronavirus infection.

Read more.


Manufacturing to meet medical needs:

IMR, the Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence (CDME), and the Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) are collaborating in an academic-industry-government consortium to rapidly deploy a design and testing program, resulting in new manufacturing capacity which can fill national supply needs. The results of the Ohio State team’s efforts are helping to meet the supply need for nasopharyngeal swabs needed for COVID-19 testing at the Wexner Medical Center and throughout the state of Ohio. The consortium includes Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Desktop Metals, Envisiontec, Formlabs, Harvard University, Hewlett Packard, Neurophotometrics, The Ohio State University, Opt Industries Origin, Resolution Medical in partnership with Carbon, Inc., USF Health, Stanford University, and the Army’s Natick Soldier Systems Center.

Read more.


The Ohio Manufacturing Alliance:

IMR Director of Innovation Jay Sayre serves as Ohio State’s representative within the Ohio Manufacturing Alliance to Fight COVID-19. The alliance is a collaborative effort engaging companies interested in repurposing their manufacturing operations to aid in the production of in-demand products and materials critical to protecting the community and our health care workers responding to COVID-19. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced April 9 that a team of manufacturers were set to make up to one million high-quality, reusable face shields over the next five weeks.

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COVID-19 engineering response team:

Jay Sayre, IMR Director of Innovation and Associate Research Professor in Materials Science and Engineering, also sits on the College of Engineering Design Review Team. The team is tasked with evaluating and prioritizing ideas from Ohio State faculty and staff related to personal protective equipment (PPE) and other COVID-19 supply needs. The group rapidly moves promising ideas from faculty and staff into the prototyping process. Sitting members were sought based on their experience in product design, materials and manufacturing.

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Story by Mike Huson, IMR Public Relations


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