IMR welcomes new faculty members at Innovation Lab event

ORISadmin Events, Innovation


The Institute for Materials Research (IMR) welcomed some of the newest faculty members to join The Ohio State University community through the Materials and Manufacturing for Sustainability (M&MS) focus area of the Discovery Themes Initiative.


New faculty members briefly presented their research goals on Sept. 20 at this year’s annual M&MS Faculty Fall Social, held at IMR’s Innovation Lab at Nanotech West Laboratory on Kinnear Road. The event also gave faculty a chance to socialize and share research interests in a less formal setting.


“Every time we meet and greet the new faculty, I hear about all the great research people are trying to do. I see all these amazing connections that can be made,” said Professor Steven Ringel, who serves as Associate Vice President for Research and IMR Executive Director. “It is extremely important that we have these kind of activities, in which faculty can be faculty, in a relaxed setting, where they can have the conversations that build our collaborative culture.”


Six new hires join 17 faculty members and researchers already working within the M&MS cohort at Ohio State. The M&MS Discovery Theme is a university-wide program operated by IMR that advances and accelerates innovation and materials research in technologies, science and manufacturing, as they apply to future energy systems and sustainability.


Each new hire was strategically recruited in the past three years to help strengthen the university’s materials community through advancements in interdisciplinary research. They represent a wide range of disciplines, with faculty members housed in the colleges of Engineering, Architecture, and Arts and Sciences, as well as the Fisher College of Business and the John Glenn College of Public Affairs.


M&MS recruitment of new faculty members focuses on three discovery areas: energy harvesting, storage and systems; high-performance materials and structures; and materials for sustainable information processing.


This network of M&MS faculty members at Ohio State influences the research of materials, technologies and manufacturing methods being explored today to achieve global impact for a more sustainable world tomorrow.


The newest M&MS hires:


Shamsul Arafin is an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. His interests include III-V compound semiconductor technology for materials and devices: molecular beam epitaxial growth and characterization of materials, as well as realization of photonic devices using these materials.


Ashley Bigham is an assistant professor of Architecture at the Austin E. Knowlton School of Architecture. Her research interests include material experimentation in architecture related to structural insulated panels, rubbers and plastics.


Michael Groeber is an associate professor in the Department of Integrated Systems Engineering. His research utilizes data analytics to optimize manufacturing processes to better understand those processes, so that, eventually, manufacturing can better integrate at early stages with design processes.


Ayonga Hereid is set to join the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in January after working as a postdoctoral research fellow with professor Jessy Grizzle in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Michigan. There, his research interests include robotics, machine learning, optimization, and control and dynamics.


Zachary Schultz is an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. The  Schultz Lab focuses on developing new tools for identifying molecules relevant to biomedical diagnostics and other applications.


Ruike Zhao is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. She is an author on multiple research projects this year, including “Kirigami enhances film adhesion,” “Printing ferromagnetic domains for untethered fast-transforming soft materials,” and “Folding artificial mucosa with cell-laden hydrogels guided by mechanics models.”


M&MS faculty awards include research funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, and Reducing Embodied-energy and Decreasing Emissions Institute; the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation; the Subsurface Energy Resource Center; and various Department of Defense grants.


Faculty members at the fall social also learned more about materials-allied research funding programs available through IMR, including Kickstart Facility grants that provide assistance for user and access fees at shared campus-research facilities, as well as Materials Research Seed Grants that help investigators develop and advance promising, innovative research.


The Institute for Materials Research is an interdisciplinary institute that works across colleges and departments at The Ohio State University to facilitate, promote and coordinate research and infrastructure related to the science and engineering of materials.

Follow: @OhioStateIMR


Story by Mike Huson, IMR Public Relations Coordinator