GRA positions

A graduate student’s principal objective is to earn a graduate degree. Appointment as a Graduate Research Associate (GRA) contributes to that objective by providing an apprenticeship experience along with financial support. This apprenticeship complements formal instruction and gives the student practical, personal experience that can be gained only by performing research activities.

GRA positions provide a number of benefits to the student:

  • Full payment of tuition and academic fees,
  • A monthly stipend typically provided on a 12 month cycle,
  • 85% payment of OSU Student Health Insurance premiums for the student,
  • Payment of computer technology fee as well as laboratory fees,
  • Payment of research-related expenses,
  • Travel costs for conference and research-related expenses may also be provided,
  • Total value of this package can be over $80,000 per year.
  • Further information about GRA appointments and benefits.

[Students are responsible for 15% of health insurance premiums as well as student-related fees. These student-related fees total roughly $125 per month. This amount is payroll-deducted per monthly pay over the course of a four-month semester so that the student does not need to pay a large up-front fee each term.]

In exchange for these benefits the student serves on a research project available in the program. As part of the GRA agreement, the student agrees to assist his/her advisor with research work. This commitment comes to, on average, approximately 20 hours per week, though this may vary from time to time. The research project Principal Investigator will serve as the student's academic and research advisor. More about finding an advisor, below.

Please note: Since research carried out for a government and/or industrial organization is usually focused on a topic of concern to the funding source, we cannot guarantee that a student's area of interest will always match the available GRA positions for a given term.

The GRA position is our primary form of financial aid [more about financial aid in the MSE-WE department].

Current GRA openings

We anticipate 15-25 funded openings for the Autumn in such areas as:

  • additive manufacturing
  • nanotechnology
  • electronic, optical, and magnetic materials
  • biomaterials
  • joining/welding technology
  • environmental and energy storage materials
  • emergent materials
  • advanced characterization
  • computational materials research
  • corrosion studies and corrosion prevention
  • membranes for chemical technology
  • sensor technology
  • materials manufacture
  • composites
  • processing and structure-property relationships in structural materials

Autumn 2021 GRA openings

Last update: 3/24/21--GRA-funded projects will be posted here as they become available. Below, please find the positions currently available and the funding status of each.

photo of Joseph Heremans, Ohio State

Joseph Heremans

Contact: web & email | Phone: (614) 247-8869

  • Ohio Eminent Scholar, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; Professor, Materials Science and Engineering; Professor, Physics; (Ph.D., University of Louvain, Belgium, 1978); Experimental investigation of electron, phonon and spin transport properties, semiconductor, semimetals, topological and magnetic materials and nanostructures. 

FILLED--1 PhD, MSE, funding confirmed for Autumn 2021

Topic: Goniopolar Materials

Description: These are materials that behave like n-type conductors in one direction and p-type conductors in another. They hold the promise to be able to construct electronic devices without extrinsic changes in composition or doping, and could thus work at extremely high frequencies. This class of materials is only recently discovered: the project is to search for new materials in this class. The prospective PhD candidate is to work with a team of students from Profs Windl's (modeling) and Goldberger's (chemistry, synthesis) groups. Our contribution will be hands-on experimental work: mount and measure the electronic and thermal properties of the new materials. The initial work was published in Nature. Materials. 18 568-72 (2019). See also Journal of the American Chemical Society 142(6):2812-2822 (2020).

Background: Interest in electronic materials and collaborative team work. Prior experience with laboratory work is not a requirement, but a can-do attitude, a lack of fear in front of the unknown, and a creative imagination are.



Jinwoo Hwang

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-688-3684 | 

  • Professor (Ph.D., Ohio University, 1992); Assistant Director, Center for Applied Superconductivity and Magnetism (CSMM); Superconductivity.

1-2 PhD, MSE, funding confirmed for Summer / Autumn 2021

Topic: Creation and Control of Metal/Magnetic-Insulator Interfaces

Description: Understanding atomic structure and properties at novel magnetic Interfaces using STEM atomic scale characterization. This multidisciplinary project is supported by the NSF-MRSEC Center for Emergent Materials at OSU. For more information:

Background: Physics or MSE major


1 PhD, MSE, funding confirmed for Summer / Autumn 2021

Topic: Atomic scale investigation of novel materials and devices

Description: Ultrawide bandgap semiconductors, oxide interface, novel magnetic phenomena, and amorphous materials. Transmission electron microscopy characterization.


John Lannutti

John Lannutti

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-688-3684 | 

  • Professor (Ph.D., Ohio University, 1992); Assistant Director, Center for Applied Superconductivity and Magnetism (CSMM); Superconductivity.

2 PhD, MSE, funding not yet confirmed for Autumn 2021

Topic: Porosity Investigation of Electrospun Materials to Improve Filtration Efficiency

Description: Electrospinning has acquired intense recent interest as a means of advancing filtration to limit the spread of viral diseases. As a part of this evolution, better characterization of electrospinning conditions has been identified as a variable that can improve performance. We use a unique realization of laser micrometry to reveal previously unknown porosity trends within electrospun polymers. This analysis captures variations in through- thickness porosity to provide unprecedented detail regarding conditional effects on electrospun products.

Background: MSE/Polymers/Chemical Engineering/Chemistry


1 MS, MSE, funding not yet confirmed for Autumn 2021

Topic: Oxygen Sensing Implant Fabrication and Monitoring

Description: Monitoring oxygenation in vivo is critical to ensuring human health. This concern has only been heightened recently in the treatment of respiratory illnesses such as COVID-19, where “silent hypoxia” is a constant threat. To create better tools for tracking patient oxygenation, blends of biodegradable polycaprolactone (PCL) and gelatin were utilized to develop an electrospun oxygen sensor having tailorable degradation rates, while maintaining oxygen sensing capabilities over time periods ranging from weeks to months. The sensors leverage the oxygen sensing chromophore Pd-MABP (also known as 4-Arm Pd-BMAP or Pd-BP-AEME-4), dispersed within an electrospun matrix. Via remote monitoring, this technology has the potential to change the way respiratory diseases such as COVID-19 are monitored and managed.

Background: US citizenship


2 PhD, MSE, funding not yet confirmed for Autumn 2021

Topic: Bio-inspired and biomimetic materials and sensor development

Description: Profusa and Ohio State propose to collaborate with the Naval Medical Research Center (Silver Spring, MD) and utilize the vehicle of BAA No. N00014-21-S-B001 “Biomaterials and Bionanotechnology” to develop novel electrospun sensors based on natural collagen that empower naval warfighters in austere environments.  The design and development of intelligent monitoring to provide real-time information about individuals and groups will be enabled by advanced Profusa hardware and software that make monitoring possible under extreme conditions provide solutions to current deficiencies in biomedical oxygen sensing.  Profusa has developed a permanent injectable used in humans that measures changes in tissue level oxygen; however, short-term, fully resorbable sensors would be better accepted and more adaptable to the needs of the warfighter. Thus, we propose a resorbable sensor and plan to investigate its long-term utility and feasibility in relevant animal models.

Background: US citizenship


photo of Aeriel Murphy-Leonard, Ohio State

Aeriel Leonard

Contact: web & email

  • Assistant Professor (Ph.D., University of Michigan, 2018); 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

FILLED--1 PhD, MSE or WE, funding confirmed for Autumn 2021

Topic: Investigating Slip Activity and Strain Accumulation in Additive Manufactured Nickel-Aluminum-Bronze During Mechanical Loading


FILLED--1 PhD, MSE, funding confirmed for Autumn 2021

Topic: Investigating Dynamic and Static Recrystallization in Magnesium Alloys Using In-Situ High Energy X-ray Diffraction and Electron Microscopy



Jinghua Li

Contact: Li Research Group web site

  • Assistant Professor (Ph.D., Duke University, 2016); Bioelectronics: thin-film materials and electronic devices that enable highly-sensitive, real-time and long-term monitoring.

FILLED--1 PhD, MSE, funding confirmed for Autumn 2021

Topic: Wearable/implantable biosensors


Xun Liu

Xun Liu

Contact: web & email | Liu Group

  • Assistant Professor (Ph.D. Un of Michigan, 2016); Hybrid manufacturing process development; Power ultrasound; Multiscale material characterization; Friction stir related manufacturing process; Physics-based computational modeling of manufacturing process.

FILLED--1 PhD, MSE or WE, funding confirmed

Topic: Microstructure analysis and modeling

Description: Please contact Dr. Liu for details on this project.



Alan Luo

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-292-5629 

  • Professor (Ph.D., University of Windsor, 1993); FEF Key Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Department of Integrated Systems Engineering (Manufacturing Group) at The Ohio State University. Director, Lightweight Materials and Manufacturing Research Laboratory.

FILLED--2 PhD, MSE, funding confirmed for Autumn 2021

Topic: Alloy development and advanced processing of light metals


David McComb, Ohio State

David McComb

Contact: web & contact 

  • Professor (Ph.D., Cambridge University, 1990); Investigation of chemistry, structure and bonding in electronic, functional, nano- and biomaterials using advanced electron microscopy techniques.) 

2 PhD, MSE, funding not yet confirmed

Topic: Microscopy and characterization (further detail to be provided)

Description: Please contact Dr. McComb for additional information on this project


photo of Steven Niezgoda OSU faculty

Stephen Niezgoda

Contact: web & email | Niezgoda Group

  • Associate Professor (Ph.D., Drexel Un, 2010); micromechanical modeling and simulation, constitutive model development, crystal plasticity, experiment and simulation co-design, computational materials design tools and data sciences.

 1 PhD, MSE, funding not yet confirmed

Topic: Computational tools for High Energy Diffraction Microscopy (synchrotron) and/or Materials Simulation at the Mesoscale

Description: This is a computational position that deals with simulation the thermomechanical response of polycrystalline materials at the grain and subgrain scale. The specific focus will largely be up to the interest and skills of the student but will be centered on the application of High Energy Diffraction Microscopy at synchrotron X-ray sources for the characterization of polycrystals during thermomechanical loading. There is a need to model booth the material evolution and the diffraction process.

Background: Strong math skills. Interest but not necessarily experienced in programing. Must be willing to learn Python, C/C++. US citizen a plus but not 100% necessary. 


photo of Eric Schindelholz Assistant Professor Fontana Corrosion Center

Eric Schindelholz

Contact: Email

  • Assistant Professor (Ph.D., Un of Virginia, 2014); relationship between the processing, structure, and corrosion performance of metals; corrosion cracking of nucleation fuel storage containers; development of thin film barriers to corrosion; corrosion of photovoltaics.

FILLED--1 MS or PhD, MSE, funding confirmed--available for AU21

Topic: Atmospheric corrosion of spent nuclear fuel canisters

Description: Please contact Dr. Schindelholz for details on this project.


photo of Michael Sumption Ohio State

Michael Sumption

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-688-3684 | 

  • Professor (Ph.D., Ohio University, 1992); Assistant Director, Center for Applied Superconductivity and Magnetism (CSMM); Superconductivity.

1-2 PhD, MSE, funding confirmed for Spring 2021

Topic: Development of MgB2 superconducting materials for advanced medical and aircraft-propulsion applications

Description: MgB2 superconductors are medium temperature superconductors with emerging applications in medical MRI and electric aircraft propulsion. Our group is a leader in the development of these materials. We are exploring further increases in performance for these conductors and materials, targeting increases in performance (limiting current density, critical fields, lower cyclic loss) by chemical substitution, formation route and microstructure, and composite design.

Background: It would be helpful if the undergraduate degree (materials, EE, physics) had elements of electronic materials.


Finding an advisor

For newly admitted students:

The MSE dept. does not assign new students to an advisor; instead, we ask that you meet with each of the faculty who have openings. The professor you work with will act as your academic and research advisor during your graduate studies at Ohio State.

Above, please find the list of available funded research positions. Please meet first with faculty who have openings in your area(s) of interest. If, after meeting with these professors, you do not have an advisor, please meet with the remaining faculty on the list who have openings and come to an agreement to work with one of these faculty. Important: You are required to find an advisor from the funded openings available in the department. This should occur during your first term of enrollment.

You are strongly encouraged to contact any faculty member above who shares your field of interest. Contacting the faculty prior to your arrival on campus can help speed your placement on a research project.

Every effort is made to match you with a project in your field of interest. However, we have only a few positions, each of which has a narrow research focus. Therefore, you may find that the area of research you will be working in is not an exact match with your interests.

When you have found an advisor, inform the department Human Resources Officer and Mark Cooper.




Please contact Mark Cooper (email, 614-292-7280) with any questions you might have.

MSE-WE Faculty

To post a GRA position to this page, please complete this form.