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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 12 month cycles,
  • 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 nearly $60,000 per year.
  • Further information about GRA appointments and benefits. Includes a basic description of benefits as well as a Benefit Overview Booklet for download.

[Students are responsible for 15% of health insurance premiums as well as student-related fees. These fees total roughly $110 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

Provides number of openings, graduate program (MSE or WE), funding status, position description, and contact info for primary investigator(s).

Peter Anderson

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-292-0176 | Office: 492 Watts Hall

  • Professor (Ph.D., Harvard University, 1986); Mechanical properties and underlying physics of deformation, with applications to metals, shape memory alloys, nanostructured materials, and tissue scaffolds. Computational methods for mechanical behavior.

1 PhD, MSE, funding confirmed--"Fundamental investigations of shape memory alloys for high temperature applications"
This project will involve computational modeling/simulations to understand how the properties of new high temperature shape memory alloys are derived from a microstructure that involves nanoscale precipitates and a defect structure that is "trained" into the material. The project involves a close collaboration with experimental studies in microscopy and offers the opportunity to work on experiments in mechanical testing to support the computational modeling. 
Background: open to various science/engineering backgrounds; available for US citizens or international students

Vicky Doan-Nguyen

Contact: web [Dr. Doan-Nguyen will join the MSE faculty in Fall of 2017]

  • Assistant Professor (Ph.D., Materials Science and Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, 2015); Synthesis, characterization, and functional testing of novel materials for electrochemical energy storage applications and heterogeneous catalysis

1 PhD, MSE, funding confirmed--Please contact Dr. Doan-Nguyen for details on this project.

Tyler Grassman

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-398-0420 | Office: 278 Watts Hall

  • Research Assistant Professor, dual standing in MSE and Electrical and Computer Engineering

1 PhD, MSE, funding not yet confirmed--Project will research areas of interest in epitaxy, fabrication, and characterization of optoelectronic, photovoltaic, and photocatalytic materials and devices. Please contact Dr. Grassman for details concerning this position.
Background: US citizenship or green-card useful, but not necessarily required. Some background/knowledge in semiconductors helpful, but not necessarily required.

Jianjun Guan

Jianjun Guan: web and email | Phone: 614-292-9743 | Office: 491 Watts Hall

  • Associate Professor (PhD, Zhejiang University, 2000); biomaterials, tissue engineering

3 PhD, MSE, funding confirmed--Project titles:

  • Control of Cardiac Fibrosis to Prevent Cardiac Function Deterioration
  • Polymeric electron paramagnetic resonance probes for real-time monitoring of tissue vascularization
  • Biomimetic cardiac patch capable of rapid angiogenesis

Please contact Dr. Guan for details on these projects.

Jinwoo Hwang

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-643-3459 | Office: 111 CEMAS

  • Assistant Professor (Ph.D., Un of Wisconsin, 2011); Structure-property relationship in functional materials (oxide interfaces, semiconductors, solar cells); structure and deformation of disordered materials.

1 PhD, MSE, funding not yet confirmed--"Experimental and computational electron microscopy of functional materials"

Joerg Jinschek

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-643-3110 | Office: 100 CEMAS

  • Associate Professor (Ph.D., Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena/Germany, 2001); nanostructure characterization, structure-property relationships, atomic-scale electron microscopy, in-situ electron microscopy

Dr. Jinschek's general field of study--The development of better technologies for efficient use of our natural resources, for efficient energy conversion, for efficient transportation, for food production, for environmental protection, etc. relies heavily on advances in developing new and improved nanostructures and nanomaterials.

Characterization methods utilizing Scanning / Transmission Electron Microscopes (S/TEM) have become powerful and indispensable tools for nanomaterial characterization. S/TEM has the unique ability to image the size, shape, bulk/surface/interface structures of individual nanoobjects with atomic-scale resolution, and measure electronic properties as well as elemental distributions at these small length scales.

Current trends in S/TEM research focus on extending the atomic-scale characterization capabilities from static to dynamic/in-situ studies. In-situ characterization techniques enable visualization of structural evolution in functional nanomaterials under (near) operational or environmental conditions. These investigations offer essential insights related to questions about the structural integrity of nanostructures when ‘at work’ or ‘in use’. This is applied in a wide range of applications in fundamental and applied research focusing, e.g., on gas–solid interactions, such as oxidation, reduction, catalysis, nucleation, crystal growth, gas storage and filtering, corrosion and its prevention, just to name a few.

1 PhD, MSE, funding confirmed--seeking students with degrees in Materials Science & Engineering, Chemical Engineering, or Chemistry – Background in S/TEM imaging is desired

"Fundamental understanding of gas/liquid-solid interactions and structural evolutions at the (sub-)nanometer length scale using in-situ Electron Microscopy”--The dynamic state of nanomaterials ‘in operation’ cannot always be inferred from examination under standard S/TEM high vacuum conditions or from postmortem studies. For instance, the state of a heterogeneous catalyst and the catalyst’s properties (activity, stability, selectivity, etc.) are intimately dependent on the reaction environment. Direct observations under operating conditions are therefore of utmost importance.

Applying atomic-scale S/TEM techniques in in-situ studies of gas/liquid–solid interactions is, however, extremely demanding. Using accelerated electrons for imaging and spectroscopy requires high vacuum conditions in essential segments of the electron microscope column. A key challenge for establishing environmental conditions inside an electron microscope is to confine gas/liquid environments in the close vicinity of the specimen while maintaining the microscope’s overall performance and stability.

We are seeking a motivated graduate student to work in a multidisciplinary environment to develop and apply in-situ electron microscopy equipment and methods to probe gas/liquidsolid interactions on nanostructures to understand structure-property-function relationships in these materials.

1 PhD, MSE, funding not yet confirmed--seeking students with degrees in Materials Science & Engineering and/or Metallurgy, Background in S/TEM imaging is desired

"In-situ Imaging of High Temperature Phase Transformations at the Nanoscale with Simultaneous Enthalpy Quantification"--We plan to develop a new characterization methodology to study nucleation events - the most critical, but difficult to predict - step when producing nano- and microstructures with desired properties. To determine the critical nuclei shape and size, and the corresponding nucleation rate, e.g., in alloys and compounds, direct measurements using in-situ S/TEM heating experiments and in-situ enthalpy quantification will be combined with computational modeling. The goal is to use the direct observation and quantification of nucleation events to enable validation of theoretical models and, in the end, to develop databases predicting this fundamental materials transformation phenomenon.

We are seeking a motivated graduate student to work in a multi-PI environment to develop and apply in-situ electron microscopy and enthalpy quantification combined with computational modeling to directly observe, quantify, and understand nucleation events in alloys and compounds.

John Lannutti

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-292-3926 | Office: 448 MacQuigg Labs

  • Professor (Ph.D., University of Washington, 1990); Biomaterials for cancer research. Bio-nanosensing for disease detection. Smart tissue engineering scaffolds.

2 PhD, MSE, funding not yet confirmed--"Polymer-ceramic composites for smart paint applications"
Optical sensor materials providing positional information for automotive, aerospace and blind applications. Fabrication, optical and TEM characterization.
Background: polymer or ceramic background

David McComb

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-292-6732 | Office: 388 Watts Hall

  • Professor (Ph.D. Cambridge University, 1990); Electron microscopy characterization of structure, properties, and applications of advanced structural and functional materials.

1 PhD, MSE, funding confirmed--"Electron Microscopy of Strongly Correlated Materials”
In the Center for Emergent Materials (NSF MRSEC), IRG-1 is investigating materials where spin-orbit coupling (SOC) and electron-electron (Coulomb) correlations are of comparable magnitude, and the subsequent emergence of novel electronic phases in those materials. Using chemistry, structure, epitaxial strain and d-electron count, IRG-1 tunes fundamental interactions in 5d based materials to discover new phases and give insight into their novel properties. We are seeking motivated garduate student to work in this multidisciplinary environment to develop and apply electron microscopy methods to probe crystals, thin films and interfaces to drive understanding of novel phenomena in these materials.
Background: Undergraduate qualifactions in MSE, Physics, or solid- state chemistry preferred. 

1 MS or PhD, MSE, funding not yet confirmed, [McComb and Bartlett co-investigators] --"Identification the Key Cellular and Molecular Steps for Proper Dentin–enamel Junction (DEJ) Formation” 
This project focuses on how enamel and dentin bind together with such strength at the dentin-enamel junction (DEJ) and to use that knowledge for the eventual design of therapeutic approaches, such as enhanced biomimetic adhesives. In this project we will carry out in depth comparison of DEJs by genotype using novel Focused Ion Beam (FIB) Milling and scanning/Transmission Electron Microscopy (S/TEM). It is our intention to directly investigate the evolution and maturity of the mineralization process across the DEJ with X-ray energy-dispersive spectroscopy (XEDS) and electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS). Contrast in S/TEM High Angle Annular Dark Field (HAADF) images is highly sensitive to atomic mass. Consequently, it will be possible to spatially map the width and homogeneity of the protein-rich basement membrane at the DEJ. We will utilize STEM-XEDS maps to show Ca, P and C distributions to aid the interpretation of the HAADF images. 
Background: UMSE or chemistry background with interest in advanced characterization techniques and biomaterials.

1 PhD, MSE, funding not yet confirmed--"Skyrmions and Spin Textures in Chiral Magnetic Materials” 
The study of skyrmions in chiral magnetic materials is an exciting new research direction in magnetism that spans the range from fundamental science to potential device applications. A skyrmion is a topological spin texture, which can exist as an isolated object within a ferromagnetic (FM) material or form a periodic array, called a skyrmion crystal.
Real-space characterization of magnetic structure provides invaluable confirmation of predictions from theory, and complements topological Hall effect and momentum-space probes like neutron scattering. In this project you will develop and apply imaging methods in the aberration corrected scanning transmission electron microscope to investigate the structure and transport properties on skyrmion structures. In this multidisciplinary project you will work with other experimentalists and theorists to develop our understanding of the physics of skyrmions and potential applications. 
Background: UMSE or physics or solid state chemistry with interest in advanced characterization techniques. 

Patricia Morris

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-247-8873 | Office: 298 Watts Hall 

  • Professor (Ph.D., Massachusetts Inst. of Tech., 1986); Optimization of materials properties by processing to obtain unique defect, surface, nano and micro- structures; development of new materials and devices.

1 PhD, MSE, funding not yet confirmed--"Water Purification by Heterogeneous Photocatalysis using Nano-Heterostructured Oxides"--please contact Dr. Morris for more about this project.

Roberto Myers

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-292-8439 | Office: 476 Watts Hall | Myers Group

  • Assistant Professor, (Ph.D., University of California Santa Barbara, 2006); Electronic materials, optical materials, wide bandgap semiconductors.

1 PhD or MS, MSE, funding confirmed--"Materials with Extraordinary Spin/Heat Coupling"
The student will join a Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) team of researchers including postdocs and graduate students at OSU, UCLA, UT-Austin, U. Chicago, and UCLA. This multidisciplinary study seeks to establish the basic materials/physics of spin/heat coupling. The research position involves epitaxial thin film growth of magnetic materials as well as opto-thermal measurments of spin transport.

Henk Verweij

Contact: web & email | Phone: 614-247-6987 | Office: 291 Watts Hall

  • Professor (Ph.D. Eindhoven University); Membrane technology, insulating materials, and defect chemistry of nonstoichiometric materials.

1 MS or PhD, MSE, funding not yet confirmed--please contact Dr. Verweij for details about these projects.


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 in 176 Watts Hall and Mark Cooper in 143 Fontana Lab.